Should I "steal" hotel shampoos, lotions?

Note that I am not asking if the hotel expects me to steal the provided shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and/or mouthwash. I am not even asking whether or not some people feel they are “entitled” to it.

I am asking should I steal it?

For example, if I open the bottle and only use 10% of it, will the the cleaning ladies throw it away? If that is true, then I wasted the shampoo when I could have used it at home. If I had used it at home, I would have used less of my shampoo, which is an overall savings for humanity, the environment, etc. In that case, I SHOULD “steal” it because it means less shampoo is wasted overall.

I have never seen a shampoo bottle not properly filled, so the only other alternative would be if they have a jumbo dispenser of these cremes where the cleaning ladies fill up mostly unused bottles.

Does anyone know what happens here?

They throw it away. Or maybe, the cleaning ladies keep it for themselves. I doubt it though. If they’re going to risk getting fired for stealing supplies, they’re going to steal the new stuff.

So I say take it home.

You should take supplies you have begun to use, the staff will indeed throw them away or take them themselves. I would not call this stealing. You should not take supplies that are untouched - that *is *stealing.

No it’s not.
The price of the room includes those supplies. You are perfectly within your rights to take them or leave them as you see fit.

it is, however, cheap.

According to this post, hotels have to throw out any toiletries you leave, even unopened ones. If that’s true, then you should definitely take them with you.

I agree, if you used any of it, it isn’t stealing and will be wasted if you don’t keep it. As far as untouched toiletries…I’m not sure if it is stealing exactly since they were there for your use (if you wanted them) and built into the cost of the room, but there is an ethical component and my gut tells me it is wrong to take them.

If however, you really like the tiny bottles and really like whatever brand is in them what you can do which might work out in your favor is what I did at a hotel once. I really loved the conditioner they supplied but there was nothing indicating the brand so that I might buy my own. So I mentioned it to the manager at the front desk. I just told him that I really liked it and did he know where I might purchase some. In response he grabbed the closest housekeeping cart and packed up a box with maybe 20 bottles of the stuff and handed it to me to “take with <my> compliments”. I still don’t know what kind it was, but I thought that was awfully nice of the manager.

Take them.

It’s part of the price of the room.

beowulff is correct. You all don’t really think that those are free, do you? It’s part of the overhead cost, which is passed on to you. Just like those condiment packets at BK. The hotel even tells you that they are provided for your use. In other words, you can do whatever you wish with them.

I take it all! I keep the extra toiletries for guests. Perfect!

Early in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars my wife did a solid volume in serving as a gathering person for unused hotel soaps and shampoos and then packaging them up in care packages for deployed soldiers.

Nobody ever expressed a view it was stealing.

I read the linked post originally and blew it off, but now after seeing it twice in the same day (in two seperate threads) I have to call B.S.

This MAY indeed be a “law” someplace in the multi-billion dollar worldwide hospitality industry (with all the different federal, state and local jurisdictions around, I suppose it’s possible) but more likely it’s the internal policy of some random hotel somewhere, and the poster who has passed this info along is generalizing it to all hotels, everywhere.

The majority of hotel soaps and shampoos have a visable seal or wrapper that makes it easy to see if they have been used or not. Bottles that are seemingly untouched when a guest checks out of the room are left for the next guest and not automatically thrown away as a precaution. It would be wasteful in the extreme, unnecessarily expensive and virtually impossible to enforce, as a guest would have no idea how long the individual bottle has been sitting on the sink’s countertop.

ETA—After re-reading the linked post, I see that it was never claimed that the “hygene laws” mentioned were nationwide—I doubt they are widespread in the industry to any significant degree, they would be way too expensive and too wasteful to be common.

Actually, a post later in that same thread refutedthat statement.

I did an experiment once… I was staying several days at a hotel and had already opened a bottle of shampoo that was in the shower. When the room was made up, a fresh bottle of shampoo (along with conditioner, shower cap, etc.) were placed on a mini-towel in a special holder on the sink. I purposely nicked the back of the shampoo with my razor and didn’t use it since I still had shampoo left from the bottle in the shower. The next day after the room was made, I checked the back of the shampoo. The nick was there - so they hadn’t replaced it.

This is a debate I’ve had with tons of people. I’ve worked a majority in the hotel business.

