Rude Customers

French Cafés Are Charging Extra for Rude Behavior

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“I demanded two croissants!” Photo: Wavebreakmedia/Corbis

Cafés in France are so sick of people forgetting their manners, they’ve started adding up-charges to their menus for rude behavior. Order your café au lait with a simple bonjour and s’il vous plaît, and it could save you as much as 80 percent at coffee shops that have formally enshrined this pricing system that, in terms of karma, sounds delightful (though maybe legally problematic?). While very discreetly penalizing rude customers is a timeworn practice in the industry, the Times of London says at least two gutsier spots are punitively trying to reintroduce civility into French café culture out in the open. L’Hamburgé in Grenoble, France, has coffee prices that range from €1.50 (for barbarians) down to €1 (for nice, polite customers). La Petite Syrah in Nice, meanwhile, prices its coffee by what might be called tall, grande, and venti levels of rude: It’s €7 if the customer declares, “Coffee.” But that same cup drops to €4.25 if the person says, “A coffee, please,” and then to a quite reasonable €1.40 if ordered with a “Hello, a coffee, please.” While pain-in-the-ass customers deserve what they have coming, the Times predictably notes the price tiers are “generating intense debate.” Fair’s only fair: French servers shouldn’t forget that they’ve carefully crafted a reputation as the scourge of restaurant guests, so maybe this pricing structure can cut both ways.

[Times UK]

French Cafes Charging Extra for Rudeness