Oh France. How I love it. The nation of croissants and croque madames and crème brûlé. Also berets and the home of Sartre, but as neither of those things is edible (and one is a human man), I will mention them no more. One of the biggest cliches about the French is that -- when pressed -- they can serve up some major attitude. But hey, don't we all from time to time?
I've definitely noticed that my own patience can be in short supply. Especially when I'm in a rush and doing something like ordering a cup of coffee -- but because I'm civilized and rational, I keep it in check. It's easy to cave into our bad tempers and snap at the people helping us -- but just because it's easy, that doesn't make it right. One cafe in France was sick of rude customers, so they hit them where it hurt.
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After a glut of particularly rude lunchtime patrons started mistreating servers at this small cafe in Nice, its owner decided to make it clear that bad manners can only hurt. He changed the prices of his coffee to reflect how the customers behaved. If you just walked in and said "coffee," you were going to pay a hell of a lot more than the people who walked in and said, "Good day, may I please have a cup of coffee?"
The gentle and funny correction was really well-received by patrons. The customers all took the change in stride. Many of his regulars praised the owner for taking this step. The owner himself says he hasn't had to charge anyone more for rudeness -- so the message has been received.
While this is hilarious, it's kind of sad that people need to be reminded to treat each other decently. It's like Bill and Ted said: Be Excellent to Each Other. Sadly, I'd also know some folks happy to pay more to keep being rude. That said, I can think of at least eight places I go to pretty regularly that could definitely make a small fortune by implementing this change.
Do you think this policy is fair?
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