“Specified cast is not valid” accessing a DataReader

I was expecting a double from the database , and I had some simple code to place it into a variable:

double total = double.Parse(reader["total"].ToString());

I received a “Specified cast is not valid” exception. But looking at the value being returned from the database, it wasn’t null, and the value looked like a good double to me. More digits to the right of the decimal place that I had seen with the other doubles, but that’s it. I found a way around it by using the DataReader.GetOrdinal method:

double total = double.Parse(reader.GetOrdinal("total").ToString());
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