Tourists left stunned after being charged an astonishing amount of money for two coffees and two waters
As with all good things in life, there are pros and cons to going on holiday. The pros are that you get to spend a week or so relaxing away from work, enjoying new cultures and experiences, and going absolutely ham on whatever culinary treats your chosen destination has to offer. The cons, on the other hand, are that you spend all your money, end up gaining half a stone through living off a diet of chips and gelato, and run the risk of being scammed in a place you're not familiar with.
Indeed, a lot of tourists end up being conned out of a few bucks (or sometimes much more) in places where they don't know the native language - and often there's not a lot that can be done about the matter.
This is what happened last week to Juan Carlos Bustamente, a Chilean tourist, when he was visiting St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy.
While exploring the city, 62-year-old Bustamente stopped to enjoy a couple of beverages at a cafe with a good view - but was shocked when it was time to pay the bill.
For just two bottles of water and two espressos, the man was charged an eye-watering 43 Euros. That's about equivalent to £38 or $49 (which, at most other places in the city, would be an ample amount for a three-course meal or a round of drinks).
Others in the comments shared Bustamente's outrage, with many encouraging the man to contact authorities about the matter.
"I wouldn't pay, call the police," said one.
"Obviously it's a robbery, a scam, a shame," added another. "This is beyond doubt. Let's hope they close these places soon."
Surprisingly, though, some took the cafe's side, and said that the tourist should have been more aware of what he was agreeing to pay for.
Sure enough, the cafe thinks that they have done nothing wrong by charging such an extreme amount for a round that would normally be about $10 at most. As explained by a spokesperson for the establishment in a statement:
"People get annoyed when the bill arrives because they do not listen when we hand them the menu even though it states clearly enough that prices are higher to sit outside.
"They just wave us away and if we insist they get irritated. If they just want a coffee they can have it at the bar for 1.25.
"If they want to sit outside and enjoy the music of the orchestra, look at the bell tower and the Basilica of St Mark's, then they are paying for an entirely different experience."
Incidents like this one are so frequent in Venice that the city's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, has actually agreed to investigate the prices in the most popular tourist destinations. Hopefully, with a little more intervention and a lot more public awareness, fewer people will be ripped off like this.