Thursday 23 August 2012

Unorthodox pricing policies

On Sunday evening in Lisbon I stopped in a bar on my way to dinner and ordered a gin and tonic.  I asked how much and was told 5.50.  A little steep, I thought, as I was fishing for the money in my wallet.  Then I felt the urge for another, so I ordered a second gin to use up the rest of the tonic in the bottle.  I asked again how much, prepared for a fight if he tried to charge me another 5.50 as I didn't take a second bottle of tonic. "Cinco euros, por favor."  There was only one other client at the bar, and I was only there ten minutes, so the barman clearly knew I had had the second gin, but the total came to less than the price of a single.  I didn't argue, but I left a tip.

Tonight in Madrid, on my way home from dinner with MGG, I stopped in a bar for a coffee and a brandy as a nightcap.  The barman put the bottle of brandy and a huge glass on the counter while he went to get the coffee.  When he came back I indicated with my raised eyebrows and nodding head that I'd prefer my brandy in the glass.  "Serve yourself," he said.  So I did.  Generously!  Then we got talking and I said I'd like another.  Again I was invited to serve myself.  The bill? "Cinco euros, por favor" (Spanish and Portuguese are quite similar in their written forms).  Five euros.

These European traditions really should be shared.

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