Politeness Goes a Long Way at French Café That Charges Extra for Rudeness

The French aren’t exactly world-famous for being polite, which is why I was quite surprised when I read about this. A French Café is actually charging customers extra for being rude to its staff, and offering discounts to those who are nice.

The Petite Syrah Café, located in the French Riviera city of Nice, has the new pricing scheme on display. If you walk in and simply ask for “A coffee,” you will be charged €7 ($9.5). For “A coffee please,” the price is much lower – €4.25 ($6). And if you decide to go the distance and say, “Hello, a coffee please,” that will make the folks at the Petite Syrah so happy they’ll only charge you €1.40 ($2).

The concept is so awesome – I think it’s a win-win. I’m sure the patrons love $2 coffees; they’d keep coming back for more and be polite each time. It’s great for business and makes a nice work environment, so the staff at the café must be happy too.


Photo: Fabrice Pepino

Manager Fabrice Pepino says that they never took the idea very seriously. “It started as a joke because at lunchtime people would come in very stressed and were sometimes rude to us when they ordered a coffee.”

“I know people say that French service can be rude,” says Pepino. “But it’s also true that customers can be rude when they’re busy. It’s our way of saying keep calm and carry on.” Fortunately, the café has never had to enforce the behavior-based pricing scheme. Ever since the board went up, so has the customers’ politeness. Regular patrons at the café find it amusing.


Photo: La Petite Syrah

“Most of my customers are regulars and they just see the funny side and exaggerate their politeness,” Pepino says. “They started calling me ‘your greatness’ when they saw the sign.”

But he does admit that the sign has helped customers become more relaxed and smile more often. “That’s the most important thing.” It is, indeed.

via NBC News

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