Chones>/Shutterstock

Chones>/Shutterstock

This is the online edition of Elliott’s E-Mail, my free weekly newsletter. Please join me Monday morning for The Christopher Elliott Show, an irreverent half-hour conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Tune in to the hashtag #elliottshow at 11 a.m. Our topic: Hotel minibar horror stories! At 11:30 a.m., I’ll do a live YouTube broadcast, which will be archived on my channel.

□ BECOME THE WORLD’S SMARTEST TRAVELER

Wanna become the world’s smartest traveler? I know you do. Then do this now: Pre-order my new book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of the travel industry and save lots of time and money. Here’s my official announcement of the book project. By the way, next Monday I’m going to drop a bombshell. I can’t wait to tell you about it!

□ THANK YOU!

Many thanks to all of you, dear readers, who helped support this website during our June fundraiser. There’s still time to become an underwriter and join a long list of brave consumers who have joined the fight. You’re the best!

□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?

What should we do about the hotel minibar?
The hotel minibar is marketed as a convenience and amenity at many full-service hotels, portrayed as a “necessary” part of a sophisticated lodging experience. That’s not always true. Minibars have long been a drain on our expense accounts. The latest models are so sophisticated that moving them in any way — even bumping up against them — can trigger an erroneous billing. Do you wish these “amenities” would go away, or do you like having a selection of beverages and snacks in your hotel room? Tell me your minibar story. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.

Let’s talk!
The stories you see in this newsletter are just a starting point. I hope you’ll take a minute to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with something I’ve written. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. I’m listening. And of course, I’m also here if you need me.

□ POSTS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

How to Break Through a Customer Service Script
Talk to me. That’s all customers like you want when they call a company. They want someone to talk to them. But corporations don’t always talk back. Read more in my Mint.com column.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever fed your kids?
Is feeding your child French fries twice a day, five days in a row, a form of child abuse? When you’re on vacation, you start to wonder. I mean, who serves deep-fried potato wedges at home? But on the road, almost every meal comes with a side of fries or chips. Even breakfast. Get the details on our family travel blog, Away is Home.

A mostly true fish story with a truly unfortunate ending
Michael Patterson’s fish story is true. At least that what he says.
Somewhere between Orlando and San Jose, Costa Rica, Spirit Airlines lost a fiberglass fish mount in his checked bag that belonged to his late father. That is a fact. (Oh I know, some of you have already sniffed, “Spirit!” But give ‘em a chance, will you?) Find out how this fish story ends.

Hey United, there are two Charlestons — learn to tell ‘em apart
Don’t get your Charlestons confused. United Airlines did, and look at where it got Mo Shah and his family. I’m not sure if his problem, which involves a series of unfortunate events at the airport leading to an abbreviated anniversary celebration, is fixable. But there’s plenty to learn for those of us watching from the sidelines.

□ MY PARTING SHOT

Believe me, that surprise I have for you next week — it’s worth waiting for. You’re gonna love it.