Not a perk? Well, we’ll just make it one.

buvetteIt seems ridiculous, but the new management of the cafe inside the Chamber of Deputies has had to take drastic action. For the first time since 2006 when the sign one sees in many Italian coffee bars – Please get your receipt before ordering –  was first posted at the buvette of Montecitorio, the pay-first rule is finally being enforced.

The private company that took over the cafe runs the cafè says its accounts came up far too short last year – according to press reports about 30 percent less than expected – and something had to be done about the “onorevoli” (the honorables) who would wander off without actually paying for their coffees, aperitivi or snacks.

buvette2According to those press reports the Compass Group expected to take in some 100,000 more than they did. So to the annoyance of many deputies, they have now put their figurative foot down and have marshaled a group of Chamber employees with experience in the field to keep their eyes on what the press her is called “gli onorevoli scrocconi”, the honourable scroungers.

Naturally, not all of the MPs are scrounging; supposedly, it is only a minority. Some of them could be old-timers used to the old-days when coffee and snacks inside the parliament were so cheap that they were almost free. Or it could be the newcomers who suffer from an exaggerated sense of entitlement. In any event, it is outrageous. Not only because prices at the buvette are still fairly reasonable but because between salary, perks and –  later on –  pensions, Italian parliamentarians are among the most highly paid in all of Europe.

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