LAS VEGAS--I'm never surprised when I visit Sin City and find that the hotels here have come up with new and innovative ways to get my--and your--money.
But when I arrived here late Tuesday night for the first real stop on my Road Trip 2007 around the Southwest, I discovered a new one--new, at least, to me--that make me blink.
I've stayed in a million hotels and motels in the last few years, and even a few in Vegas. And in many places, I've used the in-room fridge to store a couple of drinks I brought in myself, or maybe some leftovers from dinner. That kind of thing.
But when I checked into my room at The Mirage last night, I was told that doing such a thing would be impossible. Why?
Because the fridges are now equipped with motion sensors, the helpful woman at registration told me. That is, if I move a drink to make room for something of my own, it'll charge me. If I accidentally knock something over, it'll charge me. If I put something of my own on top of something, it'll charge me.
She didn't say so, but I was convinced that if I even looked at the interior of the fridge funny, it would charge me.
And even if I somehow was OK with incurring a charge of, say, $12 for chocolate almonds, just so I could put my leftover sandwich in the fridge, the registration woman told me that the maid would remove my food anyway.
Now, maybe this technology has been around for awhile, in which case I'm naive to imagine it's new. But it sure seems novel to me. And cynical. I know Vegas wants every dime in my pocket, but this is a little over the top.
And looking at the fridge itself, part of me wonders if maybe the whole thing is a hoax. The sensors, if they're there, aren't obvious. Then again, I don't want to exhale in the wrong direction and incur an $11 charge because my breath hit the cashews.