In Hong Kong last month Euromoney enjoyed a slap-up lunch with a head of investment banking, a chief operating officer and a senior press officer from a large Wall Street bank. We were invited to order anything on the menu and even broke our usual strict and complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages to enjoy a particularly fine Pinot Noir.
At 2pm, the head of investment banking excused himself to attend a meeting back at the office. The COO said he would stay, which he did. At 2.15pm, though, he also left and paid the bill on the way out. Or so we thought.
As Euromoney and the press officer left, an excited waitress came chasing after us demanding we pay said bill. The press officer did not have a credit card perhaps this particular bank doesnt issue these to its own employees, instead issuing them to just about anyone in China.
So Euromoney got stuck with the bill which we paid, albeit grudgingly and with no trace of good grace on our part. The flash new automated expenses system here at Euromoney HQ is thought to have crashed when an attempt was made to put the bill through.
Weve heard of there being no such thing as a free lunch, but this takes the ludicrously expensive biscuit.