On my last night in Shanghai, I returned to the PuJian Hotel to find that my bed had been sold because I hadn't paid before noon.
"But I tried to pay at twenty to eight this morning," I protested.
The man behind the counter looked at me blankly: "The rules say check-in before noon to keep bed."
I pointed to the desk where someone had been sitting that morning when I told him my room number and offered to pay.
"He was sitting there eating his noodles and didn't seem at all interested," I said.
"You don't pay there, pay here."
"But there was no-one here," I said.
It's rules and lack of initiative that plague the traveller trying to secure simple but essential things like accommodation and travel in China. I was found another bed.
"You check-out tomorrow?" This time things were clarified.