CTV cafe.... dual pricing.

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CTV cafe.... dual pricing.

Post by LivinginLuxor » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:02 pm

Maybe this is more of a rant!

Went into Luxor today, and on the way to the boats, walked through the very pleasant gardens in front of the new shops. A waiter said would I like a drink, and I replied Maybe on my way back.

Coming back on the ferry, the place looked extremely pleasant, so I walked over, sat down and asked for a lemon juice - which I enjoyed!

About to go, I called a waiter over, and gave him a 10LE note, expecting some change. He told me a lemon juice is 12LE. I said No Way! (everywhere I've been in Luxor I've paid no more than 6LE). He got the manager, who showed me the menu with the price on it. So, I suggested to him that his Egyptian customers would not pay that exorbitant price (it's very popular with Egyptians, who watch football on the big screen), to which he said nothing. In the end, I left 6LE on the table and walked away. I've always been against dual pricing, but this is the first time I've actually been involved with it.

I was talking to a local taxi driver afterwards, and he said that the locals pay 5 there, which they think is a little expensive!


I might agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong!
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Post by Kevininabydos » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:25 pm

Do you also object to getting discounts in restaurants because you live here? It amounts to the same thing to the tourists sitting at the next table.
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Post by lotusflower » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:39 pm

The restaurant and gardens are run by the Abu Zeid branch of restaurants. They have also set up their restaurant in the Suzanne Mubarak gardens and charge 14LE for a watery nescafe.

Maro restaurant on the corniche is also one of their restaurants and really it is outrageous what they charge to tourists for drinks. Real percolated coffee served with biscuits in the Nile Steinberger with beautiful views of the Nile costs 15 LE and that is for a pot of coffee.

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Post by drwho » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:08 am

The whole Abu Zeid group are one huge rip-off organization and should be discouraged by word of mouth, this site and any other method possible..8)

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Post by Glyphdoctor » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:53 am

We took a group to Alex a few weeks ago and ate lunch as a group at a restaurant I have been to before with a group of friends on our own. The drinks menu they gave us had soft drinks at 20LE each, which I am sure is not the same as if you order off the regular menu. Needless to say, not a single one of us ordered any drinks. The quality of the group meal was poor compared to what I had enjoyed before ordering off the regular menu as well.

On the other hand, you have to realize how the pricing at these restaurants works. They give very deep discounts to groups via tour operators and make up the difference in the drinks. That is why drinks are never included in the price of tours. Tour operators are able to sell the tours for cheaper but the terms and conditions of such tours always list the drinks as not being part of the price so everything is made clear up front. In the end, you probably wind up paying the same as if you walked in there on your own but it is just split in a different manner with regards to food and drink. Of course one can always order a glass of water for free if one wants so no one has to go thirsty at a meal.

Also, 12LE for a juice in a nice environment is not a lot. I had dinner recently at a nice restaurant here and juices were 16LE and 20LE off the regular menu, whereas the minimum for ordering food is 120LE. And this is a restaurant that tourists don't go to, only locals and embassy types.

In any case, if you are concerned about the prices in any restaurant, ask before ordering or ask to see the menu. Then you can decide whether it is worth it to you. It is rude not to ask and then only leave what you think it should be, when you could have known this beforehand.

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Post by LivinginLuxor » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:02 am

Yes, I could have asked for a menu, but I thought that the place was as informal as many of the coffee shops and cafes that I have visited. I think what really riled me when the menu was waved in front of me by a slightly angry manager who must have wondered why a Brit had the temerity to question a price in Luxor, was that I saw that a Coke was 10LE - That I thought was probably a fair price for something that was bought in, but 12 for a made on the spot lemon juice was pure exploitation!

I don't ask for discounts, by the way, Kevin. I think that the best answer to that was given by Mohammed, the owner of the Ramesseum Rest - You pay the same as an Egyptian because you are one of our brothers!
I might agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong!
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Post by Countessa » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:30 am

The Abou Zeid restaurants (including Mubarak & Suzanne Mubarak Gardens) have two versions of the menu - one in English (with higher prices) and another in Arabic.

