Joseph’s Blog: The Carin’ Carpenter


Hey everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted anything here at The Carin’ Carpenter for a while. Things have been hectic. Wait till you hear what happened.

But first let me say: if you’re in Bethlehem, do NOT stay at the Bethlehem Sleepytime Inn!!! It is the WORST!!!

My wife and I were in town last week for the tax-census thing, and I know it was a busy weekend, but there’s no excuse for the awful experience we had at this hotel.

First of all, the desk clerk was super rude about how busy he was. He could plainly see that my wife was pregnant (not my kid — long story), and that we had just arrived on the 6:30 donkey from Nazareth. We were obviously tired and dusty and smelled like donkey exhaust. But this guy — I didn’t catch his name, but he was swarthy — he’s like, “You don’t have a reservation? We’re full.” And that’s it. No “I’m sorry” or “I’ll see what I can do,” just “we’re full, get out,” and he turns his back on us.

Now, I’m a carpenter. I work mostly on commission. How many jobs do you think I’d get if I treated potential clients like that? So I’m like, “Hey, buddy, my wife is great with child. Don’t you have ANY rooms? Even a twin bed and a cot would be OK.” And he sighs this big, loud sigh, like I’m totally inconveniencing him, and he says, “Fine, we’ve got something around back that you can have.” And I’m like, “Yeesh, THANK YOU, was that so hard?”

So we get a room. End of story, right?

Not even close.

This “room” he gave us was a stable. The actual, honest-to-goodness STABLE behind the hotel, where the animals live. I couldn’t believe my eyes (or nose). My wife is like, “Just let it go, this is fine, it’s only for one night,” but I was ready to beat the crap out of Mr. Swarthy. I was gonna get Babylonian on him. If we hadn’t already tried every other hotel in Bethlehem, we’d have said “screw you and your barn” and gone somewhere else. That’s the humiliating part. This guy KNEW we were stuck, KNEW we were totally at his mercy, and so he knew we’d put up with it. I was shocked at his unprofessionalism. Even Motel VI wouldn’t pull a stunt like that!

So we settle in and try to get comfortable on piles of hay, but it’s hard because it’s nighttime and we’re basically sleeping outside. This was the 24th. Do you remember how deep that cold winter night was? Super deep.

I bet you know where this is going. While we’re in the barn, trying to sleep, what happens? My wife goes into labor. Apparently the days were accomplished in which she should be delivered. Boy, when it rains it pours, am I right?

Well, you can forget about Mr. Swarthy at the front desk helping out. We were on our own. I had to deliver the baby myself. Fortunately, since I’m a carpenter, I had a vise and a chisel with me, so I was prepared. Everything turned out OK, or you can bet we’d be suing the hotel. A bunch of shepherds came by to look at the freak show — “Oh, wow, this lady just had a baby in a stable!” — and some old dudes dropped off some myrrh, which I drank. So that was nice. The only real problem was some kid with a drum who kept wanting to play for the baby — you know, like newborn infants love a good drum beat. Rat-a-tat-tat! Just like a lullaby! Dumb kid. Anyway, that wasn’t directly the hotel’s fault, but you can bet it wouldn’t have happened if we’d been, oh I don’t know, INDOORS!!!

Finally, the so-called “continental breakfast” was just a bagel and orange juice.

But yes! The baby was born! He’s adorable. We don’t have any pictures to post yet, but we’re expecting to see a lot during the Renaissance.


Dear Mr. Joseph:

As vice president of the Sleepytime Inn corporation, I would like to apologize for the treatment you received at our Bethlehem location, as described in this blog post. Customer satisfaction is very important to us. I have directed the hotel’s manager to retrain the staff on proper procedures to follow when there are no rooms available.

The reason I’m posting this as a public comment on your blog, however, is to set the record straight on a few of the details you mentioned, lest any of your readers get the wrong idea.

– It is not the policy of Sleepytime Inn to offer stables, barns, outhouses, or other non-traditional spaces to guests. When the rooms are full, the rooms are full. While we pride ourselves on taking proper care of our livestock and beasts of burden, obviously we know that a stable is no place for humans to sleep (unless they’re Samaritans).

– Even if we’d been able to provide a room for you, the bed would have been a cloth sack stuffed with hay, which is pretty much what you had in the stable. There’s a good chance your room would have had a donkey in it, too. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in Bethlehem, but there are donkeys everywhere. The stable wasn’t really THAT bad, is my point.

– We did not charge you anything for the stable. I wish to make this very clear. You paid nothing for the room, other than a small surcharge to cover the costs of replacing the hay, which the cleaning staff found covered in frankincense and afterbirth.

– The desk clerk you called “Mr. Swarthy” is named Isaac, and he is no swarthier than anyone else from the tribe of Reuben. He offered to let you stay in the stable because you had no other options and he thought it would be better than nothing. Despite being very busy with other guests, he went out of his way to make you as comfortable as he could. I am sorry if you were insulted by the gesture, but Isaac only meant to give you a roof over your heads. If you would have preferred to sleep in the gutters of Bethlehem, that choice was still available to you.

We at Sleepytime Inn headquarters congratulate you and your wife on the birth of your child, and wish you nothing but health and happiness in the days to come. Should you find yourselves in Bethlehem again in the future, we would be pleased to offer you a complimentary night in our finest donkey-free suite. We could even accommodate you if you wish to celebrate your son’s birthday here, though we do ask that you make a reservation in advance, as we tend to be very busy during the Christmas season.