Shockingly Expensive Bill
A character gets the service bill and is shocked by the price on it. This may be caused by the following:
- Negligence (customer's fault)
- Pretty Freeloaders (their fault)
- Hidden Fees (service's fault)
- Billing Error (service's fault, especially if they are uncooperative about correcting it)
- Work Off the Debt
- Spit Take or Wild Take
- Getting angry
- Ask if they got the wrong check
- Finding out that your check is even more expensive
- Or finding out that your check is exactly the same
- Someone points out it isn't a service bill
- Or it's a different bill, and the amount is reasonable for that bill
- Escape without paying
- Getting stuck with the bill as Pretty Freeloaders do the previous step
- Actually paying
- Debating on how much each person pays.
- Questioning whether you have the bill or the establishment's telephone number.
- Cingular commercials: 1, 2
- Inverted in that annoying Staples Commercial.
"WOW, THAT'S A LOW PRICE!""I KNOW!"
- Vonage commercials as well.
- One Visa commercial featuring Simpsons characters shows Homer having to pay $75 for quick snip of a tiny tuft of hair on top of his head.
- A commercial for Golden Corral showcasing their low prices has a customer screaming upon seeing her bill at another restaurant.
- In only the fifth episode of Pokémon titled 'Showdown in Pewter City', Ash and Misty discuss the upcoming Gym battle with Brock over a meal. After Ash refuses help from Misty, she angrily leaves the restaurant and Ash is left to stare at the bill and subsequently yell for Misty to come back. The bill originally read ¥1150, which just barely qualifies for this trope, but the 4Kids Entertainment dub changed it to a dollar sign without bothering with exchange rates (or even just adding a decimal point to make it $11.50 since assuming "1 yen = 1 cent" will almost always get you in the ballpark), which makes it a rather more potent example.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Ed becomes enraged when he gets the bill from Ling about the food he and Lan Fan ate in the hotel.
- Dragon Ball: after the first Budokai tournament Muten-Roshi treats the gang to dinner, not taking Son Goku's Big Eater tendencies into account. The bill ends up taking most of his prize money for winning the tournament.
- Black Jack: The good doctor tends to charge somewhere in the equivalent of several million US dollars. He rarely collects that fee, though - it's usually a test to see if the prospective patient is determined enough to go through with it. If you can afford it, however, he'll make damn sure you pay.
- In the Area 88 OVA, Mickey is shocked when McCoy hands him an $50,000 maintenance bill for his F-14. McCoy reminds him that an F-14 is expensive to maintain.
- A very, very, very frequent punchline in Archie Comics strips and covers, usually in the form of this joke:
Veronica: What did you order?Archie: Separate bills!
- Late For Dinner: one of the main characters tries to order food after spending a few decades in cryogenic stasis. When the girl at the counter tells him how much it is, he exclaims "That's highway robbery!... Ma'am."
- Fletch: while Fletch is at the country club he orders lots of food and liquor and tells the waiter to put it on another guest's bill. When the other guest gets the bill he's shocked by the amount and tries to find out who did it.
- The final scene of Home Alone 2 has Buzz being delivered his little brother Kevin's room service bill. Their father, Peter, is not happy.
Buzz: Merry Christmas indeed. Oh, Dad...[the scene cuts to Kevin outside]Peter: [offscreen] KEVIN! YOU SPENT $967 ON ROOM SERVICE?!?
- In D3: The Mighty Ducks, The Eden Hall varsity hockey team invites the freshman hockey team to a fancy dinner and then sticks them with the bill. The freshman team ends up washing dishes, and they swear to get revenge on varsity, leading to a prank war.
- In Innerspace, after Tuck's pod is injected into Jack, he starts trying to figure out what's going on while Jack is ringing up items at his job. His attempts screw with the scanner, causing the items to ring up at hundreds of dollars each.
- The bill Conrad van Orton gets hit with by Consumer Recreation Services in The Game turns out to be a lot more than he anticipated; fortunately, Nicholas agrees to split it with him.
- In White Christmas, Bing Crosby's character's reaction to the estimate on how much the Christmas show is going to cost is "Wow!", which is apparently "Right up there between 'ouch' and 'boing'."
