Feeling religious and enjoy a coffee? How to save more than 50% on your coffee in one of Split’s top cafes.
A morning coffee in one of Split’s most famous cafes on December 13, 2015 revealed that the practice of double pricing – illegal in Croatia – is alive and well, with the cafe coming up with a rather novel explanation when confronted.
On a brief visit to the city as part of a journalistic trip by FIJET (the International Federation os Travel Journalists and Writers), I took advantage in a break in the programme to catch up with Total Croatia News colleague Tanja Radmilo over a coffee at historic cafe Lvxor, which is located in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diocletian’s Palace, right on Peristil.
Arriving first, I ordered cacao. The waitress brought my chocolate drink, placed the bill on the table, as required by Croatian law, then looked at me and took the bill away, which struck me as a little strange. She then returned a few seconds later with another bill. Curious, I checked the amount – a rather expensive (for Croatian cafes) 24 kuna (3.20 euro).
As Tanja arrived, she nearly choked on seeing the prices. I told her about the swapping of the bill and suggested that maybe there was a two-tier pricing system, one for locals and one for foreigners, but she disimissed it, claiming that is was just one of the most expensive places to have coffee in Split due to its location and heritage.
And then her coffee arrived…
Just 10 kuna, compared to my 24 for the cacao…
Tanja questioned the waitress about the price difference, and we were informed that there is a discount for local people who come to mass in the Sv. Duje cathedral opposite. Pointing out that she hadn’t been to mass, but had merely ordered in Croatian, my colleague pointed out that this was discrimination against customers who were not Croatian. The reaction was very swift…
My bill was taken away once more and a new one produced, this time for a more palatable 15 kuna. In the line item on the bill, the word ‘akcija’ had been inserted (special offer), which is how the cafe gets around the double pricing issue. I had not been to mass and was not local, but it seemed that I qualified for the special discount, simply because I objected to paying over the odds.
As this poor photograph shows, the price of a standard coffee is 22 kuna, but just 10 if you are religious and have been to mass. My international colleagues arrived a few minutes later with a Croatian friend and ordered three cappuccinos in Croatia, for which they were charged 30 kuna. Had they been alone, the price list above shows they would have been charged 81 kuna.
Sadly, the practice appears not to be confined to Sundays after mass. It has happened to me once before in the same cafe a couple of years ago, when the foreign father of a half-Croatian friend was charged the tourist price. She arrived later and ordered in flawless Croatian and got a much cheaper deal. At the time, it was explained away by an error, but talking to local friends in town yesterday, it seems the practice is prevalent at Lvxor.
Lessons to be learned? Perhaps next time you go for a coffee at Lvxor, show your Catholic credentials – perhaps by wearing a rosary – and ask for the religious coffee price the locals pay. You may find you can have two coffees for the price of one, with a little change left over for a tip.