Have you found coffee in France to be incredibly overpriced? Was your last meal outrageously expensive? It might be because of how you asked for it.
It turns out that waiters have been empowered in the country to charge customers more, or less, depending on how rude or polite they are when asking for food or interacting with staff. Though this is not an official policy, it has been in effect in restaurants all over the country and is quickly becoming more widespread.
According to an article in the Independent, a restaurant in Nice has been doing this since 2013. The wait staff was sick of people coming in and rudely asking for coffee during lunch, so they started penalizing them. Just asking for a coffee will cost you 7€, adding a "please" to the request lowers the price to 4.25€, and beginning the entire interaction with a "hello" and finishing with a "please" will get you your coffee for a low 1.40€!
Of course, many are saying that this is just a tricky way of charging tourists more — especially those of us who come from countries where there is a "the customer is always right" mentality. And, because the idea is starting to spread, it is starting to cause some serious debate.
But, these types of policies aren't really that strange in France. Apparently the French grab-and-go chain Pret A Manger allows staff to give out free food and drinks to customers that they find polite or attractive. (No more running out for a coffee in your pajamas!)
Whether this type of policy will become the norm in every eating establishment across the country is yet to be seen. In the meantime, if you want to save some money on your next trip to France, don't forget to say "bonjour" and "s'il vous plait" when ordering your cappuccino!