- In Whats Up Doc, Howard goes to a drugstore to pick up some aspirin and is surprised by the total the cashier reports. Judy had selected a clock radio and told the cashier to put it on her "husband"'s tab.
- There is a joke about a woman undergoing several plastic operations. In the end, she asks the surgeon whether he can make her eyes large and expressive. The doctor says "No problem, here is the bill".
- Robert Sheckley has a story where a man finds what seems to be a wishing machine. Throughout the story, several people attempt to take it, ans he barely fights them off. In the end, it turns out he should have let them take it - the machine was nothing but a device for ordering. In the end, he has to pay over 18 trillion credits. Working in marble mines. For 2-3 credits a day. The only thing given for free, apparently, is immortality, which he ordered just before being given the bill.
- A minor example is found in Propeller Island by Jules Verne. A few people find themselves on a mobile island inhabited exclusively by millionaires. Being unaware of that, they are quite surprised at the first restaurant bill they get.
- In Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad, the travelers are stunned when they are hit with what they think is a gigantic bill by the hotel owner on the Azores for a festive meal. Things get better when they realize that this is due to Ridiculous Exchange Rates and that they owe much less than they thought.
- In Return to Planet Tad, Tad's mother gives him her old cell phone as a birthday gift. She and his father forbid him from calls other than from or to them, but don't specifically forbid the use of text messaging. He soon starts text messaging like crazy and also uses the phone to update his online blog. It transpires that the phone did not come with a text message plan and when his parents are hit with a $127.40 bill (20 cents times 637 text messages), they forbid him from doing anything with it other than talking to them on it and also require that his ringtone be "I'm a Little Teapot."
- Magyk, the first book in the Septimus Heap series, describes a situation in which two feuding sisters abused the Message Rat service by using the message rat Stanley to convey their arguing messages, eventually descending into simply sending him back and forth with nothing to say. It was their mother that received the shockingly expensive bill, resulting in the cancellation of the service.
- Mike from Suits is panicked when Smug Snake Lewis runs up a ridiculously large bill on wine at his dinner. Naturally, Jerkass with a Hidden Heart of Gold Harvey pays it off for him.
- Several instances on Square One TV.
- One time on Mathnet George was working undercover as a diner cook, and had to deal with a patron who didn't expect tax on his bill. "I didn't order tax on my hamburger, just ketchup!" Of course this was just an excuse to deliver some Educational Programming about tax and percentages. The bill wasn't that much bigger than he expected, but it was bigger.)
- In a "Dirk Niblick" animated segment, siblings Fluff and Fold have three dollars to spend on birthday presents for a set of quadruplets, and they estimate that their four toys cost the full three dollars. However, because Fluff has rounded her prices up and Fold has rounded his prices down, they are four cents short.
- In one episode of Arrested Development, Michael calls his father on the phone in the hotel room where he's waiting for his fiancee, to prove to him that he's not afraid of intimacy. After his father tells him to put her on, Michael claims she's in the shower, to which George Sr. replies that he'll wait. They end up waiting through to the following morning, and anybody who's ever seen the overpriced phone rates at hotels can anticipate Michael's reaction to his room charge that morning:
Michael: Oh, come on!
- Happy Days: in episode "Goin' to Chicago" the high school choir goes on a field trip to Chicago. Richie, Potsie & Ralph sneak out of the hotel room they're staying in to go to a nightclub, where all checks are $36. Link.
- On Chappelle's Show, Dave Chappelle is getting a haircut when the TV in the barber shop reports that he just signed a contract for his show paying him millions of dollars. Cut to everyone at the barber shop looking at him and the barber announcing that the bill for the haircut is $11,000.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? had an absurdly large bill come at the end of the Emergency Room version of the restaurant sketch.
- Similar to the The Simpsons example below, Earl from Dinosaurs is shocked at the high number on his phone bill, until Francine points out it's their phone number. Earl is not as shocked when he sees the actual bill, although he does admit it's pretty high.
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, upon receiving a plumber's bill:
Dawn: That's a weird phone number. Oh, wait... Is that the bill?!
