The debate on ‘have the Ocean Club sheets been doctored in Excel’ or is it simply an OCR issue has turned up another small step forward, thus once again I thank Textusa for raising this issue.
Why was there a list of current Ocean Club guests, ordered by surname, and handwritten with the word Tapas?
I had been assuming that the Tapas receptionist had a PC, or at least a dumb terminal, complete with screen and printer, connected to the main OC IT system.
It made perfect sense. After all, a guest went to the Tapas reception, requested a reservation, and the receptionist said “what is your name?”. Once given the name, the receptionist confirmed the right to a Mark Warner half-board dinner by looking it up on the IT system, plonked it on that night’s Tapas booking sheet (always assuming the quota was not exceeded), and things are just so simple and straight forward.
So, why oh why were printed sheets necessary? With the ultra-simple IT system I have described, printed sheets are a waste of time and space.
Reverse the logic – printed sheets were necessary because … the Ocean Club did not have the ultra-simple IT I was assuming.
There wasn’t a PC (or dumb terminal) with screen and printer, with simplistic access to the Ocean Club IT system. The printed sheets were required to control who got half-board meals, because the Tapas receptionist did not have another method.
Without 1st hand access to the OC IT system, the receptionist needed sheets in name order (to facilitate lookup), and she needed one every working day. A person came in to book Tapas, she asked the person’s name, she looked up the name in the name-order sheet, and then booked it as half-board, rejected it as half-board, or booked it as pay for.
This is even simpler than my thoughts on an ultra-simple IT system. Some sheets of paper!
Now think through the other point of control that needed this information. The Millennium need it twice in a day, first to ensure that people claiming half-board breakfasts were entitled to such. Second, they needed it for the Tapas reason, namely to ensure that those on half-board were logged as such, while those who weren’t had to cough up.
I have never seen any Millennium booking aids, but on this analysis I am confident they were identical to those used by Tapas reception, although the timings are different for the two. I assert that they consist of an identical copy of the Tapas sheets, printed in name order every day, and that the Millennium did not have ultra-simple direct access to the Ocean Club IT system.
Why is this ultra-simple IT system not a starter? As the crow flies, the distance from OC 24 hour reception to Tapas reception is 155m. Again as the crow flies, the distance from OC 24 hour reception to Millennium reception is 400m.
The first thing we know is that this 2007 system was not on wi-fi. It is tough to get a decent signal throughout a large house with 2015 technology, so 155m or 400m is laughable.
So how do you connect an ultra-simple simple IT system at those ranges? The answer is you don’t. It is complex and expensive technology to make it work, such as point-to-point wiring, an Intranet, or an Internet with password control, a firewall and heavy duty security systems. The Ocean Club had one bod doing the IT.
Therefore, take your pick. The Ocean Club had really quite hi-tech IT in place, or the Ocean Club used the simplest solution, namely some printed sheets out of 24hr reception, and moved to the Tapas reception and Millennium reception each day.
I am plumping for the simple solution of printed sheets in name order, since such sheets exist within the PJ files.
Does any of this matter? I think it does.
I had been working on the assumption that Tapas reception and Millennium reception had access to an IT system months before the Tapas 9 arrived. This would have given the receptionists a vast amount of prior notice and potentially made them suspects in a planned abduction.
The reality appears to be quite different. A just-in-time sheet was needed for the Millennium on Saturday, 28th April 2007, the day when the Tapas 9 arrived. That would have been printed on Friday 27th April by OC 24 hour reception. It was required to tell the Millennium receptionist that the Tapas 9 were entitled to a half-board meal on Mark Warner, which is what happened. It was not required at the Tapas restaurant, as the Tapas restaurant closed on Saturday evening.
A further sheet, printed on Saturday 28th Apr for Sunday 29th Apr was required at the Millennium to tell the receptionist who was entitled to a half-board breakfast, and once again who was entitled to a half-board dinner that day. The very same sheet was required by the Tapas receptionist. The Tapas restaurant did not offer breakfast, therefore it only related to half-board dinners.
The sheets used by the receptionists did not detail the number of children, their gender, or their ages. The receptionists could not have possibly worked this out from the sheets. Therefore, the possibility that the receptionists were part of a planned abduction has a clock ticking from quite late.
This would be at the time that the Tapas 9 turned up at the Millennium restaurant on Saturday 28th, or at the Tapas restaurant on Sunday 29th.
The twist of the screw is whether anyone twigged at that time as to whether they were leaving multiple children unattended as they dined out. That did not happen at the Millennium at dinner on 28th or breakfast on 29th.
The first occasion was dinner at the Tapas restaurant on Sunday 29th Apr 2007. From then on, you could possibly see that there were children being left alone while the adults dined out.
The IT system in the Tapas (printed sheets with insufficient detail), and the IT system in the Millennium (printed sheets with insufficient detail) are far to crude to allow forward planning.
The IT system in the Ocean Club 24 hour reception was definitely enough to allow months of forward planning.
Quite obviously, I cannot say with certainty that this is the way it happened.
What I can say is that the focus of interest in the planned abduction theory has tightened. The receptionist at the Tapas and the receptionist at the Millennium have been relegated to 100-1 outsiders. Ocean Club 24 hr reception is still the favourite, as the one with long advance warning. And before I get sued, no, of course I cannot prove that one either.