Receipt smartass, the different cases of “star” receipts
One of the consequences of the development of social media has been that consumers can now post reviews on online sites. One name for all is that of Tripadvisor which is in a way the “Bible” of this kind of possibility. At the same time, business managers realized that “something has changed”, to quote the title of a famous film. Compared to the past, it is no longer possible to harass the customer with impunity who now has formidable tools at his disposal to make what happened public, including the ability to post photographs of receipts. In this summer there have been several cases of “stellar” receipts who arouse wonder for their creativity in order to extort money from the customer.
Clever receipts, the “tricks” used by merchants to inflate prices
Arousing indignation are the “tricks” used by exhibitors to inflate prices. For example, for two teaspoons to taste a dessert, an extra 1.50 euros is charged, as happened in Alba in Piedmont.
While in Palermo an extra 20 euros were charged to cut the birthday cake, then there is another “fad” and that is to charge water for coffee, even 70 cents with the excuse that the water is filtered. Too bad the customer had asked for normal tap water. In Albenga (Savona) instead the request for cooking the pizza at the “right point” cost the victim two euros. Forbidden desires are paid for.
An osteria in Finale Ligure has charged an additional cost of 2 euros for a pasta tasting dish.
But the progenitor of everything, the “mother of all indignation”, is the mythical receipt that shows 2 euros more with the caption “divided in half” – it was toast – given to a consumer on Lake Como. The receipt immediately went viral and earned a place in the Indignation Hall of Fame. The defenses of the exhibitors are often imaginative and are evidence of the Italian art of perculamento with the “cuckold and mazziato” technique. They range from the need for a generic price increase due to calamities such as Covid, war, drought, locusts, barbarian invasions, to more refined forms of justification such as the kinetic energy consumed by the manager’s hand to hold the knife and sawing the toast, as in the hilarious case of Como.
The strange case of Massimiliano Tonelli who defends them: “The customer is almost always wrong”
We have to understand them, poor stars, in this heat they leave gigawatt hours of manual effort. Naturally on social networks it is now a pigeon shooting contest to see who posts the most sensational harassment. But the incredible thing is that there is also someone who defends this way of doing things. For example Massimiliano Tonelli, current editorial director of CiboToday (of the Citynews group) and previously of the well-known Gambero Rosso, who also edited the annual reports of Symbola by the environmentalist and former Pd deputy Ermete Realacci. Some time ago – as reported by Repubblica – he made headlines for an unfortunate outing as director of Artribune: “An exhibition full of black paintings”, then he apologized. Tonelli, from the deck of CiboToday, shoots point-blank shots at consumers and defends merchants to the hilt. He reports apologies from managers along with scornful reviews of mean customers with bloodshot eyes.
This is how the blameless woman starts: “They are right (the exhibitors, ed). The point is that being right doesn’t count for anything in this specific historical moment. The world out there doesn’t listen to reason. The world is foaming at the mouth and, if anything, smells blood. Unscrupulous influencers; unscrupulous journalists; unscrupulous newspapers do not think twice about putting the restaurateur on duty in the pillory”. The natural question is: Was the critic fresh out of a Quentin Tarantino film? The critic talks about bullying restaurateurs because customers – rightly so – complain and furthermore he takes it out as usual with the “journalists” (he is not a member of the Order while writing) guilty of defending them. However, Tonelli is like the cyclone Nero and gasses himself by increasing his power in writing and at a certain point he explodes losing control and comes to advise: “Restaurateurs get smart and communicate better”.
And so the pearl arrives: “So let’s not let them go, let’s get smart (as if they weren’t smart enough already, ed), let’s implement a bit of strategy, block the avalanche of comments upstream, the miserable pettiness of the negative reviews that for a mistake (sometimes not even a mistake) they devastate the reputation of companies that have been in business for decades… We all know that the customer, far from always being right, is almost always wrong”. And then the final advice for new tricks to better cheat customers: “We act on the cover; we impose minimum consumption to avoid the circumstance of the family of three who orders two dishes in all; if necessary we spread the costs of the services on other items; let’s take advantage of the digital wonders for bookings and payments to protect ourselves from nasty surprises. But let’s avoid writing the truth in good faith on the receipts, as happened in these cases, because it’s not the time for good faith, it’s not the time to be right. Being right is not enough to take cover. It’s not enough anymore.”
There is to be amazed. And to think that Tonelli’s springboard was none other than the blog “Romafaschifo” of which he was the co-founder, the site where he pilloried the inefficiencies and rip-offs that affect the Romans but above all the tourists whose complaints -coincidentally- they often involve being plucked by exhibitors.
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