French Café Adds Extra Charge for Rude Customers

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A couple of days ago, we highlighted a delightfully Illustrated Etiquette Guide Explaining How to Ride the Paris Metro in a Civilized Way. It comes to you courtesy of the RATP, the government organization that makes the subways and trains run in Paris (sometimes on time).

Let’s now head 600 miles south, to the Riviera city of Nice, where some café owners opted for another way to keep bad behavior in check. At the Petite Syrah, they’ve implemented a simple pricing scheme that works like this:

If you ask for “a coffee” (it’s most likely an espresso), it will run you 7 euros, or $9.50.

If you ask for a “coffee please,” the charge drops to €4.25/$5.80.

But if you start your order by saying “Hello, may I have a coffee, please,” the bill becomes a manageable €1.40.

Now, truth be told, the pricing scheme is more carrot than stick. The café’s manager readily admits that he has never actually charged any of the punitive higher prices. But that’s not to say that the scheme doesn’t work. According to manager/owner Fabrice Pepino, regular customers quickly took note of the sign and began to “say, ‘Hello, your highness, will you serve me one of your beautiful coffees.” Eh voilà, no more coffee jerks.

via Kottke/The Local

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  1. GeorgeLCSmith says . . . | December 19, 2013 / 2:26 pm

    Things must be different on the Riviera. In Paris, rudeness has been promoted almost to an art form. We Americans think that Parisians are rude to us, but they are just as rude to each other. I don’t know what might hapen in Paris if people bring good manners home from the Riviera.

  2. Martin says . . . | December 20, 2013 / 7:24 am

    La Chope du Chateau-Rouge, a Parisian institution that instigated free couscous on Fridays 20 years ago (which was hugely sucessful and was imitated all over town), has had a crazy coffee pricing on the blackboard, so they can ask 8 euros to the customers they dislike. The owner and waiters are super nice so I always loved that they would do that. If you’re nice you’re more likely to be offered a beer than charged 8 euros for an espresso!

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