French Café Charges Extra for Rudeness

A café in Nice, France, has a sign charging brusque customers five times more for a cup of coffee than customers who say hello and please. How funny is that? “Most of my customers are regulars and they just see the funny side and exaggerate their politeness,” says the manager. “They started calling me ‘your greatness’ when they saw the sign.”

I worked at a coffee shop for four years in college, and this would have been awesome! My pet peeve is when people say, “Gimme a…” instead of “Please may I have”!

P.S. French waiters are trying to be more polite, too.

(Photo by @tokai06, via Kottke)

  1. The Coffee Nazis are alive and well and living in France!

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  3. Haha this is brilliant!

  4. I used to work at Starbucks for a few years and we really could have benefited from a sign like that! “Gimme” and “I NEED a…” were my biggest pet peeves. Rude people always got decaf. Terrible people would get scalded milk.

  5. I love this so much! Thanks for sharing! My husband and I are big sticklers (is that an old person word or what) for manners. Our kids pretty much know they won’t get far with us without using please. Sometimes when their friends are over and ask for something without saying it, my husband will refuse to oblige. He won’t even give them a hint that they need to ask please… sometimes the kids or I will clue the friends in.

  6. Same here! I once had a long Facebook discussion about this same pet peeve. Gimme is the worst way to begin, what should be, a request! But it was interesting to see what people did find acceptable i.e. “can I have please?” v. “may I please have?” etc.

  7. I think this might be good here too – the amount of people that just don’t seem to have manners anymore makes me a bit sad.

    I am glad to have moved somewhere smaller where the majority of people still smile and say hello in the street and would probably (hopefully) never dream of not saying please and thank you in shops and cafes.


  8. jm says...

    OMG, my husband says, “I’ll take a…” instead of “Please may I have..” It drives me crazy!!!

  9. . says...

    I think anyone working in customer service would appreciate this. It’s a shame to frequently see adults teaching their children to say their please and thank you but forget to do so themselves.
    Love it! :D

  10. oh dear. i worked at starbucks to make my way through college, and i completely agree. i’ll never forget the man who always came in, made it a point to lean over the counter to make sure i always put his SEVEN… yes SEVEN pumps of syrup in his iced coffee. if it wasn’t seven full pumps, he would always tell you in a very impolite manner that you did your job wrong.

    xo jenna
    sweet grace

  11. I’m working in Sweden right now in retail and people will come up and say du (you in Swedish) and then carry on with their question, it feels so weird to be called you! I feel like saying, I have a name! I’d much rather they went with excuse me.

  12. So funny!! I worked in a bakery in high school and it made me hate the word “GIMME”! To the point that now, in school, I make all of my students begin a sentence again if they say, “gimme”.

  13. @anniecardi, I’ve had similar experiences! I try to be extra-friendly to retail staff this time of year, and I’ve sometimes caught them off-guard by asking how they’re doing. It’s also funny, because I’m usually the one greeting the Target check out person; they’re made of stone, I tell you!

    I also agree about the cell phone. When I waited tables, I wouldn’t greet a table until they were off of their phone (and it’s even more annoying in retail when they’re checking out).

  14. I just love this! It would never work here in London, we struggle with how anti-chatty the staff are! I didn’t realise how friendly Australian’s are until we left! My poor little baby spent two months in the US/Australia and then came back to London and when she waved goodbye to the tellers, they just ignored her… she got so sad!!! Being polite doesn’t cost a thing!! xx

  15. This is brilliant. I’d love a sign like this in my own kitchen :-) Can you imagine how nice the world would be if we all just treated each other a little bit nicer?

  16. This is brilliant. I’d love a sign like this in my own kitchen :-) Can you imagine how nice the world would be if we all just treated each other a little bit nicer?

  17. Oh that’s my pet peeve too! Or when people say ‘I’ll get a…’ or ‘I’ll have a…’

    So rude.

  18. Saying “I’ll have” or “I’ll take” or even “Can I have?” are pet peeves of mine too! It’s “May I have?”. Remember it ladies and gentlemen.

  19. Oh what I would give to hang this in my restaurant!

  20. What annoys me is when people say, “I need…” instead of “may I please have”

  21. The cafe behind my apartment in Florence had the same sign in Italian. It always made me smile (and remember my por favore & grazie).

  22. I love this! Rudeness is so unnecessary. I despise people who have no manners.

  23. How interesting! I wonder if they’ve ever had to actual enforce it or if it is just there as a “warning” or recommendation of sorts. I’ve always been a “please and thank you” girl though, thank to my mom (:

  24. I currently work at a coffee shop and that totally drives me nuts, too! “Gimme a…” Ugh! Sure, if YOU gimme some manners!
    If the person on register calls a drink to our barista and it’s followed by a “we need that pronto,” i’s a code for this person is a jerk, make it decaf!

