Manners cost nothing – ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ – but other than the exchange of niceties, how many of us actually consider whether there are monetary benefits to being polite?
Most of us would’ve been brought up to be considerate of others – minding your Ps and Qs – we do this because it’s just polite to do so. As I was often reminded by my parents, ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’ and ‘speak to others as you wish to be spoken to’.
For those in hospitality it will be of no news to them that ‘service with a smile’ has monetary benefits in the form of tips. Tips are traditionally based on quality of service, but it’s become a standard practice for some. Some will always tip, others will carefully mull the service to work out whether to tip and how much – maybe asking themselves: ‘Did I get that service with a smile?’.
Politeness pays off
But for a café in Spain, the benefit is very much for the customer to reap. This café, near the city of Girona, has recently introduced a new graduated pricing system for its coffee. A courteous client will see themselves paying €1.30 [£1.17] for a coffee, a curt client will be set back a whole €5 [£4.50] for that same coffee. Those middle-of-the-road customers who remember their ‘por favors’, but no ‘buenos dias’, will find themselves be paying a reasonable €3 [£2.70].
The café owner claims to have been driven to introduce the new system after finding that customers were so rushed that they were missing simple manners.
And this is no new concept. A small café in Roanoke, Virginia, introduced a very similar policy last year. CUPS Coffee and Tea proudly brandished its new sign threatening upcharges if customers forget their Ps and Qs:
Really I think it’s quite a nice incentive, manners cost nothing, after all. But it isn’t just a discount on your coffee that you could land, it could even be an entirely free meal. Like for one pair of friends in Plymouth who had their whole meal paid for at the Barbican Pasta Bar last year by a couple sat near to them. The generous strangers were keen to settle the bill to recognise the politeness of these two friends.
So, something as simple as minding your manners may even help you manage your money. It could be that you land yourself a discount on your next bill or an entirely free one if you’re lucky (and polite).
Over to you
Should it pay to be polite? Or do you think that manners should cost nothing?