Happiness Coffee and Pastry Shop Chain Introduces Surcharge for Foreigners
August 23, 2016
There is an additional fee for groups of foreigners at the Happiness (Schastie) coffee and pastry shop on St. Isaac’s Square in Petersburg. A Paperpaper.ru editor discovered this while visiting the establishment. A surcharge of ten percent is added to the final bill.
The reasons for the surcharge are not spelled out either in the menu or on the bill. As the establishment’s manager explained to Paperpaper.ru, the surcharged was introduced at the “director’s personal orders.” Besides, the manager assured us that a line explaining the practice would soon appear in the menu.
The surcharge was confirmed by phone calls to the Happiness outlets on St. Isaac’s Square and Rubinstein Street.
The chain’s management informed Paperpaper.ru that the surcharge was indeed enforced in all of its outlets, but only vis-a-vis groups consisting wholly of foreigners. The rule has been in effect since November 2015. According to the chain’s rules, waiters warn customers that a ten-percent service charge will appear on their bill. Management also confirmed to Paperpaper.ru that the rule would be spelled out in the menu.
Article 62.3 of the Russian Federal Constitution states, “Foreign nationals and stateless persons shall enjoy in the Russian Federation the rights and bear the obligations of citizens of the Russian Federation, except for cases envisaged by federal law or international agreement of the Russian Federation.”
In addition, Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees “equality of rights and freedoms of human and citizen, regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property and official status, place of residence, religion, convictions, membership of public associations, and also of other circumstances.”
Message on the home page of the Central Barbershop website: “The services in our barbershops are provided in strict keeping with in-house standards of service [sic], operating procedures, and service [sic]. You can be refused a service if it does not according with the company in-house standards. It is prohibited in the barbershop to bring or imbibe alcoholic beverages, for the female sex to be present, [and] for member of a non-traditional orientation [sic[ to be on the premises.” Curiously, all this discrimination is absent from the English-language version of the same page, which only blandly states, “Men’s barber services are performed in accordance with European and American requirements.”
Petersburg Barbershop Refuses to Serve Homosexuals
September 6, 2016
The Petersburg barbershop chain Central Barbershop has refused to serve homosexuals, according to its website. Women are also forbidden from being in its barbershops.
“The issue concerns me, since there are lots of gays and lesbians around. I had a bad experience of interacting with this group of people, and I would not like to see them in my salons. It is terrible they are everywere. But this is not homophobia, because homosexualists [sic] have their own places, and they can go there,” said Mikhail Korets, founder of the barbershop chain.
According to Korets, his employees will politely refuse to serve gays, citing a lack of time or available barbers. He compared this kind of refusal with the work of security guards at nightclubs, which do not let people into their establishments by saying there is no room.
According to Yuri Gavrikov, head of local LGBT organization Equality (Ravnopravie), the Petersburg barbershop chain is involved in discriminating against people. He compared the chain’s decision with racial discrimination in the US during the 20th century.
Translated by the Russian Reader. Thanks to Comrade VZ for the heads-up on the English-language website of the fascist barbers.