A Chinese customer left a seafood restaurant in the city of Qingdao with a bad taste in his mouth after claiming he was overcharged for prawns.
The diner ordered a dish of prawns that appeared to be marked at 38 yuan (£4, $6) on the menu, reported local media. But he was later told the menu had specified the price was for each prawn, and was asked to pay 1,520 yuan (£160; $240) for the dish.
The restaurant has attracted intense criticism on Chinese social media.
The customer, identified as Mr Zhu by local media, was a Nanjing native on holiday in Qingdao with his family. On Sunday they visited the Shande Live Seafood and Barbecued Home-Cooked Dishes restaurant for dinner. Pictures of the restaurant’s menu carried by news outlets showed it had listed “ocean-caught large prawns” for 38 yuan. Mr Zhu said he ordered the dish and was served a platter of 40 prawns stir-fried in garlic.
When presented with the bill, which came up to 2,700 yuan including the cost of other dishes, Mr Zhu confronted the restaurant owner, who pointed to a line at the bottom of the menu which stated that “the seafood listed above is priced per item”. Mr Zhu refused to pay, and said the restaurant owner pulled out a stick and threatened to beat him up. The police were called in, and after negotiations Mr Zhu paid 2,000 yuan.
The unnamed restaurant owner told Beijing Youth Daily that he charged such high prices because his prawns were freshly caught. The case has made waves on microblogging network Sina Weibo, where “38 yuan large prawn” has become a trending topic. Netizens have lambasted the restaurant owner as greedy and shameless. Said user Maitianiam: “After cheating people he still wants to justify himself, he knows no shame.” “The next time I’m having a meal in Qingdao I’d better ask how much each grain of rice or each noodle costs, or else I might get beaten up!” said YanchixiaS.
Others noted that Mr Zhu still had to pay a large sum of money for the meal, and took issue with local authorities for failing to help him. “What’s hateful about this isn’t just this unscrupulous merchant, but also the police and industry bureau… where can consumers get help from?” said user ACmilanshefuqinke.