We only noticed this on one occasion when we were given English menus - thought nothing of it and placed our order. It was only when the bill came and it was 4x what we usually pay that my husband questioned it. He called the manager over who explained that even if there is one foreigner in the group the whole group will be subject to the English menu prices - needless to say he got short shrift from my husband!

I have absolutely no objection to paying 15LE (or whatever) for a drink if that's the same price that everyone else is paying, there are many such places in Cairo where that's the norm. But what realllllllly makes me mad is that some restaurant owners think it's okay to charge you 3x / 4x for something just because of your nationality - can you imagine if the same thinking was applied anywhere else?!?!!
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Post by Goddess » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:53 am

Countessa wrote: I have absolutely no objection to paying 15LE (or whatever) for a drink if that's the same price that everyone else is paying, there are many such places in Cairo where that's the norm.
Too true.

Do lots of restaurants in Luxor go in for this dual pricing thing? Must admit to never coming across it up here.
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Post by Kevininabydos » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:38 am

LivinginLuxor wrote: I don't ask for discounts, by the way, Kevin. I think that the best answer to that was given by Mohammed, the owner of the Ramesseum Rest - You pay the same as an Egyptian because you are one of our brothers!
That is my point Stan! You quite often get a discount because you, a Brit live here but the Brit tourists at the next table do not. What made you think it wouldn't be expensive any way, a new restaurant/cafe over looking Luxor in a new Governorate building with high rents...... Egyptians watching football on a restaurant/cafe TV tend to smoke sheesha and have chi which is standard price to Egyptians everywhere outside the hotels. You are lucky they didn't send the police after you which was within their rights to do! You wouldn't have got away with that in the UK.
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Post by Countessa » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:23 am

Kevininabydos wrote:
LivinginLuxor wrote: I don't ask for discounts, by the way, Kevin. I think that the best answer to that was given by Mohammed, the owner of the Ramesseum Rest - You pay the same as an Egyptian because you are one of our brothers!
That is my point Stan! You quite often get a discount because you, a Brit live here but the Brit tourists at the next table do not. What made you think it wouldn't be expensive any way, a new restaurant/cafe over looking Luxor in a new Governorate building with high rents...... Egyptians watching football on a restaurant/cafe TV tend to smoke sheesha and have chi which is standard price to Egyptians everywhere outside the hotels. You are lucky they didn't send the police after you which was within their rights to do! You wouldn't have got away with that in the UK.
Where, oh where, is the raised eyebrow smilie when you need it??!!!!

Kevin, as a Brit living in Luxor, let me tell you that never once have I received a discount because I live here, and in keeping with my belief that dual-pricing is unfair, never would I expect / ask for one.

As I said in my previous post, I believe the high price of drinks etc isn't the issue, it's the fact that some owners have no qualms about having two sets of menus / price lists printed for presenting to customers of different nationalities - how on earth can that be fair?

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Post by Horus » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:27 pm

I would say that as Luxor becomes more upmarket as some advocate on here, then you should not be surprised to see the prices shooting up. Even the lowliest coffee shop will raise its prices in keeping with those who charge the higher prices, it is just a matter of keeping the same price differential to attract your customers. As more and more of the West Bank becomes ‘tourist friendly’ then the sharks will move in to milk the extra opportunities that become available, therefore a new supermarket on the West Bank with all mod cons will eventually start to charge the same as his counterpart on the East Bank with similar goods as he will be catering for the same clientele, its called supply and demand.

The dual pricing system has to me always been an anathema, it is quite understandable that a certain area of any tourist destination will be more expensive to eat, drink or shop in. Take somewhere like Paris for example, if you eat or drink in the area around the Eiffel Tower you will pay a lot more than eating in some of the other areas like the Latin Quarter which although touristy, still have cheap food outlets. Although this makes a fair comparison to Luxor, the same pricing options do not apply, you would not expect to buy from a crepe outlet and be charged far more than a Parisian for the same item.

If you wine and dine in a top class restaurant or hotel anywhere in the world you would be charged on the perceived value of the food and service you had received and not upon your nationality. It may be designed to attract a certain nationality and with it their ability to pay higher prices, but that business would have been set up to attract a certain level of custom and you either fit the profile and pay the prices or you go elsewhere to eat and drink. In my opinion It is fair to try and charge whatever you can for your goods and services and in a fair world we would then make our own choice to buy or not.

