Diners at a restaurant in Italy were appalled after they were charged $2 for an empty plate so their daughter could try the food. The restaurant’s owner defended the charge, claiming it’s fair because more plates to clean means more work to do.
The Owner Defended the Charge
The restaurant in question is called Osteria del Cavolo and is situated in Finale Ligure. Ida Germano, the owner of the establishment, told The Times that the charge was fair and valid because if more plates were used, more cleaning would need to be done, which – in the long run – would mean more money spent by the business.
Covering Dishwashing Costs
Germano said: “‘They ordered only one plate of trofie with pesto and one of fried anchovies and they asked for two saucers to share for both. So they had four saucers in all, not one, and we only charged for one because we pay for the dishwasher and the dishwashing too.”
This Isn’t Italy’s First Restaurant Price Scandal
This is far from Italy’s first restaurant price scandal. In a similar event at a different restaurant, a couple were charged €1.50 for an extra teaspoon. Around the same time, a bar at Lake Como sparked outrage by charging customers an extra €2 to cut their sandwiches in half.
The Owner Hit Back
The owner of the Lake Como bar, who has not been named, hit back at the outrage. They said: “If a customer asks me to make two portions of toast, I have to use two saucers, two napkins, and go to the table using two hands. Additional requests have a cost.”
Online Commenters Shared Their Thoughts
The stories were shared across social media and people discussed the ethical implications of restaurants charging for such basic requests. One person wrote: “Different quirks in different countries, with ‘universal greed’ written all over it in this case. At least it wasn’t much. I’m a frequent visitor to Italy and have never had any charge that would surprise me.”
Tourists Should Always Read Reviews
Some commenters didn’t understand why someone wouldn’t look at reviews before going to a restaurant. “People should read reviews before they stay or eat out anywhere. I do,” one person wrote. “It’s not always convenient or even possible for small places, especially in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes you aren’t even sure of the name and sometimes there isn’t much choice. Even the most careful person can get conned or mistreated,” another hit back.
It’s the Way It Is
Some frequent travelers disagreed with the aforementioned individual. One person wrote: “I travel a lot on a very, very tiny budget. Tourists should always look at reviews. Always. Especially in touristy places where scams are more common. Every now and then it’s not possible to check first – but it almost always is. If you don’t, you will eventually be scammed in any touristy place. Unfortunately, it’s the way it is.”
A Website to Name and Shame Restaurants
Some online commenters suggested creating a website to list all restaurants that have such charges. One individual wrote: “The worst thing about this is I very much doubt the Italian authorities care about these cons. If you’re just wandering around and need to sit down, it can be too time-consuming to check reviews, especially if you’re just looking for a coffee and a sandwich. There should be a website that lists all these awful businesses.”
Commenters Called the Charges a Scam
Naturally, a plethora of commenters accused the restaurants of scamming customers. “Surely it doesn’t cost an entire €2 to wash one small plate? Scam,” one person wrote. “Sounds like a basic tourist scam to me. They don’t think tourists will realize because the receipt is written in Italian,” another said. “Sounds like a huge scam. If I ever go to Italy, I’ll remember to never ask for anything ever,” a third said.
A Few Said the Charges Are Fair
The vast majority of online commenters didn’t agree with the questionable charges but, despite the uproar, one or two claimed they were fair. “This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion but I think this is okay. It’s an extra service. Maybe it could be a bit cheaper though,” one person wrote.
Others Struggled to Keep Their Emotions Under Control
Some online commenters were a bit more emotional in their responses. “Disgusting scam. Restaurants should be shut down for scams like this,” one person wrote. “So she thinks she can charge more because it’s more work? Welcome to the real world. Work is work and it’s hard. Sometimes you have to do a bit more for a bit less,” another said.
Some Commenters Were Concerned
Given that events like this keep occurring, a fair few commenters were concerned. “I’m so confused. How does washing one extra place cost that much? That alone proves this is about greed, not covering dishwashing costs. I could sort of get it if they kept asking for loads and loads of free stuff – but they didn’t. I keep seeing more and more things like this. It’s worrying,” one individual said.
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