Happy Hour

Twice I have experienced “Happy Hour”, but let me first explain what it denotes. “Happy Hour” is a bar term. It promotes a certain period of time, in which the drinks are less expensive than normally. This time period is usually between 4 and 6 pm or between 5 and 7 pm. It is especially during these hours, when we have stopped our daily work, that we are ready to have a few drinks.


My first experience was at the Novotel, a well-known chain of hotels in Western Europe. In my case, this hotel was in Amsterdam, just across the street from my company office. After we had discovered the “Happy Hour” protocol of this hotel, we used to go there almost every day, immediately after working hours, between 5 and 7 pm. We made very sure that our working hours terminated at 5 pm in order to fully experience the “Happy Hour” times, we being a group of a few close colleagues with the addition of my wife who worked nearby.


The Novotel “Happy Hour” protocol is very simple indeed: between 5 and 7 pm, all drinks are half the price. Or you might say, that you could have two drinks for the price of one. Of course, drinks at home were much cheaper, but the hotel scenery added to the experience. And these were also the times, where we had more money than we could practically spend; both partners having good jobs and children delayed to future times, after having established something of a business career.


The second experience took place in the Caribbean. We were on a boat with friends and sailed from island to island, from Antigua to Saba and to St. Maarten, to name just a few places. The Caribbean is a wonderful area with stable and comfortable warm temperatures, and with beautiful seas and beaches. It’s a tax free paradise for both the rich and the poor; the difference being that the very rich own fabulous multi-million dollar yachts. We were navigated to Soaper’s Hole at the Virgin Islands, famous for its “Happy Hour”. We arrived at 5.30 pm and were informed that the “Happy Hour” would finish at 6 pm. Studying the protocol card, we learned that during “Happy Hour”, between 5 pm and 6 pm all drinks were 1 US dollar. Oh my God.


The group consisted of 4 people that liked alcoholic drinks and we decided to order all expensive drinks from something like 6 dollars and upwards, among which many cocktails. Some 12 drinks arrived and we started  enjoying ourselves, better and better. Just before 6 pm we were ready for the next round, and yes, we could order again using the same protocol. Around 8 pm the alcohol had done its work and we had completed our drinking; it was time to pay the bill. Much to our amazement, the bill added up to some 200 US dollars, so we made inquiries. As it turned out, we had not read the entire protocol. On the left side of the card, it said indeed “for one dollar”, but there was a right side to the card, which continued with the words “less than the normal prize”. Oh my God. Fortunately we had money to spend, but we were taught a good lesson to read all the letters of any contract or agreement. 


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