Restaurant Bills Toddler for Dirty Tablecloth

Italian family billed for messing up a restaurant’s tablecloth


A family of Italian tourists was stunned when a restaurateur charged them $18 for dirtying a tablecloth.

Tablecloths and napkins can be pretty to look at, but their primary job is to protect a table and people’s clothes from being stained or damaged by food, so one generally expects that a tablecloth will get dirty every once in a while. That’s why one family was stunned this week when an Italian restaurant charged them for dirtying the tablecloth.

According to The Local, a family from Rome was traveling with a 20-month-old child when they visited the Baja Sardinia restaurant in Sardinia. Everything had gone well, until the family received the check and saw that they had been charged 16 euros, or about $18, for getting the tablecloth dirty. After paying, the family reportedly went right to the police to report the incident. The restaurant’s owner, however, says the charge was justified to pay to have the tablecloth cleaned.

“We don't normally charge people like this but the tablecloth and napkins are linen and the charge just covers the expense of dry-cleaning them,” said owner Giuseppe Di Natale, who said that the mess was not just pasta sauce but also some ink as well, because the little girl was drawing with pens.

“The waiter brought us those pens!” the girl’s father said. “My daughter was drawing on paper but some of it must have soaked through to the table cloth.”

It that is true, it was very nice of the restaurant staff to offer the little girl some pens and paper to draw with, but they might want to invest in some less precious linens if they’re going to have to pay $18 apiece to clean them.