Trend Observation: It’ll Cost You

A café in the South of France charges rude customers extra.
The Petite Syrah café in Nice charges customers €7 for “a coffee”. However, if they ask for “a coffee please”, it will only set them back €4.25. And if a customer says “Hello, a coffee please”, they will only have to pay €1.40.

“I know people say that French service can be rude but it’s also true that customers can be rude when they’re busy.”

Manager of the Petite Syrah, Fabrice Pepino, to The Local

Hit them where it hurts

Thanks to the lasting impact of the recession, consumers are more wary of spending their hard-earned cash. Mintel’s French Consumer Lifestyles: Technology and the Environment November 2012 report has found that 26% of consumers say they are making ends meet but only just when it comes to their finances.

As a result, we’ve seen flexible pricing introduced elsewhere as a way to attract the spending and the attention of these cost-conscious consumers.

Here, customers are rewarded for engaging with the staff with a lower charge for their coffee. This is not the first example we’ve seen of France taking steps to encourage citizens to improve the quality of interactions they have with other people: We’ve seen the Paris metro release a manual to encourage passengers to be more polite, schemes to improve how those in the service industries interact with tourists) and regulations forcing citizens to be more courteous.

But this is the first time it’s been linked to the attitude and politeness with which the customer places their order. Other retailers and businesses looking to foster deeper connections with their clientele as well as providing an incentive for people to shop there would do well to introduce similarly creative schemes.

For a deep and complete analysis of the current situation of consumers and their finances, Mintel published the following market research: French Consumer Lifestyles: Technology and the Environment Marketing Financial Services to Millennials in France.