You’ve had a long day, hoofing it around ruins and cathedrals and museums. You haven’t had anything to eat since lunch, which was ages ago. Now you’re back in your hotel room, a little grimy and sweaty, and too exhausted to freshen up and go wandering around in pursuit of dinner—no way, not after you walked 86,000 steps today (or so your FitBit says). But you’re starving and your body needs some kind of sustenance, just a handful of peanuts or something to keep you from dying in your sleep. So you open the mini-bar.
Or: You’ve spent the entire day at some conference, networking and panel-ing, shaking hands and exchanging business cards. It was a busy day, you barely took a breather, and now you’re alone in your room, bored or maybe a little antsy. You could really use a drink—but you’re not going to change out of your comfy pants just so you can schlep down to the lobby bar and nurse a vodka soda while trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone. Also, your room has free HBO. So you open the mini-bar.
Or: You’ve had a big night, tying one on, showing every person in the bar your special brand of joie de vivre. Now you’re back in your room, wasted but not ready to pass out fully clothed with the lights on (you’ll get there, just not yet—give it 30 minutes or so), and drinking always makes you hungry. So you open the mini-bar.
Girl, do not open that mini-bar.
No matter what it is that has you peeking in that tiny fridge of terrors, you already know the snacks and drinks contained within are wildly overpriced. Hotels know that you know, but they can rely on your hunger (or boredom or alcoholism) to reliably drive your behavior. As such, those sad little bottles of Fetzer and cans of Blue Diamond almonds are marked up like mad. It’s snacky surge pricing in anticipation of guest desperation.
But just how bad is that surge pricing? Possibly worse than you think, and you knew it was bad to begin with. From Pricenomics comes a handy chart that, if nothing else, might inspire you to pack a few of your own granola bars before you head out on your travels.
I get it, and I’ve been there. Let she who has not feverishly busted into a tiny bag of $5 pretzels cast the first stone. But seeing the prices spelled out like this is a helpful reminder for me to include some easy-to-pack snacks next time I’m going to be traveling. As for the booze, if any of us wind up in our hotel rooms, facing temptation, let’s all agree to take a breath and remind ourselves that no bottle of Stella is worth $7.
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