Perish, scumbags who work at La Jijonenca, Av Gaudí!

There are two really important things which you need to learn if you’re going to enjoy living in Barcelona:

  1. How to avoid getting pickpocketed.
  2. How to avoid getting a huge beer when you asked the waiter for a small one.

I’m pretty good at both these tricks now, but I just want to draw attention to something which happened today.

I and a couple of charming, elderly relatives who I was showing round town stopped a block up from the Sagrada Família for an ice-cream in what, on the basis of prior visits with a Catalan girl, I thought was fairly safe territory. Relying on my advice, the relatives went inside, indicated that they would like small cones with a couple of dollops, and came out and sat down. The waitress turned up five minutes later with three cones so big that there was no space on the counter to display them publicly. Each cone contained roughly a kilo of ice, and the proposed bill was as big as your average waitress’s daily earnings.

I’m not going to complain to the police, I’m not going to discuss the troll-like intellect and appearance of the waitress, and I’m not going to comment on a commercial culture that is so widespread in Catalonia that it is not surprising that tourists increasingly prefer Turkey. All I want to say is that if you are foreign and you go to the La Jijonenca franchise at Avinguda de Gaudí 30, the chance is that the staff will try to rob you blind.

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  1. Since I love ice cream I must also love capitalism, because it is clear that the spread of the former tends to be preceded by the spread of the latter. However, capitalism can only function when exchanges take place under transparent, enforceable conditions, and this is frequently not the case in contacts between Catalan hostelries and foreigners. In general, the Catalan tourist industry is aware that it is charging too much for too little, and a delegation from Girona went to London at the end of May to plead with package operators not to leave the Costa Brava.

  2. Our terrible legal system means that it is also difficult for people here to enforce any kind of contracts. People here protest against capitalism but they don’t know what capitalism is really like.

  3. Trevor, you’re one weird guy…

    You don’t need to discuss and obviously it’s not necessary to call the police. It’s as simple as saying to waitress “we didnt order this, bring us the small ice creams”. I dont know about that particular place, but all heladerias I know, show the different ice cream sizes with their prices.

    And of course in turkey, morocco or wherever they don’t “rob” tourists… Geez… Were you born yesterday?.

  4. When the bloody things arrived I wondered whether the relatives might have gone mad and ordered monsters, but then it clicked. They didn’t want a scene, so they tried to eat them. It’s a standard scam, just like the pickpockets on la Rambla.

    Yes, of course people rob tourists in Turkey and Morocco, but the base price is lower so the damage is less. Bars in Catalonia either need to treat visitors like bars in northern Europe do or adopt a 3rd world pricing scheme.

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