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Shocked by extreme food prices at airport, man insists to purchase one bite of sandwich for 50 rupees

23, Apr 2015 By Pagla Ghoda

Mumbai. Pankaj Kulkarni, a resident of Matunga and a fierce foodie-rights activist is in news yet again for strange reasons. This time around he stirred heated arguments with the staff of an airport coffee shop for not letting him consume a single bite of sandwich for 50 rupees. He apparently even offered to just dig his teeth in the sandwich for 10 rupees and let go of the whole piece intact.

Coffee shop staff being clueless on how to handle such a situation called airport security and CISF personnel but Mr. Kulkarni did not relent on his demands. He was finally calmed down when the coffee shop staff agreed to provide him a small mineral water bottle free-of-cost for which they otherwise charge 117 rupees. Mr. Kulkarni earlier had refused to pay service tax at an eating joint and few weeks back even asked for a 50% discount at a buffet restaurant. He narrated the current incident to our reporters over a viber call.

Empty Lounge due to high rates
Empty Lounge due to high rates

“Increased prices and taxes on food have made me reduce my diet a lot. While I do eat out regularly I have to watch my food budget very carefully to avoid over-spending on food else it cuts deep into my savings. I usually spend 30 to 40 rupees on a meal, except on special occasions when I can stretch to Rs 50. But what I witnessed at the airport bistro was too much to bear. I was shocked to see a simple veg sandwich being sold for 275 rupees plus taxes at the airport bistro. I cannot see any logic behind two slices of cucumber and 1 slice of tomato sandwiched between 2 pieces of bread laced with cheap cream being sold for such a high price.”

“I did not want to do a cost-benefit analysis of that sandwich as I had a plane to catch hence I offered them that I will just have one mid-sized bite into the sandwich and I’ll pay 40 rupees for that. I later raised my bid to Rs. 50 but they simply did not relent. Infact the staff at bistro misbehaved with me calling me stingy and what not. I was shocked at the downgraded level of customer service these guys provide,” Mr. Kulkarni said with pain in his voice.

On being asked on what he will do next, Mr Kulkarni revealed his future plans in detail, “I am going to start a small online consulting firm for small and medium size airport restaurants where in I will provide consulting on sleek menu-choices and affordable pricing of food items. I plan to break down the available food items and consumables to the extent that normal airport visitors can also taste them and not feel robbed.”

Mr. Kulkarni even gave a glimpse of his “work-in-progress” ideal restaurant menu which he is working on. Below are some of the dishes passengers may witness at the airport.

  • Airport Special Samosa 1 bite – ₹ 15
  • Airport Special Coffee 1 sip – ₹ 10  [2 sips – ₹ 15]
  • Airport Special Salad lettuce (single) leaf with 4 drops of mayo – ₹ 22 [₹ 7 extra for each additional drop of mayo]
  • Airport Special Juice 1 sip – ₹ 17
  • Airport Special mineral water 1 ml – ₹ 6 [2 ml – ₹ 11]