- Played for Drama on The Sopranos. Chris is the low man on the totem pole when the crew goes out to dinner, so he's constantly stuck paying the tab. This starts a vicious feud between Chris and Paulie about respect, which culminates when Chris is saddled with a six-figure restaurant bill from Atlantic City. He can barely cover the cost of the check, and when the waiter follows him into the parking lot to demand a tip, Chris murders him.
- The Aliens in 3rd Rock from the Sun thought the bill was the population of Cleveland. When informed of its true nature, they used a modem to redirect the bill to one of the actors visiting the same hotel, namely George Takei.
- One episode of Victorious features this, prompting both a Spit Take and a successful sneak out from their teacher. Unusual in that they already knew the restaurant was expensive and had ate there before, but Robbie had asked for a big bowl of caviar putting the price beyond what they could afford.
- Used as the last joke on the Alice Cooper episode of The Muppet Show when Gonzo appears in a flash of fire and brimstone. In his hand is something even worse than a Deal with the Devil: the bill from Special Effects, which is enough to frighten everyone on stage.
- Supermarioglitchy4s Super Mario 64 Bloopers: In "The Wacky Wario Bros.: Money Mayhem", while Wario and Waluigi mess up and dance in their new mansion, a tax collector sends them a furniture, strippers and housing bill, which reads that they must pay $199,230,203,020,320,302,232,322,323.note Wario instead ignores the bill and kills the tax collector.
- In more recent editions of the RPG Paranoia, getting slapped with one of these by a oh-so-helpful service agency is yet another way in which a player-character can end up being hopelessly screwed.
- In the second act of La Bohème, the Bohemians find they've run up an enormous bill at Café Momus (and, inexplicably, Schaunard's fortune has already been spent). Musetta steps in and passes the bill off on her Meal Ticket, Alcindoro, who takes one look at the bill and faints.
- The premise of Recettear is Recett being left with such a debt after her father disappears, and having to open an item shop to earn enough money to pay it off. When Recett asks Tear (her fairy debt collector-turned-assistant) how much the total figure is, she refuses to say, for fear of provoking the fainting responsenote .
- Persona 4: Yosuke reacts with shock when he finds out Teddie has eaten 10 bowls of ramen on the receipt.
- And before that, Yosuke says he almost pissed in his pants when he found out the price on receipt on the clothes bought for Teddie.
- In Law's ending in Tekken 5, after using up the prize money to pay his son's hospital bill, Paul comes to him in a rickety bike carrying loads of wreckage with him. As he collapses in front of his friend, he hands him the bill for the wreckage, having pegged it on Law, who does a Wild Take. When Paul asks him to pay, Law simply knocks him out and runs away.
- The Zeekeeper's bill to help take down Bowser's Castle in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. The mystical guardian figure actually treats the thing like a rockstar/actor's expenses bill, complete with hotel, dining, souvenirs, medical and insurance, ending up with a charge of 80 million coins. Mario's reaction when Prince Dreambert and Dreamy Luigi say he'll pay said bill is priceless (beforehand he even says Mario will hand over every single coin he's got).
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link has to threaten a certain character with one of these in order to get him to divulge some plot-important information. The description says that the total amount is 'astronomical'.
- In Tales of Xillia 2, Ludger is pinned with a massive bill by Redau for some medical treatment he gave him without consent, and proceeds to give him additional charges for keeping Elle in his custody (Abusing his position in the local Mega Corp. to do so). He ends up with a bill of twenty million gald in total, and you're required to pay it off little by little as you progress through the story.
- After Star Fox 64's credits, The Stinger is of General Pepper receiving an invoice for the Star Fox team's services rendered amounting to $64 per point of your final score. He'll declare a low amount to be Worth It, but if you've scored over 1200 points, Pepper will let out a Big "WHAT?!"
- The Druuge in Star Control II offer to buy a couple of your items for "all the fuel your ship can hold". Your flagship is fully customizable, so your fuel capacity can range anywhere from 10 (hardly any fuel at all) to 1610 (a massive amount of fuel, worth more than 10 of the most expensive escort ship in the game). If you are given very little fuel, the Druuge officer celebrates his amazing deal. If you are given a moderate amount of fuel, the Druuge officer comments that it's a fair trade. But if you are given a very large amount of fuel, the Druuge officer panics at the massive bill he faces.
