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Old 08-12-2014, 05:05 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,577,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post
Was this your first meal in Italy? Because my experience is that it's pretty standard practice almost everywhere in Italy (I've been there about half a dozen times) to have a "cover charge" for bread and stuff.
Yup--just refuse it if it is brought to the table. Also inquire as to whether "service" is included before being seated, and at a place where there is both stand up and table service, inquire as to the cost of the table service before taking a seat.

Best bet in major Euro cities is to walk 10 blocks out of the tourist corridor into residential neighborhoods, and eat where the locals are eating.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,095,286 times
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I've developed a certain fondness for the UK chain pub- about six pounds for a sandwich-fries-soft drink or beer combo deal, tax included, and since you order at the counter, no tipping. So works out to pretty much what you'd pay for same at a lot of table service restaurants in the USA in a country where restaurant food is often more expensive than what you see in America.
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Old 08-13-2014, 02:53 PM
 
Location: SLC, UT
1,571 posts, read 2,284,946 times
Reputation: 3848
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robdreamz View Post
Sounds like the typical ignorant American tourists. Probably the same people who called 911 when FaceBook went down recently! Call the cops!
Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_gardener View Post
Stupid Americans being stupid Americans. They should've been arrested and charged with mischief for wasting police time. Do I think the price is outrageous? YES. But those morons did make the choice to eat there!
When this story came out, the articles I read also spoke about British tourists who had complained and gone to the news when they were overcharged. So no, it's not "stupid Americans." Unless, of course, you're just as happy to paint all the British with the same paintbrush and say they're all "stupid Brits." The stereotype of the stupid American tourists is so incredibly lame. The Americans I know who travel Internationally are incredibly polite, interested in the cultures of the places they're visiting, try to always learn some words in the native language, and often still tip even if they don't have to.

Source for British Tourists: British tourists' complaint over £54 ice cream hits a nerve in Rome - Telegraph

Articles about most annoying tourists:

How Chinese Tourists Usurped the Ugly Americans - The Wire

Brits vote themselves world

Most Obnoxious Tourists? The French - TIME

Is calling the police going a bit far? Obviously. In my mind, that would be a learning situation, as in, "I learned that I have to be incredibly careful where I choose to eat, pay close attention to prices, and if I can't find anything in writing, always ask what the charge is before ordering/eating." But to suggest that 314 million Americans are stupid or ignorant because of what two people did in Rome is ridiculous and lazy and very "stupid."

As for everyone else who is saying the Americans should've known better - like I said, it was a learning moment for them, and now they certainly do know better. But to think they should know how incredibly expensive it would be when they had never visited there before, when it's clear there are many Rome cafes and restaurants who take advantage of tourists, is going a bit far. Here's an article where it discusses the Americans, but then also discusses some Brits who were scammed, as well as some Italian tourists.

Tourists call police after £33 bill for ice cream at cafe near Rome's Trevi Fountain (but the owner refuses to apologise) | Mail Online

From that article: "Last year, Rome’s mayor apologised to four tourists from Stourbridge in the West Midlands after they were charged an astonishing £12 each for ice cream cones near the famous Spanish Steps in the city centre. The tourists were backed by a local councillor who called for a clampdown on restaurants or cafes charging extortionate prices to unsuspecting tourists, and a consumer group requested an investigation into the ‘fraud’. A few months later, a group of Italian tourists were charged £85 for four liqueur coffees after they sat down to take in the vistas around the famous St Mark's Square. The bill included a charge of £33 for a five-musician string ensemble who were playing at the cafe."
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Old 08-13-2014, 03:12 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,577,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ7 View Post
Why do people always think you need to eat out when you go on vacations?
Because some of us like to eat out and have the financial ability to do so without jeopardizing our futures.
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Old 08-14-2014, 06:50 AM
 
Location: NoVa
2,125 posts, read 2,910,211 times
Reputation: 2929
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisfitBanana View Post
When this story came out, the articles I read also spoke about British tourists who had complained and gone to the news when they were overcharged. So no, it's not "stupid Americans." Unless, of course, you're just as happy to paint all the British with the same paintbrush and say they're all "stupid Brits." The stereotype of the stupid American tourists is so incredibly lame. The Americans I know who travel Internationally are incredibly polite, interested in the cultures of the places they're visiting, try to always learn some words in the native language, and often still tip even if they don't have to.

Source for British Tourists: British tourists' complaint over £54 ice cream hits a nerve in Rome - Telegraph

Articles about most annoying tourists:

How Chinese Tourists Usurped the Ugly Americans - The Wire

Brits vote themselves world

Most Obnoxious Tourists? The French - TIME

Is calling the police going a bit far? Obviously. In my mind, that would be a learning situation, as in, "I learned that I have to be incredibly careful where I choose to eat, pay close attention to prices, and if I can't find anything in writing, always ask what the charge is before ordering/eating." But to suggest that 314 million Americans are stupid or ignorant because of what two people did in Rome is ridiculous and lazy and very "stupid."

As for everyone else who is saying the Americans should've known better - like I said, it was a learning moment for them, and now they certainly do know better. But to think they should know how incredibly expensive it would be when they had never visited there before, when it's clear there are many Rome cafes and restaurants who take advantage of tourists, is going a bit far. Here's an article where it discusses the Americans, but then also discusses some Brits who were scammed, as well as some Italian tourists.

