Mike the Mad Biologist

Let no one say that the Mad Biologist doesn’t address the pressing issues of the day. While at the Human Microbiome Meeting, I’m staying in a hotel. Like other hotels I’ve stayed in for various meetings, my bed is covered with pillows. Not only were there four humongous pillows that I could use, but there were also two large ‘decorative pillows’ that I wouldn’t ever sleep on (if nothing else, their fabric would be uncomfortable and probably leave impressions in my face). To top this off, there is a humongous cylindrical pillow that is as long as the bed is wide (it’s a king size bed). These cylindrical pillows seem to be all the rage during the last few years.

So why do they have these pillows? I can’t sleep on them, although in some hotel rooms I use them to block out the light from the hallway if its bright. I just end up throwing them on the floor (hell, four big fluffy pillows is too many).

Now I will go outside and yell at clouds.

Comments

  1. #1 Jonathan Eisen
    September 4, 2010

    I came so close to posting about this too … am going to post a pic/vid for you if I can figure out what I did with them.

  2. #2 Scott Simmons
    September 4, 2010

    I opened this post thinking from the title that there’s an epidemic of hotel bed pillows actually exploding. Now I’m all disappointed …

  3. #3 Murray Bowles
    September 4, 2010

    It’s so you won’t notice that they’ve stopped giving you peppermints.

  4. #4 Art
    September 4, 2010

    Look up “body pillow”, some claim they are more comfortable.

    Decorators are into pillows. Supposedly they inexpensively dress up a room, I never needed a hotel room to do anything but be clean, tasteful and functional, but hotel owners try. If you are seeing them in more hotels it probably has to do with some decorator offering advice in one of the major hotel management publications. Such publications are why hotel rooms tend to look alike.

    It is also a handy excuse to raise prices. Add a pillow; raise the price five dollars. Call it ‘redecorated’.

  5. #5 Jonathan Eisen
    September 4, 2010

    To everyone who likes the decorative pillows – most hotels do not was them too often, if at all – see http://hotels.about.com/od/hotelsecrets/qt/hotel_germs.htm. By the way, I thought I took some pictures but must have forgotten to. I did make a mini video that includes the pillows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vBa9PAfZG4

  6. #6 blf
    September 4, 2010

    It’s part of a cunning cost-reductionredecorating plot. The goal is to eliminate the bed, which is amongst the most expensive items in the room. Since just removing the bed would be commented on, and pillows are cheap, the idea is to, first, hide the bed under then pillows. Then, second, remove the bed. Tests show that most people either won’t notice or will accept it as a new (and hence better) fad.

    One of the best parts about the plan is at each step, each new pillow, removed bed, etc., the prices go up.

    Another expensive item, of course, is the toilet, shower/bath, plumbing, and so on. Exactly how those will be eliminated is a closely-guarded secret believed to be known only to a select few deep inside the Temple of Price-GougingHotels.

  7. #7 stripey_cat
    September 4, 2010

    The long pillow sounds like a traditional bolster. Some people prefer them, and they’re an alternative to rectangular pillows, not a supplement. Also, you may have been given extra pillows to support you reading in bed. I’m not sure if there’s an alternative to chucking whichever you don’t want to use on the floor, though.

  8. #8 BaldApe
    September 5, 2010

    Short answer:
    Women like them, men are either neutral or uncomplaining about them, and they are cheaper than painting the room.

    Long answer:
    [armchair evolutionary psychology run amok] Women say that all those pillows are “romantic.” The only way that makes sense to me is in the context of setting up barriers and tests of devotion before consenting to sex. So instead of taking a running leap into the sack, you have to spend time moving all those damned pillows out of the way.[/armchair evolutionary psychology run amok]

  9. #9 Maryn
    September 5, 2010

    My last two hotels, including the one I am in this morning, had pillow menus. Can a pillow sommelier be far behind?

  10. #10 blf
    September 5, 2010

    My last two hotels, including the one I am in this morning, had pillow menus.

    Is the pillow de jour served with a choice of maid?

  11. #11 Tareena
    September 6, 2010

    You use them to facilitate more interesting sexual positions.

  12. #12 Hank Roberts
    September 8, 2010

    For an earlier observation, possibly related, see Avram Davidson’s short story “Or All the Seas with Oysters”

  13. #13 Microbead Pillows
    November 2, 2010

    Well, the story of the post was good but it doesn’t matters to me. I am comfortable in any kind of pillows whether it is hard or silky. There are many hotels which keeps the pillows in the menus but I don’t care about it.

  14. #14 black
    November 18, 2010

    hellooo thanks for raitings :D:D:D

  15. #15 pacific pillows
    March 1, 2011

    A good pillow keeps your neck in line with your head — that’s why there’s so much to-do about what position you sleep in (which I find to be a very personal question from a pillow manufacturer).

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