Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Marriott Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine is run by unpatriotic jerks

This is a case of Marketing Fail, that will echo for some time.  The Marriott affiliated Casa Monica Hotel fired an employee for wearing an American flag pin:

Sean May, 26, a front desk supervisor at the hotel, told WJXT TV-4 in on Thursday that his boss told him to remove his lapel pin or go home. He went home.

May is now fighting the policy. [May has since been fired - Borepatch]

St. Johns County Commissioner Mark Miner, a sergeant in the Florida National Guard, criticized the hotel's management.

"The Casa Monica Hotel and Kessler Enterprises certainly have the legal right to forbid their employees from wearing an American flag pin," Miner said in a written statement Friday. "However, their inability to discern between the flag of our nation and other pins and buttons their policies forbid is of great concern to me."
I agree with Sgt. Miner.  The hotel (and Marriott) have every right to set their own employee standards and policies.  No question.

And I have every right to think that they are unpatriotic jerks who will never see me at their property.  And to recommend the same to anyone who will care to listen.

As someone who has been in the vicinity of the Marketing Department for some time, let me just say that this is enormously damaging for both the hotel and for Marriott (note: the hotel is independently owned but is a Marriott franchisee).  This story will reach a bunch of people, in a high impact manner.  It would have been much less damaging for the Hotel to let employees wear any old badge they wanted.

And guys like me are angry enough to do things like choose a highly specific blog post title for this post.  Google pays more attention to metadata (things like post titles) that regular data (the body text), and so if this moves up in the Google rankings, there's at least a chance that anyone who searches for the hotel name will find this.

And quite frankly, they should find this.  Perhaps they won't really care.  But if they do, they may choose a different hotel, and that would serve the unpatriotic jerks who own the Casa Monica Hotel with a bit of poetic justice.  They'll also learn something about Marriott corporation, too.  What they choose to do with that is up to them.

Remember marketeers: Google sees all, forgets nothing. 

And let me leave an open invitation to the marketing folks at the Casa Monica and at Marriott: if you want to reply here (in the unlikely even that you even find this post), you have an open invitation.  I will post your statement unedited.  I may snark on it, so if you bring me drivel, please make it high caliber drivel.


Tam said...


Quick, Robin! To the internets!

libertyman said...

Wow -- look at the Google ratings already, and the comments! Yes, marketing fail, all right!

genedunn said...

Wait a minute... I thought selective enforcement of laws (rules) was the first sign of tyranny?

bluesun said...

I can't remember. Is the term for this "Google Bomb" or does that refer to something else?

Tam said...


A sole proprietorship IS a tyranny. All he may choose is what kind of tyrant to be: The benevolent kind or the douche-y kind.

This one did not choose wisely.

genedunn said...

Excellent point. I would agree that they are being douche-y. I guess I just feel bad for night manager #3 or whoever actually sent him home because I am certain his thought process went something like:
"It is easier to tell they jack-hole (who knew the rules and violated them anyway) to take the pin off, than it is to have a 3 hour debate with Pierre in the kitchen about why jack-hole can wear American flag but Pierre can't wear French flag."
I am sure he wasn't thinking of the larger political ramifications of his action. Plus, as I recall, Marriott used to have badges for staff that said their country of origin, so everyone got to show a little national pride.

Borepatch said...

This is not going to turn out well for them. Good.

Sport Pilot said...

Well this is certainly going to be an embarrassment for this location and hopefully the entire business chain. Look for public apologies and an offer for the employee to get his job back PDQ. You’ll also see everyone working there getting an American Flag pin to wear on their label or collar. It is very true that “stupid is as stupid does”.

TinCan Assassin said...

If I show some leg and bat my eyes, can I get on this here bandwagon? I play a mean comb and paper kazoo...

John A said...

This makes the news so often, does no company ever read and look at their own rules before they are on the national news?

With about twenty seconds of thought, I came up with changing "no personal [jewelry] items [other than watches]" to "one [non-watch] item of personal jewelry of no more than one inch (or 2.54cm) in ant dimension, without independent movement or light display" and I am sure better could be devised.

Duke said...

This hit the news down here a few weeks ago, I think they have already done some back peddling, It caused quite a stink in the area.

RobertSlaughter said...

John A said: "This makes the news so often, does no company ever read and look at their own rules before they are on the national news?"

No. Most 'rules' are generated by the Legal (So We Can Sue But Not Be Sued) Department and just rubber-stamped by management. And almost always with no consideration regarding 'unintended consequences'.

Old NFO said...

Actually I'm not surprised... Marriott has a bad reputation with most military folks going back years... They routinely give military the worst rooms, and ALWAYS charge exactly the per diem rate (and adjust the room rates EVERY time the per diem rate changes).

doubletrouble said...

"To the internets", indeed.

I just checked, & the first SIX pages of a Google search on that hotel have some mention of the issue.


PPPP said...

This would be the same Marriott chain that allowed their hotel manager to try to get NRA convention attendees in trouble with the law by posting the hotel entrances after the attendees were already inside.

Sounds like the chain as a whole is still rotten.

We used to us the Marriott chain exclusively till they pulled that crap in Charlotte.