  25. From Nice, to you
    First, let me say that I LOVE your blog. I spent three years in Philly, I enjoyed New York a lot! Reading your blog remind me of this amazing life and city. I came back to France this summer. I live in Cagnes-sur-mer, French Riviera, 5 minutes from Nice. I was so surprised when I recognized this picture that I saw in real life a few days before! It was like a bridge between our lives.
    Thank you!

  26. I just heard this on Riviera Radio yesterday morning! I love it!

  27. i live here! i really need to find this cafe!

  28. I love this! Lately at work people have been “asking” me to do things over email by just saying “I need this and that,” without saying please. It bothers me so much and I usually ignore the emails! Working customer service for an internet company (custom t-shirts) was perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned. It’s so easy to be nice and friendly, and nice attracts nice. I will always be as nice as possible to customer service reps for my entire life!

  29. As a Jersey girl, saying “Hi, gimme a coffee and a muffin please” seems pretty normal. I think tone can make a big difference here – a smile and a pleasant ‘Thanks!’ softens it a bit, don’t you think?

  30. Love this! It should be more if you’re on your cell while you order, too!

  31. What cafe did you work at in college? I’m also a wolverine!!

  32. K says...

    Oh and I would give them decaf instead of caffeinated. Take that, rude people!

  33. K says...

    YES! I worked at Starbucks for 5 years and it would drive me nuts when people would say “gimme a…” Sometimes I would get extra cheeky and say “Gimme $3.25” back instead of my usual, “That will be $3.25…”

  34. Love it! Although I wish people didn’t need the incentive to be polite to baristas/waiters/etc. Once at Starbucks, the cashier said, “Hi, how are you?” and I replied “Good, how are you?” She blinked at me for a second before smiling and saying, “I’m good!” I realized that she’d probably greeted people the same way all day and I was one of the few people to actually answer her question instead of just ordering. Little things make a difference!

  35. In high school I worked at Subway (grossest job ever, and I’m a nurse/ midwife now), and the “gimme a…” Thing drove me nuts. I tried to convinced myself it was just an Italian Long Island thing (Same guys who say, fuhgeddaboutit) but apparently there are rude people everywhere

  36. In college I owned a little clothing boutique that had a hair and tanning salon in the back. The tanning customers were the WORST and would always saunter in and bark, “Tan.” Not even, “May I..” or “Can I..” Our store policy was that under 18 customers needed a parent signature (because, cancer)and I would get yelled at by high school kids all the time. Aah, the things we tolerate for a couple bucks.

  37. I worked at a very busy coffee shop in college and my pet-peeve was people who wouldn’t put down their cell-phone to order. It was a very liberal place and I could do what I wanted so I’d always say, “I’ll help you when you’re done with your call,” and move on to the next person. Oh and the other worst thing was when people would wave the dollars in my face while turning away from me so I had to go-fish for them. Sheesh, some people.

  38. ha!! was it sweetwaters by chance? ;)

  39. the “Gimme a…” thing drives me nuts too! :)

  40. I love this, such a great idea!

  41. I wish shops in France would give the customer a discount when the employees are rude. I find the customer service is so bad when I shop here, they should take money off the price tag for that nonsense!

  42. I love this! If only more people realized what a difference a bit of politeness makes to a worker’s day.

  43. That’s fantastic! If there’s one thing that really annoys me it’s rude people.

  44. I love this. Personally, the greatest compliment I get is how polite my children are. We make a big deal out of pleases and thank yous in my house. I worked in retail and hospitality for a long time and I certainly endured my share of less polite customers, of whom I was very forgiving. They are paying for the service/product, after all. I can totally understand how people might feel entitled to demand rather than ask for something they are paying for. But I believe you get from the world what you put into it so I’m sure their choice of words/attitude eventually came back to them in one way or another. ;)

  45. marika, they would WHISTLE? that’s insane!

  46. haha, olivia, i’m totally old and crotchety too :)

  47. Haha that is so great! I used to work at a candy counter in a busy tourist area and often people would whistle to get my attention and then bark orders at me without even making eye-contact! I would have loved to charge them extra! A little kindness and courtesy goes a long way :)

  48. In Portugal happened the same! I don’t have the link, but some time ago on facebook that photo made success! I don’t know which started first…

  49. Gimme?! LORD! People actually say that? This makes me feel uncomfortable READING it, never mind HEARING it. I hate ‘can I get….?’ I always feeling like saying ‘yes, I am sure you can GET but that’s the waiters job, please can you HAVE….’ But maybe I’m getting old and crotchety.

  50. Also, it’s just common sense not to be rude in a place called “Nice,” no?

  51. Love this! I wish I were selling something so I could put this into practice in my life!

  52. In France it is expected that you greet a shop keeper when you enter a store, and say goodbye when you leave!