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.
Don’t miss anything from Open Culture. Sign up for our Daily Email orRSS Feed. And we’ll send quality culture your way, every day.
Illustrated Etiquette Guide Explains How to Ride the Paris Metro in a Civilized Way
Men In Commercials Being Jerks About Coffee: A Mashup of 1950s & 1960s TV Ads
The (Beautiful) Physics of Adding Cream to Your Coffee
Honoré de Balzac Writes About “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee,” and His Epic Coffee Addiction
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.
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!