Aieee! I am ruined! You have sucked my full tanks until they are dry! Cruel Monster! Bloated Villain! Slicer of innocent throats! What shall I tell the Manager?! My spouse?! I shall certainly be assigned to tend the furnaces. I shall burn in the atomic fires! Aieee!
- Fooker got his very first mobile phone and started using it for all sorts of things. Unfortunately, he used pay as you go... thud.
- In The Simpsons episode "The Dad Who Knew Too Little", PI Dexter Colt charges Homer $1000 for expenses, including a $40 steak. Homer flees, refusing to pay, and Colt swears revenge.
Homer: "Is that the bill or your phone number?"Nurse: "That's the phone number. That's the bill."Homer faints.
- One time, they were checking out of a hospital and:
- In "Two Cars In Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish", Burns asks Smithers how much it would cost to bring the power plant up to code. Smithers calculates that it would be about 56 million dollars.
- Another time, Marge finds a $378 phone bill for calls made to the Corey hotline by Lisa.
- Bart makes a collect call worth $900 to Australia.
- In "Catch 'Em If You Can", the kids chase their parents presumably around the world, using Rod and Ned's credit cards, respectively. At the end of the episode they both freak out at their hefty credit card bills.
- In one episode, Lisa accrues a $1200 bill from Mapple for downloading 1000 songs from iTunes. Lisa tries to appeal the bill by visiting Steve Mobs, but is promptly ousted.
- In one episode, Homer has a heart attack. After recieving medical care, he finds out how expensive his bill is. This makes him have another heart attack, causing his bill to go even higher.
- In "22 Short Films About Springfield", Moe tells Barney that he once had NASA calculate the drunk's bar tab- the result was 14 billion dollars.
- One Futurama episode has Bender Work Off the Debt at Elzar's restaurant because the crew didn't expect the bill to be so high. (They didn't expect it because Elzar had blinded Leela earlier and led them to believe the meal would be free.)
- The Fairly OddParents: when Timmy was momentarily a grown-up. Eating at a restaurant and is surprised at the bill, saying "This is more than I get for my allowance- I mean, more than I make in a month!" Cut to him washing dishes in the back.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Krusty Love", Mr. Krabs is shocked at the cost of the bill ($100) for his fancy dinner with Mrs. Puff. The waiter apologizes and brings him the real bill, which he finds even more shocking ($100,000).
- In another episode, Mr. Krabs is initially shocked at his hospital bill ($15,000) but decides to send SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward to med school to get in on the racket. Earlier in that episode, Mr. Krabs turned his restaurant into a hotel after learning how much the last hotel he was a guest at charged for a hamburger. His earlier reaction was getting his claw inside his mouth to retrieve the hamburger and give it back to avoid paying for it. Surprisingly, aside from being covered in saliva, it had no sign of being a previously eaten hamburger.
- In "Whale of a Birthday", Mr. Krabs gives SpongeBob his debit card to buy birthday presents for Pearl. At the end of the episode, he's bought a bunch of presents and hired a boy band, then gives Mr. Krabs the bill for all of it. We don't get to see the total amount, but judging by Mr. Krabs' reaction it must've been pretty high.
- At the end of the Roger Rabbit Short "Tummy Trouble", Roger does a Wild Take and faints at the sight of his hospital bill.
- The Classic Disney Short "The Trial of Donald Duck" has Donald going into a fancy restaurant to get away from the rain and orders a small cup of coffee. After being served a thimble-sized cup, he gets angry and decides to eat his packed lunch at the table. The maitre'd is outraged, so he decides to charge Donald for his own lunch. Unable to pay the bill with the one nickel he has on his person, he is sentenced to pay it off washing dishes... a decision the maitre'd regrets after he breaks most of the restaurant's flatware in the process.
