Two tourists were unpleasantly surprised when they received the bill in an Italian winery and café – after eating a sandwich.
The couple were on holiday near Lake Como, in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, when the café manager charged them an extra €2 just for cutting their sandwich in half.
After their lunch, the tourists were given the bill as follows: €7.50 for a vegetarian sandwich; €3.50 for a Coca-Cola; €1.50 for a bottle of water; €1.20 for a coffee and an extra cost of €2 for “cutting the sandwich in two”.
“There were two of us and asked for a sandwich that we would have eaten together at the table. But do we have to pay because we asked them to cut the toast in two? Unbelievable but true,” the customer wrote on TripAdvisor.
“This has never happened to me in Italy: it has never happened to me in any of the places I have visited in the world.”
The customer did not reveal their identity but their TripAdvisor profile suggests it is a woman from Milan between 50 and 64 years old.
She also added a picture of the bill, showing a charge of €2 for “dividing in half” the snack.
The business immediately responded on social networks. Cristina Biacchi, who owns the venue called Bar Pace with her husband, questioned why the upset customers didn’t raise their concerns before paying the bill.
“We would have explained to him that each additional service must be paid for,” she told Italian media.
“If a customer asks me to make two toasts, I should use two dishes, two napkins and go to the table with both hands,” Biacchi said. “It is true that the customer is always right, but it is also true that extra requests have a price.”
The café owner suggested rising industry costs meant such measures were needed but she also said Bar Pace would not have insisted on the fee if the customers had disputed it and, “All of this would not have happened.”
The publication of the charge drew widespread attention online in early August, leading to a barrage of negative reviews for Bar Pace on platforms such as Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor from individuals displeased by the policy.
In response, TripAdvisor has temporarily halted new reviews for the café, citing ratings submitted by individuals who had not actually visited the establishment.
“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing,” TripAdvisor stated.