Saturday, May 21, 2011

how not to couchsurf

we actually have quite a fetching couch to surf
i am a big fan of couchsurfing and have, until now, had only great experiences. but the past couple of days have been a very interesting exercise in how NOT to couchsurf. and sadly, it was our couch being i thought i'd share a few pointers about how NOT to do it.

~ when you're collected from the train station, wander up to the car and don't bother to introduce yourself, just awkwardly start putting your bags in the car, after you indicate that the person collecting you should open the door for you.

~ don't take off your shoes when you come in the house, despite the fact that your host does and there are loads of shoes in the entryway.

~ come bearing no small token of any kind - no bottle of wine, no chocolates, nothing special from your country.

~ whatever you do, don't offer to help with dinner.

~ complain that it's too cold to sit outside.

~ turn every conversation into something about you.

~ don't display any interest in hearing the stories of your host or reacting to them in a normal way.

~ ask about whether we usually close the bathroom door (yes, the hallway is small) and then complain that when the bathroom door is closed, it's too hard to know if there's someone inside.

~ expect to be waited on hand and foot.

~ fall asleep on the floor in the living room. in the middle of the day.

~ make everyone so uncomfortable, they don't want to be in their own living room.

~ tell really strange, sketchy stories about yourself.

~ claim you own a home in japan.

~  and also in alabama (that you also claim to have bought with a credit card).

~ talk extensively about ways in which you've bought stocks using various credit cards.

~ talk mysteriously about how you've gotten loads of frequent flyer miles (and can use them on stand-by(WTF??)) using various credit cards.

~ claim to be a professional photographer, but have only a canon 40D (nothing wrong with that camera, but it's not a professional, aerial photographer camera).

~ claim to have a specialized photography blimp.

~ ask questions and then claim you knew the answer already.

~ act defensive.

~ go to the grocery store with your host and don't even offer to pay a token sum.

~ keep complaining about the cheap-ass inexpensive chinese copy phone you bought online when the "directions" that accompany it don't help you.

~ ask to go on a drive with your host because you want to see the landscape and then proceed to fiddle with your phone for the entire journey and never once look out the window.

~ ask your host if they know someone who works for apple, since you couldn't imagine that people would actually buy apple products.

~ keep claiming you're sick, but show up for meals with bells on.

~ act put upon that you're not waited on hand and foot, even tho' you were clearly shown where the (homemade!) bread and sandwich fixings were and told that if you were hungry, you should just help yourself. complain at dinner that you haven't had anything to eat or drink since breakfast.

~ be sure you don't offer to help with said dinner.

~ give really strange and winding answers to straightforward questions.

~ get out a little hand recorder and record conversations without saying anything about it or asking permission. (really? WTF??)

~ hang around all day, but don't be part of any of the activities people are doing (gardening, demolishing a container, hanging out in the garden).

~ expect that your laundry is done and folded and returned to you.

~ just generally seem really cheap and like a freeloader.

i could go on, but i think i have to stop here...i'm still processing this experience. i'm sure there will be more to say in the near future.

i would like to say, however, that this doesn't discourage me from couchsurfing, which i think is a fantastic concept, it just makes me want to be way more careful about really, really reading people's profiles when they ask to stay here. because i actually think a lot of this was there and i just didn't pick up on it.


Lost Star said...

Oh boy, that sounds like a not good person staying with you! Just the lack of basic politeness! Yikes! If you are a guest, you must always act with gratitude, and always offer assistance! Stunned that a guest would behave in such a way. May I ask where they were from?

What is couch surfing anyhow? Sounds interesting!

Lost Star said...

Oh, I followed the link and found out what it is! I'd be a little concerned about going by myself but the idea of it is fantastic!

DahnStarr said...

As my Grandmother would say, while looking out the window/door, when company had over stayed their welcome: "Oh, what a wonderful day to be traveling!" She was also known to state "company is like fish, after three days they begin to stink."

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

What a monumental sense of entitlement! How ever did you bear it?

Sandra said...

Is it possible to show couchsurfer the door? That would more than likely be considered a reasonable response to unreasonable behavior. You are too kind, I think.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Yiiiikes! Geez Louise! What an awful experience! How long did you have to put up with that person???

Indiri Wood said...

Wow, what a crazy experience. I guess on the bright side it gives you a fun story, hehe. Hopefully the next one goes better.

Unknown said...

I had to look up "couchsurfing". I'd never heard the term.

Is there somewhere that you could put your comments as to what sort of guest you entertained?

Anonymous said...

Couchsurfing was new to me too. But it does just confirm what I had always suspected: people are very, very strange.

poet said...

Ow, that's really bad! It's the fear of something like this that keeps me from engaging in couch-surfing... We had an exchange student once who basically acted like this, and he was there for three weeks, but then he was a kid and not expected to act fully grown-up... Hope your other experiences have been and will be better. Your outdoor couch looks fabulous, by the way! :)

Cyndy said...

I like Writer Lady's idea of making a review of this person's visit ~ that would seem like a good way for hosts to know who and what to expect. This guy was obviously too self absorbed to notice how good he had it. If I visited, you would do my laundry?!?!? Booking flight now...

wv: diserate, v. to show total lack of respect and regard for host family while taking advantage of a system that is surely designed upon the premise of good people meeting good people.

Delena said...

You are far braver than I. I always stand back and observe and listen to people before I can be comfortable with them. Coachsurfing would just not happen here. There is enough drama going on in my life!
You are a gem to be able to do this!

kristina - no penny for them said...

what a weirdo - really sorry you had to put up with that!