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Customer demands refund for $16 mini Coke and juice at Bondi beach: ‘Ludicrous’

Would you pay this for two small drinks?

A Bondi woman said she thought her local cafe had made a mistake when she recently stopped in for a can of coke and a bottle of juice. Francesca and her friend were walking along Australia’s most iconic beach on Sunday morning when they popped by Promenade Bondi Beach.

“We wanted a drink so we just went to the kiosk there and ordered a couple of drinks,” the 45-year-old woman told Yahoo Finance.

“There wasn’t a menu with prices and to be honest I didn’t think about it [the bill] because I just expected it to cost the same as what it normally would if you got drinks from somewhere like that — no more than $10-ish.”

Promenade Bondi Beach's kiosk with people seated (left) and people purchasing food (right).
The Bondi local was appalled that Promenade Bondi Beach was charging $15.95 for a mini can of coke and a bottle of juice. Source: Instagram/Promenade Bondi Beach (Instagram/Promenade Bondi Beach)

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It wasn’t until the second after Francesca had tapped her bank card that she saw the final price of $16.19.

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As seen on the receipt for the Queen Elizabeth Avenue business, the 250ml can of "mini" Coke Zero came in at $6.60 while the 300ml bottle of Tropi Cool was $9.35, coming to $15.95. A Visa handling fee of 24 cents had also been included in the total price.

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In comparison, you can buy six Zero Sugar mini cans of Coke for $6.75 at Woolworths, just 15 cents more than what the kiosk is charging for one, while a Tropi Cool bottle is $4.19 at Harris Farm Markets.

“I asked if they had made a mistake but they said no and we asked for the bill,” Francesca said. “I honestly couldn’t believe that price, especially as you didn’t even get a proper full-size can of Coke!”

The pair asked for a refund “straight away”, which the cafe gave “without any hassle”.

“I do get that it is in a place where they have to pay high rents etc, and it’s on the beach, but I’ve lived in Bondi for four years and get drinks from places like that all the time,” Francesca explained.

“It’s just a ludicrous price!”

Francesca's receipt (left), a can of zero sugar Coke (middle) and a bottle of Tropi Cool juice (right)
The woman and her friend just wanted a drink while on their walk, but quickly asked for a refund when they saw this bill. (Source: Facebook/Coles/Harris Farm Market) (Facebook & Coles & Harris Farm Market)

When it comes to prices, it's all about location, location, location Professor Gary Mortimer from QUT Business School told Yahoo Finance.

He said that context is key when it comes to making purchases.

“Naturally, if you’re going to buy it at a corner store in Penrith somewhere, you’ll probably pay a little less,” he said. “But the Promenade at Bondi Beach is a predominant location, it is a prestigious location, and the owners of the cafe would be paying top dollar on their rent costs and that would be reflected in some ways in the retail prices charged.

“If you're in a premium location, you’re going to have to pay more for rent and you’re going to have to set your retail prices accordingly, to make the business viable.”

Bondi beach seen from the air.
A retail expert wasn't surprised at the cost of the drinks, saying that's what you pay if you shop at Bondi beach. (Source: Getty Images) (Getty Images)

While it wasn’t just the total amount that Francesca was annoyed by, but how the kiosk got to that cost, because while the receipt says “gratuity has been added to the bill” to thank staff, the amount is not broken down.

As part of the Promenade Bondi Beach, both the Dining Room restaurant and Beach Bar sell soft drinks for $6, while a 5 per cent gratuity is added to all bills and 10 per cent on Sundays. However, this is removable upon request.

But Francesca said she wasn’t made aware of this tip when putting through her order, and fumed that she was expected to pay it when she wasn’t dining in.

“It’s a bit of a joke isn’t it, especially as it’s takeaway,” she argued.

While Professor Mortimer said “it seems unusual that the state of gratuity has been charged without listing the gratuity”.

“And while it’s not uncommon in restaurants to charge a gratuity, generally if the diner is actually sitting in and taking up a table or glassware, it does seem a little unusual to charge a gratuity if it’s simply takeaway," he added.

Yahoo Finance reached out to Promenade Bondi Beach for comment but hadn't heard back at the time of publication.

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