Tuesday 16 February 2021 by Chris Ballard

Quarantined travellers facing financial ruin after taking Pringles from hotel minibar


travellers locked in hotel room

People arriving in the UK from Covid ‘red list’ countries are at risk of bankruptcy after indulging in minibar snacks.

Simon Williams has just returned from a business trip to South America and must now spend ten days locked up in an airport hotel room.

“I knew it would be expensive but I hadn’t even considered the hidden costs,” said the merkin salesman who has many Brazilian customers.

“I’d been told the hotel bill would be close to two grand but I figured that would be partly offset by all the freebies – shampoo, towels, duvet etc.

“However, the room service Caesar salad they delivered for my dinner was so small that I accidentally ingested the whole thing when I smelt it. So by nine o’clock, I was pretty hungry.

“What would be the harm in having a quick snack from the minibar?

“I removed a tube of Pringles, deliberately avoiding eye contact with the expensive miniatures, and went to lie on my bed to eat them.

“As I popped off the lid a small electronic voice, barely audible above the television, shouted, ‘Five pounds!’

“I peeled off the foil seal and the voice shouted, ‘Fifty pounds!’

“At this point I assumed the noise was coming from outside and I didn’t pay much attention.

“I ate my first Pringle: ‘Five hundred pounds!’

“My second Pringle: ‘Five thousand pounds!’

“I realised the voice was coming from the minibar. I turned off the TV and walked over the small, innocent-looking fridge.

“I ate a third Pringle. ‘Fifty thousand pounds!’ shouted the minibar. But what on earth could it mean?

“I ate a fourth Pringle to see what would happen. Sure enough, ‘Five hundred thousand pounds!’ came the reply.

“The cost of the snack was being multiplied by ten with each crisp I ate!

“I stared into the tube. It was only a small one and there was one crisp left. A crisp that would cost me five million pounds!

“Obviously I couldn’t afford it.

“The trouble was, I’d already popped…”

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