Added value?


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July 20, 2012Writings on...No comments

I might be being petty here.

I usually am.

So in the words of The Smiths “Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before.”

I was at Chester Zoo last Sunday. We had an excellent day out as a family. LLK loved it, even if she took a while to warm to the dinosaurs – even if she knew they were “just robots, daddy.” She was so good on the day, that we even let her come home with a rather annoying, roaring treat. Job’s a good’un.

Even I had a good day, though I was irked, slightly, by the price sign when we first got to the zoo. There were two ticket prices. One price was for a standard ticket. The other was inclusive of a donation.

A donation for what?

Surely the ticket price covers my donation for their work, both at the zoo and beyond? Why brand it as two separate activities. Do they really think that people would question the addition of 10% (a rounding up in this case) for the protection of the same endangered animals that they are about to gawp at?

They will do if this additional charge is simply added on automatically. There was no “would you like to pay?” or even an acknowledgement that this was standard, but I could change it, without embarrassment. The price flashed up, I was asked to put my card in; I paid – and then decided to moan on here. Moan on here, because I would have paid anyways. Paid happily; had I been given the choice.

It’s like a local Italian restaurant we use on a regular basis. The food is good, the service excellent, the overall experience is one we enjoy, over and over again. Until the bill comes – and then you see that service is included. The assumption, rightly or wrongly, has been made – that their actions are worth 10% of your overall bill.


The anger is petty, really petty; because I would, and I do, happily give them more. It’s a small restaurant, with wipe clean menus that haven’t changed for years. They are great with kids, always attentive with adults – smiling, chatty but keeping their distance if you want more time. They’ve never given me a reason not to want to tip them – but what happens if one day the service is poor. The food is cold. The reason we love going there is missing? Where is the choice, irrespective of the automatic reaction?

Do we have an awkward moment where I ask them to take the undeserving tip off; or do I pay it, and come and moan on here.

I think we all know the answer to that one.

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