AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

In some French coffee shops, rude customers are charged more than polite ones.

Are you a jerk to baristas? You’re gonna pay, monsieur. Some cafés in Grenoble and Nice threaten to add a surcharge for customers' rude moves, Grubstreet recently reported.

At least two coffee houses have adopted a sliding scale for uncivil behavior, The Times reports. If you bark your order and skip the pleasantries, it will cost at least €0.50 more than if you’d thrown in a bonjour and some small talk.

It’s not the first time diners and restaurant workers have butted heads over etiquette questions in France. In January, some diners in Paris confessed to shrinking under withering side-eye glares from servers judging them for asking for takeout containers and to-go bags. The country has launched a campaign to encourage customers to take home leftovers in an effort to reduce food waste.

Actually, the owner of the one of the cafés explained to The Local in 2013 that the sliding scale is at least partially tongue-in-cheek. He hung a hand-scribbled sign advertising drinks for €7 if a customer simply demanded “un café”; the price was a less eye-popping €1.40 for anyone who requested “un café, s’il vous plaît.” The owner told The Local:

“Most of my customers are regulars and they just see the funny side and exaggerate their politeness,” he said, adding: “They started calling me 'your greatness' when they saw the sign."

So, it seems the sign isn’t so much a harbinger of an expensive trend, but a silly-and-pointed reminder to treat service workers like human beings. (No one should need this reminder. But baristas’ tales of customer antics are enough to spawn an entire Internet genre.) In any case, it seems wise to err on the side of groveling when the barista stands between you and your morning jolt.

H/t Grubstreet

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.
    Transportation

    Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

    In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

  2. A view of a Harlem corner.
    Equity

    How Ronald Reagan Halted the Early Anti-Gentrification Movement

    An excerpt from Newcomers, a new book by Matthew L. Schuerman, documents the early history of the anti-gentrification and back-to-the-city movements.

  3. photo: A metro train at Paris' Gare Du Nord.
    Transportation

    Can the Paris Metro Make Room for More Riders?

    The good news: Transit ridership is booming in the French capital. But severe crowding now has authorities searching for short-term solutions.

  4. photo: Mayor Luigi Brugnaro walks on St Mark's Square as exceptionally high tidal flooding engulfed the city.
    Environment

    Its Flood Barrier Unfinished, Venice Submerges Under a Record Tide

    Seasonal acqua alta reached the highest level since 1966, leaving two dead and devastating damage. The city’s ambitious flood barrier isn’t ready yet.

  5. a bike rider and bus riders in Seattle.
    Perspective

    There’s No App for Getting People Out of Their Cars

    “Mobility as a Service” boosters say that technology can nudge drivers to adopt transit and micromobility. But big mode shifts will take more than a cool app.  

×