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August 31, 2021

Posh NY hotel jacks rates for those looking for Irene shelter

In the annals of bad business history, how do we tell the worse from the worst?

7194218-7194218-hotel How do we say, definitely, that BP leaking 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, then wringing its hands over who was at fault, is worse than, say, Walmart, which has faced every allegation from sexual discrimination to the idea it sets fire to every community it touches?

Indeed, perhaps ranking poor business behaviour isn’t for us to say. But one thing’s for sure: we know it when we see it.

And this, we’re seeing with eyes wide open.

By a new report out of the Big Apple, just days after people were forced to flee their homes for fear of Hurricane Irene’s wrath, one trendy Brooklyn hotel decided to gouge those looking for shelter.

*Bing: See pics from Irene's billion-dollar damage

According to the New York Daily News, the posh Hotel Le Bleu was caught charging storm refugees $999 for a room. That’s up from its typical rate of $250 a night.

“It was just because of high demand,” an anonymous employee of the hotel said. “A lot of hotels did that.”

Well, at least one didn’t – another hotel 10 blocks away left its $240 a night fee unchanged during Irene, the Daily News found – but how can we really blast the Hotel Le Blue?

Said another employee, “If you can pay, then it’s on you.”

Well, then.

In any case, bad business or not, plenty of legitimate companies stand to profit big from Irene, too.

As the Caribbean and East Coast clean up the hurricane’s estimated $3 billion in damage, Bloomberg suspects Lowe’s and Home Depot will see a major boost in sales from storm fixer-uppers.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...