The fallout from the pandemic continues to confound and amaze me.

Last week, I checked into the first hotel I have stayed at since before the country shutdown more than a year ago.

I had planned a three-night stay at a hotel in Beaufort, S.C. to attend a girls’ softball tournament being held there. (Conway won the championship.)

A quick check online revealed all of the hotels in Beaufort were booked and the closest available room was a Holiday Inn Express in Bluffton, nearly a 30-minute drive from the ballfields.

Apparently several other big events, including graduation ceremonies at the Marine base on Parris Island, led to shortage of rooms and upped the nightly room rates.

The Holiday Express in Bluffton had good reviews so I booked a couple of rooms for my family.

Here’s where things get strange.

Upon registering at the front desk, the friendly clerk informed me that there would be no daily room service, we would have to make up our beds if the linens had to be replaced, and we would have to get fresh towels at the front desk. I thought she was joking.

She wasn’t.

The “complete” breakfast advertised online turned out to be a Jimmy Dean’s biscuit, a couple of pastry selections, cereal and fruit.

I never have high expectations at a hotel that serves “complimentary” breakfast but this seemed like pretty meager offerings considering the price I paid for the rooms.

I posted my experience on Facebook and asked if this was the new norm for hotel stays.

I received a mixed bag of answers. However, most people responding to my inquiry said this is the new norm for most hotels.

In fact, one person said I was lucky to get a biscuit. The hotel where they stayed canceled breakfast entirely.

A few people who vacationed in Florida and North Carolina said the hotels they stayed in did offer daily room service and a modified breakfast.

I was most impressed by a comment made by a hotel manager who said people have been extremely rude when told about the COVID-19 changes that have taken place.

She said people should remember that hotels suffered greatly during the pandemic and have been extremely short-staffed. Dealing with pandemic restrictions concerning the handling of food has further complicated matters.

I understand the situation of the hotel industry. I shouldn’t be so critical of the lower level of service being offered by many accommodation businesses so soon after emerging from a pandemic.

My biggest concern is that once things do get back to normal, the bean-counters in the hotel industry will find that it’s cheaper and more profitable to provide fewer traditional services at a higher price.

Hopefully, everything will return to the “good ol’ days” once people get off of unemployments and return to work, and when foreign students can again get temporary work visas. Until then, I’ll just have to grin and bear it.

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