Tourists – always watch what you’re doing but if you pay over the odds – walk away and enjoy your stay

I suspect that we’ve all been there.

You’re abroad and not paying quite as much attention as you should. After all, you’re on holiday and relaxed (one would hope). You go to a restaurant, sit outside and order something – say, lobster. You enjoy it as it’s really fresh. One of your party doesn’t like it and spits out the piece they are eating but the rest of you finish everything.

Then the bill comes and you find that you’ve been stuffed for a couple of hundred pounds.

This was not helped by the fact that one of your party had been to this country and had already warned that, before asking for something, agree the price – especially for fish at restaurants. Of course, that made it quite funny, in spite of the shock of the bill.

That was a true story from some years ago when we were on holiday in Turkey. G went there quite often for work, so we relied on him to tell us how to go about things – but the thought of lobster made us forget everything. We reckoned that the piece that V spat out was worth about £8!

What we didn’t do was to complain about it. After all it was our fault. We should have known better but, what the hell, we were on holiday and these things happen.

In Italy, of course, one has to be careful about “hidden” charges. These charges aren’t, generally, hidden, of course, but displayed (although you may have to know a little Italian).

If you go to a bar, for example, have a cup of coffee for about €1 – IF you stand at the bar.

Go and sit down outside the bar and get the waiter to come and serve you and you’ll pay more. It could be as much as €4 for the same cup of coffee! It’s the Italian way. Everyone knows that.

Go to a restaurant and there is, invariably, a cover charge. This will cover the bread sticks and bread and the service (although you can tip up to about €5 if the service is REALLY good). The cover charge (coperto) WILL be somewhere on the menu but isn’t always easy to spot. It varies quite a lot but is usually something like €4 per person.

Go to an ice-cream shop and there is a dazzling array of options …….. and prices. Usually, for a small cup or cone with one small scoop of delicious (or, rather, usually delicious) ice-cream.

Of course, you can go for bigger ice-creams with, usually, up to three scoops. Of course, for this you certainly won’t be paying a few Euro. But you will have, in your hand, something that is almost a meal in itself.

So this is really quite annoying. I mean, there you are in one of the tourist hot-spots in a capital city and you go into the ice-cream shop. You see the prices start from a few Euro so you have the ultra-large cone with three scoops and think that that will cost you 3 times (say) €3. But, of course, each scoop of ice-cream will be double the size of the small scoop and the ice-cream will be hanging well over the sides of the cone. It’ll probably take about 15 minutes to eat it and you’ll feel quite full afterwards.

So, stop complaining. The prices will have been on the board in the shop – it’s just that you were being a tourist and forgot to check properly. Have a laugh about how you should have checked it better and move right along to enjoy your holiday.

So, stupid people. Not for missing that price nor paying so much – but for complaining about it afterwards to the British press.

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