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A Scary Encounter with the Hotel Mini-Bar Sensors

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  Site Where: 1755 North Highland Avenue [map], Hollywood, CA, United States, 90028
November 29, 2006 at 3:43 PM | by | ()

[Ed. Note: Our fearless Jaunted editor Davie recently had a terrifying experience with the mini-bar sensors at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood. The good news is she's lived to tell the tale.]

I encountered my first touch-sensitive minibar this weekend at the Renaissance in Hollywood. The sneaky element of it is concealed well. On top of the fridge is an average-looking small shelf with chips and chocolate on it. I'm not sure about the inside of the fridge because I did not dare look inside of it.

I was tired and hungry and picked up a package of M&Ms, contemplating whether or not I was going to eat it, and I hear a BEEP. So I looked down and on this electronic screen on the fridge it says something like "item removed." I put the M&Ms back down and it beeps again, while the screen says "item replaced." I don't fully understand the system, but my impression was it also tracks the time the item is replaced and can thus tell if you replaced it yourself, which is not allowed. Thus you cannot grab a snack in late night desperation and make up for it later by buying a normally-priced item.

I picked up the M&Ms again to try and understand what was happening, and the machine beeped and "charged" me again for picking up the same item. I called downstairs.

The mini-bar must be instantly wired to the hotel's computers, because the front desk clerk knew I had moved candy and assured me that he nullified "those" charges (he was right, and I was not charged). They must be very proud of this program, because he kept telling me that, OK, he had removed the charges but "removal of items will incur a charge." He must have repeated that phrase at least four times as I tried to understand the ridiculous technology and whether or not I would have to pay for touching the M&Ms. I later realized that explanation of the mini-bar is available, but don't consider it to be displayed prominently enough. Unsuspecting guests could be put many dollars in the hole just for manhandling some chocolate.

Have a mini-bar sensor experience you would like to share? Let us know.

Related Stories:
· Hollywood Renaissance reviews [TripAdvisor]

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