Tourists call police after £33 bill for ice cream at cafe near Rome's Trevi Fountain (but the owner refuses to apologise) | Mail Online

From that article: "Last year, Rome’s mayor apologised to four tourists from Stourbridge in the West Midlands after they were charged an astonishing £12 each for ice cream cones near the famous Spanish Steps in the city centre. The tourists were backed by a local councillor who called for a clampdown on restaurants or cafes charging extortionate prices to unsuspecting tourists, and a consumer group requested an investigation into the ‘fraud’. A few months later, a group of Italian tourists were charged £85 for four liqueur coffees after they sat down to take in the vistas around the famous St Mark's Square. The bill included a charge of £33 for a five-musician string ensemble who were playing at the cafe."
Exactly! It's really ridiculous how everyone seemed to forget we were all naive / unsuspecting tourists at one point in our lives. For someone who's never been abroad before, especially to Rome, which is The Rip Off Capital Of The World, it probably never occured to them to even ask for prices first. I mean, you never hear a story about a tourist being charged $54 for an ice cream in the US. You don't see separate menus for tourists and locals at any restaurants in the US either. Sure, the prices in well known tourist traps in the US are higher, but you pay the same price whether you're tourist or local. That's one thing I find off-putting about certain places in Europe. Yes, other places in Asia for example, would definitely charge tourists higher, but never as blatantly and brazenly as in some European cities. If anything, we should condemn the 'let's fleece the tourists' attitude instead of lambasting the tourists.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:34 AM
 
2 posts, read 1,324 times
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I love Italy and have never had a bad experience. One needs to know the way these things work. If you want to sit outside, have a wine, and have a great view of a historical location in Rome, Florence or Venice....you will pay a huge up charge for the location. Its simple...dont be a stupid American....ask someone before you sit down and order.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:26 AM
 
Location: SLC, UT
1,571 posts, read 2,284,946 times
Reputation: 3848
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildLands View Post
I love Italy and have never had a bad experience. One needs to know the way these things work. If you want to sit outside, have a wine, and have a great view of a historical location in Rome, Florence or Venice....you will pay a huge up charge for the location. Its simple...dont be a stupid American....ask someone before you sit down and order.
Look at my post above. Apparently, people in Italy also shouldn't be "stupid Italians," because even Italians visiting Rome from other parts of the country have been shocked and ripped off by prices. If it's not normal for even their own countrymen to expect to pay exorbitant prices to sit in a specific location, then it sure as heck shouldn't be considered normal for someone who's visiting the country for the first time.

Here's a quote so you don't have to go up two posts to find it:
"A few months later, a group of Italian tourists were charged £85 for four liqueur coffees after they sat down to take in the vistas around the famous St Mark's Square. The bill included a charge of £33 for a five-musician string ensemble who were playing at the cafe."
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:41 AM
 
1,593 posts, read 1,828,535 times
Reputation: 3353
We had an attempted overcharge in Venice recently, I had asked what the "cover" charge was prior to sitting down, we had a nice light lunch and at the delivery of the bill it looked to be about 50 euros higher than my quick estimation.

The waiter spoke very passable english and my wife speaks very solid Italian so after a few attempts to deconstruct the bill we were at an irritated impasse. We decided what we were comfortable paying, about 35 euros less than the bill and as the waiter attempted to create a bit of drama I whispered to him that it will be very difficult to do his job with a broken arm.

He didn't care, I wasn't falling for the scam and he had other suckers to try and hook. Honestly once it was apparent that he wasn't getting the money from us I think the show of bravado was to placate his boss.
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:03 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,577,614 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by graceC View Post
Exactly! It's really ridiculous how everyone seemed to forget we were all naive / unsuspecting tourists at one point in our lives. For someone who's never been abroad before, especially to Rome, which is The Rip Off Capital Of The World, it probably never occured to them to even ask for prices first. I mean, you never hear a story about a tourist being charged $54 for an ice cream in the US. You don't see separate menus for tourists and locals at any restaurants in the US either. Sure, the prices in well known tourist traps in the US are higher, but you pay the same price whether you're tourist or local. That's one thing I find off-putting about certain places in Europe. Yes, other places in Asia for example, would definitely charge tourists higher, but never as blatantly and brazenly as in some European cities. If anything, we should condemn the 'let's fleece the tourists' attitude instead of lambasting the tourists.
I knew to ask prices first in Rome, even though I hadn't been there before. Ten minutes of reading a decent guide book or on the Internet will give you all the tips on local customs you need to not make a buffoon of yourself. I have run across far too many stupid tourists who either can't understand why everyone doesn't speak English, can't understand why everyone doesn't take US Dollars (or Canadian or pounds sterling or whatever), can't understand what happened to the wallet they put in the top of their unzipped handbag, the list goes on.

I have no sympathy for utter lack of common sense.

Those who ahve respect for local culture and custom will be treated like a local, not a tourist.
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:04 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,577,614 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisfitBanana View Post
Look at my post above. Apparently, people in Italy also shouldn't be "stupid Italians," because even Italians visiting Rome from other parts of the country have been shocked and ripped off by prices. If it's not normal for even their own countrymen to expect to pay exorbitant prices to sit in a specific location, then it sure as heck shouldn't be considered normal for someone who's visiting the country for the first time.

Here's a quote so you don't have to go up two posts to find it:
"A few months later, a group of Italian tourists were charged £85 for four liqueur coffees after they sat down to take in the vistas around the famous St Mark's Square. The bill included a charge of £33 for a five-musician string ensemble who were playing at the cafe."
Anyone who has taken a few minutes with a guidebook or the Internet knows to ask about service fees and table charges before taking a seat in a sidewalk cafe. Stupid is as stupid does.
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