This is the story of my first unfamiliar, unsophisticated encounter with a mini bar and clones in New York City.
My co-worker Allison and I made our first business trip as fabric buyers to the Big Apple in the early 90's. We arrive at JFK early in the morning, retrieved our luggage and grabbed a cab. We are staying in what we were told was the hippest hotel in the city. We are so excited.
The cab pulls up to the hotel where we're met by the doorman. He's wearing a grey Nehru jacket with charcoal slippers, his hair is jet black. He looked quite emaciated, and I had my doubts as to whether he could lift our bags. Frankly, he just didn't look well, his jacket and skin were the same shade of grey. My instinct is to help the poor, pale, malnourished guy so I reach for my bag, to place it on the cart. He snapped "put that down" and glared at me. So, I drop it like it's hot (props to Snoop Dogg.) We follow the little fellow into the lobby where there's more grey. Every shade from light to charcoal. It was like walking into a storm cloud. All ominous and moody.
Then a guy who looks just like the doorman appears behind the desk. I look at Allison, she looks at me...... isn't that the doorman? We're checked in with no conversation, given our keys and told to wait by the elevator, someone would be right with us. Sure enough the doorman desk - clerk appears. We all get into the elevator... after what seems like a life time we arrive at our floor, get to our room where the doorman takes our bags off the cart and stands glaring waiting for his tip... "I've got a tip for you... eat a sandwich in the sunlight little man" (I say this to myself of course.) I give him five bucks. Begone.
Finally alone, we start laughing uncontrollably... okay... it's the same guy, right ? We agree. It's the same guy, or we're not in a hotel at all, but a cloning laboratory made to look like the hotel and if that's the case, I'll take the first watch. We take a look around the exceptionally small intensely grey room. The only bright spot is the food that the "Hotel" has kindly left for us to consume. We are famished. So we each take a large cellophane wrapped cookie - unwrap and start to eat. Half a cookie into it, I read the wrapper. Oh My God... SEVEN dollars....Allison stop eating! Like the scene, from the movie "Big" cookie comes flying out of mouths. We work for a crazy man and were told specifically not to order anything from room service nothing additional was to appear on the bill! Okay, okay, we can fix this. We had both eaten about half a cookie each, so we take the remaining half and make one. Re-wrap and Ta Da a whole cookie. We'll simply pay cash for the one we ate. We place the cookie back from whence it came (kind of) it wouldn't go exactly in the same spot, but close enough (we thought.)
We leave and go on with the first day of our three day trip (we had a few adventures along the way - best left for another post.) On the day we check out the doorman shows up, takes our bags and goes ahead of us to the lobby. Further evidence there is only one guy doing every job in the hotel. We once again find only the two of us in the lobby waiting for the "desk - clerk" to check us out. He finally shows up and presents us with the bill. You guessed it - in big, bold jet black letters, mini bar - fourteen dollars. Honestly WTF how did that happen.. we put it back (we learn there are no put backs in a mini bar land.) We pay cash for the cookies and much to his disgust we insist the desk - clerk reprint the bill minus our cookie fiasco.
We wait in the lobby while outside the doorman is hailing us a cab. As we walk out of the lobby into our waiting cab, I see out of the corner of my eye the desk-clerk, on the phone. Oh. My. God. the desk clerk and the doorman are not the same person, but two people who look exactly the same. Clones. I knew it. Lucky we kept watch.
We've had cloning in the South for years. It's called cousins.