The saga of the hotel mini-bar and this week’s “What’s the Point?”
I first encountered the electronic-eye-equipped hotel mini-bar in a hotel in Minneapolis back in 2000. I had just settled into my solo hotel room, exhausted from a convoluted, 10-hour travel excursion, which began with me boarding a propeller plane back in Westchester County, NY, then “changing my mind” after the door was closed and getting off the plane to wait at the airport for a jet.
At first I thought it was a mirage, but no, there was a cute fridge, right there in my private hotel room for my enjoyment, stocked with candy, nuts, sodas, and what-have-you. I decided to allow myself one diet soda and one granola bar. But that didn’t stop me from picking up each and every item and reading the nutrition label, in turn. That’s what I like to do—read labels and compare calorie counts and fat grams. It’s like my lady porn – I’m just looking, not actually eating any of it.
When I checked out of the hotel the next day, I was shocked to see an extra $70 on my bill, with an itemized list of the likes of M&Ms, Pringles, Peanuts, $10,000 bar, and vodka.
“Oh, no. I did NOT eat and drink that!” I told the desk clerk. What did he think I was? A pig?
“Did you remove these items from the refrigerator?” he asked, suspiciously.
“Oh….” It dawned on me. “I was just reading the labels. I looked at everything but I put it all back! I didn’t actually eat any of it. All I had was a Diet Coke and a Healthy Valley Granola Bar. You can even go check my room. It’s all there.”
The desk clerk figured out that it was pathetic, yet true, and he removed all but the two legitimate mini-bar charges. I couldn’t believe that the refrigerator had an actual electronic eye that tracked my movement. I’m just happy it couldn’t read my mind.
And in that vein, below is the mini- bar door from the Toronto Airport Hilton. I won’t ask you to guess the price of everything on that door – it’s astronomical – but can you guess the points? What if you ate and everything on that door? What astronomical points value would you consume? Give it a try. Answer posted on Sunday at 8 AM EST.