Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AirBnb Stories

I love Airbnb, the website that lets you turn your house into a bed and breakfast.  I use it when I travel, and I use it to host.  It makes me extra money.  I get to meet new people.  And it gives me the opportunity to walk around the neighborhood at 9:30 at night trying to find a Chinese couple honking their horn to let me know where they are.

"Turn on your lights so I can find you!" I said.

"OK" she replies, and started honking her horn.  

"No, please stop that," I asked, fearing my bored elderly neighbors who make up my Home Owner Association.

"OK, can you hear the car?"  She honked again, and I started running.  

That couple is in my room right now.  They're actually very friendly.  In fact, nearly every experience with Airbnb, whether hosting and staying has been awesome.

I've hosted about six people, though I've had a lot more requests.  As a general rule, I only accept requests from people with picture and verifications.  Verifications are what make Airbnb work.  When you travel or when you host, you rate the other party.  This provides incentive to be a great host, and a great guest.  Better yet, it screens out the spammers, scammers, and general weirdos.  

Doug, who emailed me yesterday, would fall into the weirdo category.  He needed a room for 3 nights so he could attend a local UFO festival.  Not necessarily a red flag, but at least a yellowish-orange one.  To his credit, he did explicitly say that he didn't totally believe in UFO's and wouldn't be bringing his tin hat.  But Doug didn't have a picture, or any verifications.  I told him I would need both before I accepted his request.  He replied, "Sure... Want anything else, picture of my WADL?"  

Denied on the spot.

I don't know what a WADL is, and neither does Google or Urban Dictionary.  I do know I don't want a picture of UFO Doug's WADL.

The worst experience I had staying was with a friendly man in Victoria, British Columbia.  My girlfriend and I rolled in late.  It was our first time using Airbnb and we didn't know what to expect.  The man, I'll call him B, opened the door and let us in.  His house was large and dark, with deep spooky shadows hiding things unknown.  On our way to our room, we passed a little chalk board set up on a tripod.  Written in a child's hand writing was "Help me."

This was also outside the house.
B saw us to our room, which was quiet comfortable.  He showed us the bathroom we would use, and then proceeded to take the largest dump the West Coast has ever experienced before we could use the bathroom.  We had to brush our teeth in his lingering stench.  At least he made us a delicious breakfast the next morning.

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