We call it skin tax, a funny way of explaining why tourist often ends up paying a lot more than the locals. And even if most people are nice and helpful, you always need to make sure that you don’t get overcharged. We had such an incident at Pizza Hut (of all places) and I want to share that story with you guys. Not because it was fantastic but because I think that it is important to know that you might get cheated while traveling.
Make sure to pay for what you ordered
This happened us while at the Pizza Hut in Poland but I think it can happen everywhere. I think that at a lot of restaurants the staff doesn’t work for tips (like in the USA) but they earn more if they sell more. A lot of the staff work for a commission which means that they have to sell expensive food to make money. We ended up in such a situation and I want to share it with you!
We only had food on our minds.
No need to explore the local cuisine. Just get us food and something that’s quick and cheap. Behold – Pizza Hut. And behold their lunch offer. You get a small pizza, a small drink and a soup for 18:- Zloty per person. That sounded fair and we decided to sit down there and eat. Instead of placemats on the tables, they had the offer for the lunch.
The waiter comes with the menu and leaves. However, we don´t even open the menu. As soon as the waiter comes back we order from the lunch menu. But we only order one pizza each and the drink. No soup. Keep in mind that we are pointing at the placemat while ordering. And then we get the food and all is well… Until it comes time to pay. Instead of 36:- zloty for our food – the check comes and the total sum is 56:- Zloty.
Here is the conversation between me and the waiter when I ask him about the check:
Me: Excuse me but how come you want us to pay 56:- zloty when we ordered from the lunch menu and it said 18:-zloty?
Waiter: You didn’t order the soup so that’s why.
Me: But I ordered from this menu so I want the lunch price.
Waiter: Are you saying that you don’t want to pay? (getting angry)
Me: I do want to pay but I want to pay 36:- zloty.
Waiter: But you didn’t order the soup.
Me: Ok so bring me the soup.
Waiter: Are you trying to change your order now?
Me: No but I feel cheated and you knew what we were ordering.
Waiter: I will have to get the manager.
Me: You do that!
When the manager came I explained to her what had happened and she made it right – no problem. So why am I being such an as for 20:- zloty? I know that it’s not that much money. However, like most of us, we work hard for our money and don’t like to be cheated. And what if this happened like 10 times?! So make sure that you pay for what you ordered!
Count your money while exchanging in Prague
While visiting Prague we went to an exchange office to get the local currency. This was a “real” exchange office so no problem there. The guy that counted the money has a special way of counting them. After he put them on the desk in front of us, we decided not to take them from the desk but count them again in front of the guy. It turned out that we were about 30 USD worth of money short. The guy gave us the rest of the money and of we went.
I think that a lot of people just take their money and leave while exchanging at an office. Or they take them from the desk and count them and then it’s too late to complain. Once you leave the desk you can’t come back and say that the amount is wrong. So make sure to take your time and to count the money while the staff is still right there.
Don’t let go of your money until you get your stuff in Peru
When we traveled to Peru it was hot and we often needed to cool off with an ice cream. Once I went by my self to buy ice cream. I had a 20 and the ice cream cost was 7 (of their currency). I got 3 back and I got confused but I sort of accepted it and thought that I made a mistake and gave them 10 and not a 20. The same thing happened to Mini. However, he pointed out that he gave the staff a 20 and not a 10. Super quick – like it was rehearsed, the woman behind the counter took up a 10 and said that we gave her the 10.
We both knew that we had been fooled.
I told Mini about my experience with another salesperson in another store and after that, we ALWAYS held on to our money. We showed the 20 but didn’t let it go until we got the change. Sounds odd? It was but it also made sure that we didn’t get fooled again!
Ok, sometimes you are about to be fooled and tricked. I believe it’s part of being a tourist. However, make sure to try to make sure you don’t get fooled!