Cafe cus­tomers face charge to charge

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By REUTERS in Vi­enna

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.


Young soc­cer play­ers take part in a game on a street in down­town Yan­gon, Myan­mar. The coun­try has started to im­prove fa­cil­i­ties and coaching.

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