- In the Mickey Mouse Works short "Donald's Dinner Date", Donald takes Daisy on a date with the promise of keeping his temper under control. In the end he does manage to do so, even at the hands of Goofy as his waiter, but Daisy winds up losing her cool over how Goofy handled their service, despite Donald trying to console her. After Goofy hands him the bill however, which simply shows the total as "REALLY Expensive!", he too loses his cool.
- In another "Mouse Works" short, "How To Wash Dishes", Goofy becomes tired of his same old job as a dishwasher, so he decides to go on vacation with the help of a narrator—and a shiny new credit card! The entire short shows him going on vaaction including buying plane tickets, clothes, and souvenirs all with his credit card, to which he simply tells the person involved in the co-payment to "Charge it!" As the short ends, he is dining at a fancy restaurant when his credit card is declined due to a racked up bill, leaving him back at square one working off the debt by washing dishes.
- Super Mario World: In "Rock TV", Luigi reminds Mario of "the trouble we got into with that 'Speak to Santa' hotline", where they managed to rack up a phone bill of $1,295.31.
- In the second episode of Birdz, Eddie runs up a nine gazillion dollar charge on his father's credit card buying gifts for his friends.
- In "To Beak or Not to Beak", the bill for Eddie's beak surgery is "$$$ A LOT".
- The Looney Tunes short "Porky Pig's Feat" had Porky Pig and Daffy Duck being stuck with a huge bill after staying in a fancy hotel. (The situation wasn't helped by Daffy gambling away their cash either). They frantically try to fight off the hotel manager and run out on the bill, but are eventually caught for good and confined to their room until they can pay off the debt. A few weeks later, they get the bright idea to call Bugs Bunny and see if he can give them any advice, only to reveal that Bugs is confined to a nearby room himself!
- In My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "Labor Day", Jenny has an accident that wrecks half of Tremorton. Sky Patrol sends Mrs. Wakeman the bill for the damages, which is totaled to;
Mrs. Wakeman: Three hundred million dollars?! That's a lot of zeroes!Sky Patrol officer: We'll mail you the rest of the zeroes on the separate cover!
- In one episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Pleakly discovers credit cards but doesn't realize that they have to be paid off later. At the end of the episode, Nani presents him with all the bills that have arrived for him.
Pleakly: Is that a balance due or an intergalactic zip code!?
- Taken to a ridiculous extreme in the cartoon, "Whining Out" from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Life in the 90's". After tying down the waiter to get some service at a very snooty restaurant, Buster, Babs, Plucky, and Hamton each end up getting a tiny stale piece of cheese in gravy, which costs them "Everything you own and first born". They pay the bill using Montana Max's student I.D.
- On King of the Hill, Hank received a $900 army haircut bill when Bill cuts his hair at the base after Hank's barber went insane. He wrote a letter to his congressman in response. The Army gave him a $3900 check and a crystal as a percentage share of eliminating government waste resulting Bill losing his job.
- This happens to Mighty Mouse in one episode of Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, when he gets a doctor's bill.
Mighty Mouse: EIGHT...HUNDRED...DOLLARS?!!
- South Park episode has this when Stan was repeatedly yelled at by his dad for spending in-app purchases on a Terrance and Phillip Freemium mobile game and develops an addiction becoming like his grandfather.
- In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Sperg goes to the hospital for a horrible case of acne and Dr. Ted is otherwise completely ineffective at doing anything about it, giving him a paper bag to hide his face. After spending the episode trying to get rid of the acne by rubbing his face with Grim's bones after a mystic tells him to, Sperg gets rid of it with Billy's caustic batch of stew, which also causes his mouth to disappear. Dr. Ted assumes the bag worked and charges him $16,000.
- The FCC has noted that, due to the complexity of mobile phone plans, 17% of customers have experienced a "Bill Shock" at some point. The highest value complaint to the FCC in the first half of 2010 was in the amount of $68505.
- A woman in Florida got a cell phone bill for over $200,000 after spending two weeks in Canada. It was later reduced to $2,500.
- A woman in France received a rather substantial phone bill of 11,721,000,000,000,000€ (5,000 times the GDP of France itself). The phone company was kind enough to allow payment in multiple installments. It was then revealed to be in error—she actually owed only 117.21€, 0.000 000 000 001% of the original bill.
