Marisel Valencia Madrid, the owner of the Restaurant Blau Grifeu in Llança on the Costa Brava, became so fed up at being barked at by customers that she has introduced a pricing system to penalize those who are impolite.
Those who demand a coffee will find they are charged an extortionate €5, those who say please will pay a more affordable €3.50, and those courteous enough to greet their server first with a “Buenos días” will be charged a mere €1.30
“I put a sign in the window with the price system and it has made all the difference. People are now super polite in all matters and it has really improved daily life,” she told The Local by telephone.
“Yesterday some children even told their parents to say please, so it’s working!” she laughed.
The 41-year-old is originally from Colombia and has run the restaurant with her husband for the last nine years.
“I’m not singling out Spanish people as rude,” she insisted. “We are just off the seafront so have a lot of tourists here well, French, German and British, and I think generally people could just be more polite.”
A customer took a photograph of the sign with the house rules and posted it on social media sparking a nationwide debate on politeness.
“I’m surprised at the attention but it’s good to remind people to be polite to everyone, even when ordering a coffee,” she said.
And she admitted that since putting up the sign she hasn’t had to charge anyone the full whack.
“The normal price of a coffee is €1.30 and thankfully I haven’t had to charge more because everyone is giving me a greeting and saying please,” she said. “Some even say thank you now too!”