Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bangalore aside: Breakfast is free, but pay for coffee

It is generally accepted that bed coffee is what one drinks soon after waking up and breakfast is the first meal of the day. If you drink only a cup of coffee and don’t eat anything with it, can it be considered a breakfast? This question acquired a legal dimension during my short visit to Bangalore on last Sunday-Monday.

Here is the lead up to that development. I caught the early morning Shadabthi from Chennai. In less than 4hours 30minutes the train was nearing Cantonment Station at Bangalore. Almost all the passengers got up and moved to the exits with their baggage. The train slowed down but kept going.

Protests by the passengers were of no use. Many including me had alighted at Cantonment from the Shadabthi on earlier trips. I can’t see any logic in this popular train not stopping at the station which is closer to the Central Business District and some of the older residential areas.

I phoned the driver who was waiting for me at Cantonment Station. He came over to the City Junction and took me to the Club where I was booked.

Considering the quality, the room was quite steeply priced. But as a consolation, all taxes and free breakfast were thrown in. Excellent chicken fried rice, (non-greasy and light) and watered down vodka for dinner, and early to bed.

Since I had to leave at 6AM I had asked Room Service to wake me up at 5AM with a cup of coffee. That was done and the coffee was good.

The problem started while settling the bill. I was charged for the bed coffee. The clerk explained that though breakfast was free bed coffee had to be paid for. I found that amusing and pursued the matter.

My argument was that I was confining my breakfast there to coffee and was abandoning whatever goodies they were serving for the first meal of the day. The other side came up with the counter that I could wait till breakfast service commenced and either take only coffee or eat the fare supplied as well.

The debate, which I felt was of great academic interest, could not be completed be cause of my rush. I paid Rs.5.50 for the coffee and left.

If you were the judge, what would be your verdict? Should I have paid or not?

Also see

Kerala plantations: The bed tea ceremony that was

Nostalgia: The romance of India/Indian Coffee House

Some Clubs of India

11 comments:

Nebu said...

That’s quite interesting. I am still pondering over the matter. Judgement reserved.

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Nebu said...

Transferring the case to another bench as the plaintiff is a very close relative.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you Richa. Shall get back to you.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Nebu, that's great one. You should have become a judge.

Sreelekha said...

Aurguing with a clerk when you were rushed for time wouldn't have helped. After all it is only Rs 5.50. But write to the manager- he will give a discount the next time you go!
Lekha Nair

Abraham Tharakan said...

Sreelekha, thank you. Actually I just couldn't understand the logic of breakfast being free and the only cup of coffee I took being charged.
If there were a refund, it would have been added to the tip I gave.

Pradeep said...

You did the right thing paying. For one simple reason. You were going by the rule.

Not just in this hotel, in most places, most of the rule and laws are stupid. In some cases they are framed with violators not the disciplined citizens in mind.

My philosophy is simple: Whether one agrees or disagrees with a rule, one should follow it.

As you suggested that rule makes absolutely no sense.

I am glad you paid the bill, though you fundamentally disagreed with the rule.

By the way, thanks for visiting my blog.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Pradeep, thank you for the comment.

Ashvin said...

Dear Mr. Tharakan, probably almost the same reason why hotels which have breakfast included in the room rate insist that guests eat in the restaurant (buffet).... if someone orders room service they pay for it. Staffing (manpower count) among other things. But considering the amount involved, it could have been waived off, maybe the staff were not empowered to do such a thing. As Pradeep said, many of these rules have been framed over a period of time because of people misusing facilities and over a period of time they become inflexible. Pradeep, in a way you are right, but also there must have been some logic when the rule was first drafted so....

Abraham Tharakan said...

ashvin, thanks for the comment.