Spanish Café Charges Customers More If They Are Rude To Staff

Published September 2, 2016
Updated February 10, 2017
Published September 2, 2016
Updated February 10, 2017
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If you’re not nice, you pay the price.

That seems to be the guiding maxim behind a Spanish cafe’s new policy of charging customers more if they are rude when ordering.

Located in eastern Spain in the province of Girona, restaurant Blau Grifeu operates a pricing scheme where degree of politeness and coffee prices are negatively correlated.

For instance, “rude” customers — those who simply demand a coffee — pay five euros. If a customer says “please,” they pay three euros. And if a customer greets the owner with a “Buenos días, un café, por favor,” she or he will only pay 1.30 euros.

According to El País, the idea came to restaurant owner Marisel Valencia Madrid when she was speaking with a customer about “rude people who don’t know how to ask for things.”

When thinking about how to fix the problem, the customer told her about a restaurant in Paris that charged customers more for their coffee if they were rude, and less if they were polite.

Forty-one-year-old Valencia Madrid apparently liked the idea, as she took those rules and posted them outside the restaurant around two months ago, and has applied them ever since:


Restaurant Blau Grifeu/El PaísThe new rules at Blau Grifeu.

Of course, as El País writes, restaurant staff always charge 1.30 euros for a coffee. Still, the sign has achieved its behavior-shaping function, Valencia Madrid says.

Indeed, the owner says she sees more smiles in her establishment, and that people in general are kinder to the waitstaff — something which Valencia Madrid says she sees often in her native country of Colombia, but not enough of in Spain.

“People seem to be in a rush these days and forgetting to say ‘please’ when they ask for something,” she said. But “with kindness you always get more things.”

Next, learn about coffee’s mythical origin story.