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The customer is always right

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It is often said that the residents of the southwestern city of Chengdu can be as fiery as the food they eat.

That adage appears to be true in the case of a Ms He who has used a new customer-friendly law to reclaim Rmb80 ($12.89) charged as corkage and private room hire at a local hotpot eatery last month.

The new regulation – which has been widely mocked online – forbids restaurants from levying extra charges on customers for nicer tables or food and drinks brought in from outside.

Restaurateurs, as one can imagine, are up in arms at the changes in the rules.“If consumers can bring their own alcohol and their own dishes, there will be no profit for restaurants,” the Chengdu Daily quoted the losing hotpot venue as saying.

“These customers are trying to enter a first class cabin with an economy class ticket,” the spokesman added.

Many netizens agree. “Most restaurants aren’t bullies, the bullies are those people who sit in other people’s places and drink their own wine, asking for free service,” wrote one.

Another said: “It’s fair to ask for a corkage fee because the restaurant provides consumers with services. It’s just that the price should be fair.”

Rather surprisingly most eateries are complying with the new law, albeit sometimes creatively.

After Ms He’s ruling, another Chengdu eatery hung a sign in its window inviting people to bring their own drinks into the venue.

“You will understand, however, if we don’t give you glasses,” it read.


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