Passive agressive signage and debit card rip-offs

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June 1, 2013 by indiecafes2013

The café toilet is a fragile thing. Easily blocked, apparently. Discouraging your customers from putting stuff that might block your loo down your loo is a delicate matter. It seems to bring out the worst in some proprietors (whether they are franchises or not).

This is a sign from the Green Room in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. The passive aggressive loo signage was just the icing on the cake.  Not that I tried the cake. 20120601_8636

My lunch there was, by quite some distance, the worst meal I bought in 2012. The service was a masterclass in poor service and communication skills.

Were two pubs, another cafe and a chip shop too much competition in such a small seaside town? Or did the Green Room get complacent? Laugharne is Dylan Thomas country. You’d think that would provide a steady stream of well-to-do visitors.



Here’s a tip, cafe owners: Actually here’s two tips.

First, drop the Uriah Heep act. Wringing your hands in sorrow over  the extra charge is insulting.

Second, if the card company’s charge really does materially affect your profits, just add it to your prices (like you do with all the other business banking charges you pay).  That way, if I pay in cash you get a little bonus, and, unless you are charging silly prices to start, with I  won’t feel ripped off – which I do when I see a sign like that one.

According to the Guardian:

While the cost to companies for processing a payment by debit card is around 20p, and no more than 2% of the transaction value for a credit card, Which? researchers found dozens of examples of companies charging far higher fees.

Some maths. If Green Room is paying a 2% fee to the card companies, the “unfortunate” £1 charge is actually extra profit on anything less than a £50 meal. How unfortunate is that?

Cafés That Are Not Franchises took the photos last summer. We wouldn’t recommend that you eat at the Green Room. We can’t: According to the Laugharne web site, it has closed down.

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