Quarantined travellers facing financial ruin after taking Pringles from hotel minibar

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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.

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“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…”