Because travel sucks ... now more than ever.

Double Your Pleasure

Sun, 2009/01/18 - 18:30 by aargh

Another strange beast you'll meet in the travel world is The Hotel Minibar. I don't even know how long the concept has been around, to be honest. I only recall having noticed them for the past decade or so. That may say more to my improved choice in hotels (brought on not by an improved pocketbook, but by frustration with the dodgy inns) than an indication of recent invention.

These Lilliputian iceboxes, stocked with equally Lilliputian drinks and goodies, are both friend and foe. Friend because it means you can get simple necessities such as a drink of water or a beer at 2AM when you're too weary (read: drunk) to face another human being for room service. Foe because the prices would make a convenience store clerk blush in shame. Even the toughest of tough would crumble if they had to look someone in the eye while asking 8EU for a drink of water.

They're also a gauge of the hotel, and in particular, your room: if the mini-bar is free, you are clearly paying too much. This is genius when you stop to think about it. You can invite your friends over and offer them a drink while you explain having paid 500EU per night for the room.

So imagine my surprise when, during a recent hotel stay, I decided to give the price list a gander. It would have made for choice lecture material in an introductory business or economics course:

Alcoholic beverages were listed first. Clearly you'll need a stiff drink when you see the prices for soft drinks and sweets, listed second and third. What stood out most, however, was the last item:

menu item: Pleasuremax Vibrations: Kit Preservatif + Vibreur

I realize the image may be a little small for some screens. The menu excerpt reads: "Pleasuremax Vibrations: Kit Preservatif + Vibreur". (Google it.) Specifically, it says there are two of them. Just in case one is insufficient. The old Doublemint Gum jingle comes to mind.

My inner businessman first noticed the distinct gap of whitespace between this item and the rest. Was this a way to indicate that it was not a comestible?

Next, ever the pragmatist, I wondered: it's in the fridge for crying out loud. Even if one were to want this, and want it badly enough the hotel would know about it, who the hell would want it served cold? (-and need I mention, this was in a city where such accoutrements were available in vending machines all over town?)

Finally, I felt a pang of sympathy for the hotel staff, specifically those who have to fill the empty spot with a fresh one every morning. Now I'm sure the cleaning crews have seen more than their fare share of oddities. Hotels are that odd mix of "home," where one does damned near anything, and "borrowed," where a stranger comes in every day and pokes around. So you must drink heavily to not consider what goes on in those tiny rooms.

But then I realized: it's not all bad. If the maid sees this item has been taken from the minibar, it's their sign to simply torch the room. Because at that point mere bleach will not do.