How Does Deception Hurt?

H. S. Clay House

Special note to my readers. The following is about deception and the effect it had on me. I readily admit that I was inspired to write this post after my visit to the H. S. Clay House. My visit there is used as an example of a time that I experienced the emotional feeling of being deceived.

My wife and I were deceived recently. The title of this posting asks a question that I have been reflecting on since then. How does deception hurt?

“Private” bath door. Our room’s door is to the left after the quilt.

Before I explore that question, let me explain the situation where we experienced the deception. Our wedding anniversary was on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Due to our son and granddaughters arriving from Kansas City for a visit, we were unable to celebrate our anniversary on its actual day. So instead, we decided to celebrate later and made reservations at a bed and breakfast in Augusta, MO, called the H. S. Clay House. We made the reservations for Friday, the week after Thanksgiving.

Augusta, Missouri was having their 26th Annual Christmas Candlelight Walk on that Friday and we thought attending it would add a nice touch to our anniversary celebration. We searched the internet and found the before-mentioned bed and breakfast was located in the middle of the candlelight walk. How nice to have our anniversary celebration in the middle of a beautiful candlelight walk. And, with our room having windows that offered us a view looking out over the festivities. Wow!  My wife and I were looking forward to what we thought would be an ideal time. And then, deception and reality hit!

“Private” bath door and suite entrance across the hall from our door.

Anytime we are deciding on what bed and breakfast to reserve, one of the important amenities we always insist on having is a private bath. When we contacted the owner of the bed and breakfast, we were offered Marie’s Room, one of three rooms that featured:  a large room with a queen size bed, sitting area and private bath. Here is exactly the way it was worded on the website, “Marie’s, Robert’s and Courtney’s Room are large rooms with a queen size bed, sitting area and private bath.”

When we were shown Marie’s Room, I asked, “where is the bath?” We were shown a bathroom out in the hall. In other words, we had to leave our room and go into the hall and then go into the bath. I asked, “is it private or do we have to share it with the other two rooms?” We were told there was a bath and a half downstairs AND the bath is private, if you close the door. So, there was a toilet for each room, one upstairs and two downstairs, but none are specifically assigned to any room. Is that what is meant by a “private bath?”

Here’s a view of the steps leading to the one and half baths.

My wife and I have stayed in many bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels, lodges, and villas during the past thirty years. Over that time, we have never encountered the meaning of “private” bath to be anything other than a bath that is exclusively for the use of those staying in the rented room.

You might question why this is a “big deal” for me. First, and foremost, I am what you might call, “high maintenance.” I like to be prepared for whatever needs might arise during a stay away from home. I like to have a bathroom where I can organize all toiletries and feel comfortable leaving them out. When we are traveling, I like to find a place that enables me to have a “home away from home.” This is especially true when I am staying at a special place to celebrate a special anniversary. And, to compound this, my wife wasn’t feeling well.

When we left our home to travel to the bed and breakfast, I knew my wife wasn’t feeling well. I thought, considering what was advertised and the price we paid for the room, that it would be thoughtfully arranged, restful and we could at least watch the candlelight walk from a window in our “comfortable” room.

Here are a few examples that made our “comfortable” room uncomfortable. Marie’s Room was so cluttered we had little space for our clothes. The door to the room wouldn’t lock from the outside, so we had no security when we we left to go to dinner. In case there was an emergency use of a restroom needed, we had little confidence that an empty one would be available. For my wife, who wasn’t feeling well, and for “high maintenance me,” it just wasn’t a comfortable place to celebrate an anniversary or have a healthy restful sleep.

So what did we do? We left at 10:00 PM and went home (a one hour trip). We lost a lot of money, primarily due to deception. You see, the feeling of being deceived caused us not to be able to make the best out of a bad situation of “being under the weather.”  If we had only known that we did not have a private bath, then we would have stayed at home once my wife realized her state of health. Oh, well!

Allegorical etching illustrating some of the world’s miseries: Worry and Crime (or Deception) on horseback pulling behind them a cart containing Discord, Avarice, etc. which are rolling over items representing knowlege and enlightenment.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote, “We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves. I suppose this could apply to us. Perhaps, we deceived ourselves because we never specifically asked if our “private bath” was dedicated to only us until we were shown our room at check-in time. Arghhhhhh…….!

E. R. Beadle is quoted as saying, “Half the work that is done in the world is to make things appear what they are not.  This one, in my opinion, is most appropriate. I believe that what was written on the website of the bed and breakfast, regarding the room we rented, was to make things appear what they are not.

So how does deception hurt? It hurts to be taken advantage of. It hurts to pay money for something you don’t get. It hurts to have a special event ruined by false advertisement. It hurts how deception always hurts.

It is a helpless, emotional pain and you know you’ve been treated with disdain. OUCH!

What do you think?

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