Cafe customers face charge to charge
Grumpy waiter service is as traditional as apple strudel in Vienna, but a cafe in one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks has caused disquiet with what seems to be an Austrian first: charging customers for charging their phones.
Tired of tourists powering up batteries for hours, cafe owner Galina Pokorny has introduced a 1 euro ($1.06) fee for those who plug in their mobiles for too long.
“Tourists — always electricity, electricity, electricity. Sorry but who is going to pay me for it?” said Pokorny, owner of the Terrassencafe im Hundertwasserhaus.
Customers who charge up during a 15-minute coffee can still do so for free, she said. An hour, however, is beyond the pale.
“It’s getting more and more extreme,” she said. “People come and think everything is accessible and free ... You don’t even open your eyes in the morning for free.”
Pokorny introduced the charge last year, she said, but it gained attention on Wednesday when tabloid Oesterreich published the “bizarre bill” one of its reporters was presented with, featuring the 1 euro charge for “electricity”.
The fee also applies to laptops and tablets. However, disgruntled customers can take some comfort from the fact that wireless internet access is still free.
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