Man Charged $68,000 for One Beer

While in Manchester, England, to cover a series of cricket matches, an Australian journalist was charged 55,000 pounds for a single pint of beer by the Malmaison hotel. On the surface, this seems like an amusing story. Diving deeper, though, and it's revealed that not only could this happen to any of us but it's a hassle and expensive, even though the money will be returned.

Peter Lalor simply wanted to unwind at a hotel bar after watching cricket matches all day. After ordering and enjoying his pint of Deuchars IPA, Lalor requested his bill. He told The Guardian, "When I paid, I didn’t have my glasses on and there was some issue with the machine so I had to put my details in twice. I just had this weird feeling and I said, ‘How much did I just pay for that beer?’ The girl at the bar looked at the receipt and said, ‘Oh my God!’ and was a bit reluctant to show me the bill."

Turns out, the waitress had accidentally typed in 55,262.96 ($99,983.64 in Australian dollars and around $68,000 in American). The hotel was apologetic and took the necessary steps to reverse the charge and return Lalor his money, but he has found out that it's not that simple. At first, he wasn't concerned because he believed that there was no way his bank would approve the charge. Turns out, his bank didn't find it odd that such a large sum was charged by a hotel bar.

"I woke up to an alarmed phone call from my wife, who had found a massive hole in my mortgage account," said Lalor. "They can take the money out in a second but apparently it takes them up to 10 working days to put it back. I’m losing a fair whack of interest and as of this moment, I’m $99,000 out of pocket."

As someone who not only enjoys beer but has also reached the age where reading tiny receipts in dimly lit bars is quite challenging, I empathize with Peter Lalor. If anything, this story has encouraged me to finally buy the reading glasses my wife and eye doctor keep encouraging me to buy. That, and to double-checking the receipt.