If you use part of the shampoo or soap you may as well take it. The housekeeper will throw it out after you leave.

If you don’t use the shampoo the housekeeper doesn’t remove it and leaves it for the next guest.

The real question is this:

Is the soap and other items included in the price of the room? Yes they are.

But here’s where it gets tricky. The soap and shampoo etc, are for your USE WHILE IN THE ROOM.

The same way the pillow is for your use IN THE ROOM. It’s not for use when you check out.

If you don’t need the shampoo you had no use for it and it should be left.

It’s the same question, if I go to Starbucks and put extra packets of Equal or Splenda in my pocket is that stealing? Strictly speaking YES. The Equal is for your use for THAT PARTICULAR cup of coffee. The same way the soap in the room is for your use on THAT PARTICULAR stay. Not for when you get home.

In reality depending on negotiating power, the cost to a hotel is at worst a few cents and sometimes is less than a penny. Yes, I was an asst controller for a large hotel chain with a lot of hotels and you could get like 4 or 5 bottles of shampoo for a penny. It was dirt cheap. We bought tons of it that’s why.

But strictly speaking an unused toiletry item is not for your use except in the hotel.

We had another really huge debate at a very upscale hotel I worked at in Chicago.

It seem people were going into the minibar and replacing items. For instance, I was doing Six Sigma so, I marked the minibar items. I found people were getting up at like 2am and eating the Snickers, which were $4.00. Then they were going out and buying them (probably at Walgreens a block over) for like 50¢ and putting it back in the minibar.

The GM and I (and others) had a few conversations about this. His attitude was “they ate it, they should pay.” I was like “Well they put it back and we’re not out anything.” Yeah I know the mark up is outrageous but our rack rate for this hotel was STARTING AT $425.00/night. It was very high class.

It doesn’t hurt the hotel if you take their toiletries. It’s a matter “can you live with it.”

It’s like if I eat a couple of grapes at the grocery store is that stealing? Of course it is, but you know how that argument is gonna go around and around :slight_smile:

Stay overs are different from new guests. Usually the rule is (and each hotel has their own internal rules) if a guest stays over and the shampoo or soap is more than half used it should be left alone but an ADDITIONAL soap or shampoo should be left as well.

I used to toss all the shampoos, lotions and soaps, used and unused, into my bag when I was packing up to leave. But then they just piled up at home until one day when at the suggestion of a friend I passed them on to a women’s shelter.

I once shared a hotel room with a friend who every day would take all the new bottles and soap that housekeeping left in the room and put them in his suitcase, so we’d get new ones the next day. He had brought his own shampoo, and I never asked why he was collecting the hotel supplies.

Oh, I should mention that my wife stopped doing it (collecting the shampoos and soaps) when TSA made traveling with liquids a bitch. I wonder if that has had a material impact on how much people take the unused toiletries.

I can see the convenience of have one or two of these little bottles lying around for travel, but really taking the unused toiletries only builds up garbage that you will most likely never use. Would you really want to leave your guests to use an obviously stolen hotel chain bar of soap to use? When I was in college it was one thing, but being all grown up and not constantly cash starved it is a complete waste.

Green certified hotels donate partially used shampoos and lotions to charity. It is part of the certification.

You can check any kind of liquids. The restriction is only on carry-on items.

It’s not cheap, and it’s not even ethically questionable if you can take these bottles, unopened, for your own personal use (sorry, Markxxx)

It’s not cheap because there is a very, very good use for these things: overnight guests. I like to give my guests new, unused toiletries when they visit, and instead of giving them a full bar of ivory soap, I can instead give them a unit size that is more appropriate for their length of stay.

As for this being “stealing” well that is a laughable concept.

Unless there is some magical sign that says “only for use in this room” no one will ever reasonably read that restriction into your use of these products outside of the room. They’re an amenity of the room, and unlike towels or ice containers, there’s no expectation that they will remain in the room. It’s even especially absurd to think this given that the hotel controls the supply of them (to properly analyze to your cup of coffee example, it’s absolutely 100% not stealing splenda if i grab 3 extra packets and put them aside for later use - these products are put there for customers’ use and there is an implied quid-pro-quo in that I pay for my coffee, I get to reasonably utilize and take the condiments that have been put out. The usage that I make of these condiments is not a part of this implication).

It’s just plainly not theft in any way, sorry.