The comparison to waiters was apt; they earn a mean annual wage of about $30,000, and housekeepers, about $25,000. To make her point, the patrician playwright reenacted her daily encounter with room service. The floor waiter (usually a he) rolls a breakfast cart into the room, removes the silver dome, and then dawdles while your poached eggs congeal—unfolding the napkin with a flourish, taking the paper hat off the orange juice, refolding the napkin—to give you time to add a gratuity on top of the automatic one of 18 percent.

He then goes off, leaving behind a mess. On the same principle that no one washes a rented car, few guests clean up after eating. So the housekeeper (it’s usually a she) will stack up the dishes, put the cart in the hallway, clean up the toast crumbs, and then proceed to the rest of her work of stripping the beds, picking up the supernumerary pillows on the floor, wiping the butter stains off the remote, and leaving the bathroom, now with coffee spills, gleaming. Not to begrudge waiters their tips, but why does he get two lines on the bill and the housekeeper gets none?