I think these people see me coming
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Well, compared to the Bahamas, my Deauville hotel didn’t have a “power charge” or a series of compulsory tips to people I’d never met in areas of the hotel I’d never visited. But still… The 30% discount on the room rate, agreed in advance, had disappeared at checkout, and they tried charging €100 extra a day. If I hadn’t been - for once in my life - early for my train, I might not have actually had the fight which got it back to the agreed rate. But I did, and of course I have to credit them for giving me such a lovely room.
Then I noticed that, despite paying an inclusive B&B rate, a little “petit déjeuner, €17” appeared on the bill for one of the days. I queried it. It was a cup of tea and an orange juice that I’d had in my room before breakfast. They weren’t messing about: cup of tea, juice, 17 euros please. Fifteen english quid. Hand it over.
I took a cab to Lisieux to catch my train. 20 minutes to the station. Have a guess, have a guess….. €65! Sixty pounds. £3 a minute. For that price, I could’ve hired Tom Cruise to walk me there.
Got back to Paris. I was taking a slightly later train than expected, but I’d paid well over the odds in London for a flexible ticket. At the Gare du Nord they told me that, since I didn’t still have the outgoing part of my ticket, it would be €32 to change it. There wasn’t a reason. I had the receipt, I had the relevant return ticket. But without the outgoing ticket - aha no, Madame, the random price of €32 must be charged.
I’m less obsessed with money than anyone I know - I’m a total spendthrift, and always happy to throw away a bit of cash if I have it on me and it’ll make life easier - but I hate feeling like I’m being fleeced. Especially when I’ve been playing poker and I’m in that sceptical “Are you on the nick?” frame of mind anyway.
Deauville remains the best value of any EPT tournament - possibly of any big tournament anywhere, except maybe the WSOP main event - and it’s a beautiful town and I’ll always play it. But I imagine that, in return, they’ll always play me. All the poker stuff is done brilliantly but (if you’re going to play any event abroad) you must, in advance and throughout, keep guard against the hoteliers and restaurateurs and cab drivers that get dollar signs in their eyes when they see you coming. I was interested to see that “Deauville”, in predictive text on my mobile phone, comes out as “Debtville.”