The Con is On

Budapest Travel Blog

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Looking across the Duna (Danube) River
Budapest was nice during the day, but my Kellogg (business school) friend and I were looking to party.  Unfortunately it was Sunday night, and the first place we went to was pretty dead.  The second, was closed.  Still a little drunk from the first place, we were walking down the streets desperate to find a bar with a lilttle life in it, when I noticed two girls smiling at us sitting on a bench.  They called us over, and we told them we were looking for some place to hang out; they said they were too, and tought we should try out something not far from here.

It was on the main road, but up an elevator on the second floor.  When we got there, the place was pretty empty, but we decided to get a few drinks anyway.  My friend ordered us all a round of shots, and the girls said the place was famous for these fruity cocktails.
Looking into Pest from outside our hotel.
  We had a round of that, then it was one round of regular beers.  We looked around, and the place was not picking up.  We got our tab and got ready to head out.  I looked at the tab: 140,000 forints, which at 200 forints to the dollar is $70, pretty normal for 3 rounds for 4 people.  I put down $75 worth of forints and we got ready to stumble out (the drinks were pretty strong).

The waitress called us back, because I'd underpaid.  I took another look at the bill, and scratched my head, trying to summon all my mental faculties in my drunken state.  It turns out the bill was actually $700.  We refused to pay, saying it was a rip off (the place didn't even look upscale, it was a fairly typical small bar).  The girls encouraged us not to make a scene, the manager came out, the staff locked the doors and threatened to call the police.
Remove all evidence of the con- it'll be as if the bar never existed.
  We realized the girls were in on the con, the staff was in on it, the whole thing had been a setup from the get-go.  My friend and I were both embarassed and scared.

Being good business school students, we decided to negotiate before the manager called in some thugs to have us beaten and robbed.  We didn't pay the whole thing, but paid a lot more than we should've (I'm sworn to secrecy on the amount).

The next day I went back to the place sober to see what the hell had actually gone on.  They were actually taking apart the bar- they were packing up.  In a couple of hours there would be no trace the place had ever exsisted... except I took some photos...
Eric says:
Damn, that's pretty crazy. I met an aussie guy who got conned in a similar way in Budapest too...think he had to pay ~400 euro.
Posted on: Oct 26, 2006
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Budapest
photo by: Chokk