Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

There's maddening. There's infuriating.

And then there are those occasional occurrences that make you stop, lie down and wonder whether you should ever get up again.

This is the story of 37-year-old Olesja Schemjakowa. 

She went with her son to the New Point cafe in Dietikon, near Zurich for a coffee and a cake.

She ended up with what she says is an injustice and a headache.

As Switzerland's Blick reports, she paid the bill with her credit card. It was $23.70 Swiss Francs, which is pretty much the same amount in dollars.

But, instead of calculating the tip and adding it, she inadvertently typed in her four-digit passcode.

So the bill totaled 7709.70 Swiss Francs. (I know you've already worked out the dollar equivalent.)

It wasn't until Schemjakowa -- who's a Russian living in Mulhouse, France -- got her credit card bill that she realized what she'd done.

Naturally, she called her credit card company.

Equally naturally, the credit card company said it could do nothing because there was no fraud involved.

She tried the Swiss police. There, she found the same problem. What was the crime?

What was left to do? She contacted the cafe.

The owner was apparently most accommodating. Yes, of course he'd give her the grossly inflated tip back.

He didn't, she says.

Instead, he allegedly filed for bankruptcy and apparently disappeared. 

Of course, some will say it's Schemjakowa's own fault. Who types in their passcode instead of a tip? Wasn't she looking at what she was doing? 

It's not as if the figures are even close.

And didn't she at least catch a glimpse of the ridiculous final figure?

It's impossible to know whether her transaction had anything specifically to do with the cafe's closure.

But put yourself in the shoes of this small businessman.

He's suddenly landed a windfall. Revenue, perhaps, beyond his wildest dreams. And he's come about it in a way that's not strictly illegal. (At least that's how it appears.)

Could it be that he thought: "I need to keep this money" and decided that bankruptcy was the best way out?

It's certainly an awful temptation, one that not every businessperson would resist. (And no, I'm not saying that's a good thing.)

Or perhaps he merely thought he'd offered exceptional service that day.

I wonder if he'll set up in business again. And I wonder if he'll have the same kind of luck.

There may be those who hope he doesn't.

Published on: May 3, 2018