What is not fair is to charge one price for the tourist and another for a local, especially if the goods on offer are the same. Like most other visitors to Egypt I have been caught out by the inflated pricing system where I have sat down in good faith and ordered a drink only to be presented with some ridiculous bill based purely upon the fact that I am a tourist. Ok I should have looked at the menu, but in common with most people on holiday, after a few days in anywhere new I have usually acquainted myself with the local prices, alas this does not apply to Egypt as the norm seems to be to charge the highest price you can get away with regardless of the environment it was offered in.
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Post by drwho » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:59 pm

I popped into Maro at one of the Saturday lectures ordered a beer, received a 330ml can of Heineken at 20le that is a small can now that's a rip off in anyones book....8)

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Post by lotusflower » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:50 pm

Abu Zeid also have a restaurant in the Nubian Culture Centre and the prices for drinks there are much higher than what they charge in the centre of Luxor. Seems they are the monopoly in Luxor at present. I think also they own the restaurant on front of the Etab. (down the steps on the corniche)

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Post by lotusflower » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:56 pm

Mind you I had a free dinner on the house in the Abu Zeid restaurant opposite the Pyramids in Cairo many years ago through a business contact of theirs!

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Post by drwho » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:16 pm

bet it was cheap crap, like the rest of their food.
The 'Nubian Centre, any-one been their ? Yet.....8)

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Post by lotusflower » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:49 pm

I have been there a couple of times. The gardens are quite nice. Not much in the line of nubian crafts to view and what was on view was quite expensive such as 60LE for a small hand made cup or mug and 80 Le for a small ashtray.

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Post by BBLUX » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:14 pm

I suspect the "craft centre" has become a shameless hook to draw people in to the cafe.
Last year when my son and his partner were here we tried 3 times to visit the craft centre. We dropped them off at the entrance having first been told the centre was definitely open. We drove on to the bank and when we returned found the centre had, in fact, been closed but they had been guided to the cafe where they were ripped off for 15LE for a soft drink and 25LE for a 330ml beer! We made a further 2 attempts to go to the craft centre but it was never open. The cafe was always open!
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Post by Glyphdoctor » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:33 pm

I agree having two different menus with different prices is wrong and I will not frequent or recommend a place that has such a system, even if I can get the cheaper price. It's a matter of principle and I refuse to support it.

That said, this problem can be easily avoided by expats who move to Luxor by learning Arabic. Then you can immediately see the prices are different and steer clear of the restaurant in the first place.

The vast majority of grouching and complaining about being tricked financially among expats, whether on the price of a Coke or a piece of land, is due to a lack of ability to understand Arabic. It doesn't excuse the people who do the tricking, but being able to speak, read and understand the language makes life here so much less stressful and easier that at some point you have to admit if you want to live here and enjoy your life here that you need to learn the language to reduce the problems.

Since I have been back in Egypt now for over a year and a half I have had a total of ONE incident in all this time where anyone tried to trick me and that was at a bakery I have frequented hundreds of times without any problems and some boy tried to stiff me out of 40g of buqsumat and my husband complained to the manager and he has since been fired. Luxor may be a bit different but in my daily life I just don't even worry about the possibility of being tricked because it is such a rare thing.

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Post by LivinginLuxor » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Yes - although I have extremely miniscule arabic, I understand the numbering system, and can easily read arabic numerals - I think that is the first thing anyone living here should know. Even so, that doesn't stop the attempts - I once bought some trousers, after seeing the price on them, but the shopkeeper kept telling me that it was the stock number! He did not get away with that scam!
I might agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong!
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Post by pinkmagic » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:40 pm

I remember buying some incense on a market stall in Luxor. There were 2 prices clearly displayed, 1 in English and 1 in Arabic and both different. I gave him the Arabic price and he was none to pleased to say the least but had to accept it!
I think having 2 seperate prices for everyday items is disgusting and immoral. I couldn't care less what someone in a tourist bazaar wants to charge for a stuffed camel but for everyday essential items its wrong. Don't get me started on the pricing system for the Luxor ferry!

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