- In Finland, traffic tickets can sometimes be tied to the offender's income, in order to ensure that the ultra-rich don't ignore traffic laws because they know they can afford it. One Nokia executive was hit with a $100,000 ticket for driving 15kph over the limit. Given the above example, this is kind of hilarious.
- More than a few people traveling to other countries might experience sticker shock if they forget to take their exchange rates into account. For instance, 5 (HK) bucks for a soda isn't so unreasonable a price when you remember that that is about 63 cents US.
- Becomes a great deal more extreme when a country has recently experienced a currency crisis. In the early years of this century, people used to joke that the quickest way to become a millionaire was to change one British pound into Turkish lira. note To continue the lira theme, Italians before the introduction of the euro would routinely expect to be paid multi-million-lira salaries, since the lira was worth so little - one or two thousand were equivalent to one dollar/ pound/ deutschmark.
- After the parents of a 8-year old girl let her play the game Smurfs' Village on their iPhone, she bought $1,400 worth of Smurfberries in the game. The girl did not realize that the in-game purchases were in real money and the parents did not know that the game would let her make the purchases for 15 minutes after they last used their account password without prompting for the password again. The publisher Capcom Games and Apple received many similar complaints about this issue from parents seeing $100+ bills on their accounts.
- In a related example, this wildly irresponsible child spent over 1000 pounds sterling on his Xbox then blamed Microsoft.
- A pretty common scam in a lot of countries. Cute girls find a foreigner (as all foreigners are rich!), invite him to a tea ceremony, and the final bill ends up being relatively expensive. The scammers pay as well (although they get their money refunded after the sucker leaves).
- In a similar vein; Bottle bars. Upon entering a bar, the guest will be joined by several pretty girls who coax him into ordering as many bottles of wine, champagne and whatnot. When it comes time to pay, the bottles turn out to cost well into the triple digits and some large men arrive to "protect you" while you get the money from a nearby ATM.
- Comes up a story every once a while for local news stations on slow news days - an expose featuring a utility customer who received a huge bill by mistake, be it for water, electricity, etc. Heck, with 90+ minutes to fill on some of these stations, it may come up at some point even on a day when there's plenty of real news to cover.
- The once-ubiquitous advertisements for mobile content provider Jamster are criticized for being misleading in that its content is provided as a monthly subscription despite the ads making it seem that customers are buying one-off ringtones or wallpapers. A British girl ran up 70 pounds (around US$100) just from ordering said content.
- Not Always Right has a few instances of this as well. One entry in the Laser-Guided Karma section of the page has a customer who for all intents and purposes should have expected that to happen, because she'd only bought a few free minutes because she'd trusted her teenage girls with phones and they were "responsible adults." Cue her coming back in a few weeks later to get the charges (which were about 500 dollars each) taken off her bill, throwing a fit when they wouldn't (including smashing the phone when she threw it at the worker) then very nearly tearing the front of her brand-new, expensive car off by hitting a streetlight as she had attempted to angrily drive away.
- It can be very easy to buy things on smartphones and other mobile devices it by using in-app purchases, especially when dealing with Freemium models, games that employ Bribing Your Way to Victory, and of course the everpresent Allegedly Free Game. Moreover, you can buy this "stuff" with in-app purchases without getting a prompt—which means that a lot of parents have been burned when they let their kids play games on their phones, who proceeded to buy insane amounts of game stuff without realizing they were spending real money. Their parents' real money. Naturally, Apple gave them refunds...eventually, after the threat of an expensive Federal Trade Commission enforcement action.
- A patron at a Bobby Flay restaurant asked the waitress to recommend a bottle of wine since he had no experience with wine. She pointed out a bottle and said it cost thirty-seven fifty. When the patron got his bill he found out that it was $3,750 not $37.50 he expected.
- Some patrons not accustomed to restaurants where a gratuity is automatically added to the check may be shocked when they see the additional 20% on their check. This is especially true for large groups where the gratuity can easily exceed the value of any single dish served. One incident of this involved the customers arguing to have the gratuity removed only to leave a tip that was larger than the original gratuity.