We have a small Airbnb in a beach town, and we have hosted hundreds of guests in the two years we’ve been on the platform. Because I am an artist, I had a postcard printed to welcome every guest. On one side of the postcard is this message: “Welcome to our home. Please accept the painting on the other side as our gift to you for staying here. We hope you enjoy your stay.” On the other side of the postcard is a print of one of my paintings.
Because my place is so small, even if you stay an entire weekend you are maybe looking at a grand total of $350. I have put 16 original paintings in the place not because I’m great but because I am free.
Some guests last weekend helped themselves to the 2‘ x 2‘ original oil painting on one of the walls. The cleaning team alerts me immediately. I called the guest and this is exactly the convo:
Hi, Guest. This is your Airbnb host. We’ve got a problem. You’ve removed an $800 painting out of my condo.
Yes, we did. We love it so much. Thank you.
My cleaning team is about to call 911. That painting wasn’t yours to take. I need you to turn your car around and bring my painting back so my guest that’s checking in later today won’t be walking into a condo that looks as though it’s been burglarized.
He apologized, claimed he misunderstood the verbiage on the back of the postcard, and shipped me the painting back. It arrived yesterday.
Here’s why in my heart I believe they stole the painting and simply tried to play it off as dumb when they got busted. I watched every moment of the Ring camera footage, and they hid the painting in their baggage when they left. The painting is so large it should have simply been carried out if someone thought that $800 painting was in some way a parting gift for a $350 stay.
Neither of us have reviewed each other yet. I feel like I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and chalk them up as unintelligent as opposed to thieves, even though I truly believe no one could have misunderstood my postcard, as no one has misunderstood it in the last two years.
So I think I’m going to do this: if they review me, I will review them and not mention this “accident.” I feel like I have to give them the benefit of the doubt. If they don’t review me, my inclination is simply not to review them at all. He only has one previous review that is good. Other than the stolen painting, they really were great guests, quiet, clean. I can’t imagine people in their mid-50s misunderstanding this, but I’m just happy I got the painting back, honestly.
So please enjoy a good laugh on my behalf of a guest thinking that an $800 original oil painting was their parting gift for $350 stay.