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Citizens' Mail

Kandy-bound? Beware the restaurants!

What most innocent travellers on Colombo-Kandy road are hardly aware is that they are robbed of their hard-earned money in the broad daylight. Most travellers have made it a habit of stopping over at a restaurant to enjoy a warm cup of tea along with much-favoured junk food. Quite a lot of restaurants have mushroomed in order to cater to this growing trend.

If it were only the elite who stopped over, now it has become a well-established practice among the commonalty since most restaurants seem to offer a reasonable rate. The time-honoured restaurants, on the contrary, still uphold their brand name with exorbitant rates. For example, step into a traditional restaurant and be treated to a cup of tea priced between Rs 50 and 100. Be that as it may, the prices never affect their customer base.

But the elite customers would not mind having to pay through the roof. That warm cup of tea has earned its prestige coupled with the high quality of right preparation. On the receipt, you have the breakdown of what you have purchased.

The receipt is the thing now, as some restaurants do not care about the breakdown of what you have purchased. As a frequent traveller to Kandy from Colombo, I have two bitter experiences. I had hoppers with a few friends at a famous restaurant near Ambepussa. The bill came to be to the tune of Rs 900.

There was no breakdown of what I have purchased in the bill brought to me. Only the figure, 900, was laid down in big bold handwriting. I was left to my own devices to figure out how my purchase reached the status of Rs 900. Willingly or unwillingly I decided to approach the chief cashier of that restaurant. The cashier, in turn, summoned the busboy. The pair had a real struggle to offer me a proper breakdown. I was to realise, finally, that I have been robbed of a few good hundreds of my hard-earned rupees. Worse still, they did not even make an apology.

The time-honoured restaurants uphold the traditions. Charges are exorbitant, but you at least have the satisfaction of high quality and an idea of what cost you.

The newly mushroomed restaurants do not seem to care a heck about consumer rights. When would they simply realise that taking their customers for a jolly good ride, in the pretension of cheap rates, would take a heavy toll on their business relations in the long run?

Travellers, beware of this when you are on a distance travel. What you need to do is simple. Make sure you check whether a full detailed receipt is available before you make the purchase.

If they cannot produce a detailed receipt, the next step is simple. Either step into another restaurant or commit to the memory of your purchases.

Vimukthi Sarathchandra
Weeragula, Yakkala


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