'When we woke up, there was smoke': $10 000 lost in another money mishap

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"She fell asleep and forgot to switch off the reading lights. When we woke up, there was smoke and the smell of money burning." Photo: Zohre Nemati/ Unsplash
"She fell asleep and forgot to switch off the reading lights. When we woke up, there was smoke and the smell of money burning." Photo: Zohre Nemati/ Unsplash

We recently read, shocked, about the businessman who hid his investment money from his wife in their oven, which she promptly switched on, scorching thousands of rands worth of Egyptian cash. 

But it turns out it's happened before, to an Australian man who also thought the family oven was a good spot to stash the cash from the sale of his beloved sportscar. In this instance he lost the equivalent of R167 000. 

Must see: R350 000 up in smoke because his wife turned the oven on for dinner 

But would you believe us if we told you it's happened a third time? 

A reader mailed us this week to share the story of how his girlfriend accidently set $10 000 alight, although in this case, it wasn't an oven, but a lampshade that caused the blaze.

Read his story here: 

"In 2004 I travelled from Zambia to Johannesburg on a business trip. I arrived in Johannesburg with my girlfriend and booked at a local hotel, a not so good or safe hotel.

So I was in the room thinking and searching for a safe place to hide the cash within the room without my girlfriend knowing the area.

That was so because should we get attacked in the room by robbers; I would pretend I didn't have money, and my girlfriend won't give up the cash because she wouldn't know I was hiding the money in the room also, she didn't even know I had $10 000 on me, for security reasons.

I eventually saw that there were two big beds in our room arrangement. Both had two big lamp shades on each side. We were using only one bed as a couple. So I knew inside those lampshades was the place to hide the money.


So I waited until my girlfriend went for a shower, I quickly unscrewed the two bedside lampshades, put $5000 in each, then screwed them back, and I was done and felt safe.

At that stage, I felt free and safe to go to a nearby nightclub and have some drinks, which I did. I came back late and very drunk, straight to bed, and I was fast asleep.

She got upset with me and went to sleep on another bed. When she couldn't sleep, she took out a book and switched on the bedside reading lights, with the money hidden in the lampshades. She fell asleep and forgot to switch off the reading lights.

When we woke up, there was smoke and the smell of money burning slowly...

I tried to have it changed both in South Africa and Zambia, but they couldn't take it, and that's how I lost it all." 

Has something like this ever happened to you? Let us know! 

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