All aflutter over $3,127 king crab

Rectified: The voided bill (right) and the reprinted correction for Alaskan king crab.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

GEORGE TOWN: Seafood dinners can set you back a tidy sum, but a live Alaskan king crab costing RM9,636 (S$3,127) seemed so excessive that word spread far and wide on social media.

A picture of a restaurant bill for RM11,578.40, including the "pricey" crab, was copied and shared thousands of times on phone messaging groups and other platforms.

It even sparked online debates on issues ranging from the economy to the excesses of the wealthy, inflation and the value of the ringgit to politics.

But all that sound and fury since Saturday was over a cashier's honest mistake.

The 2.2kg crab was actually priced at RM963. In the dinner hour rush, the cashier accidentally keyed it in as RM9,636.

The error was spotted almost immediately and a new bill was issued, but not before the voided bill was given to the customer, who took a photo of it and shared it on Facebook.

It went viral almost instantly, minus the true picture. The correct bill was for RM1,465.70.

The restaurant, Crab & Lobster in Straits Quay, sent photos of both the voided and correct bills to The Star yesterday to clarify the matter.

"As you can see from the times printed on the receipts, the mistake was corrected right away.

"We hope people will stop spreading misleading information," said a member of the restaurant's management, who declined to be named.

The Star's law columnist Bhag Singh, in his weekly column Law for everyone, had stated that businesses aggrieved in a manner such as Crab & Lobster could sue for damages under malicious falsehood, slander of title and slander of goods.