Smarting from double loss
By Ramadan A. Kader
Last week, Egyptians watched in frustration as their national team slumped to a 3-1 loss to Russia at the World Cup. The rout dashed the Pharaohs ‘hopes for securing a slot in the tournament’s knockout stage. In their Group A opener played on June 15, the Pharaohs lost 1-0 to Uruguay.
The nation’s café owners have a second reason to feel frustrated. They pinned high hopes on the squad’s appearance at the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. The Pharaohs’ early exit shattered the café owners’ expectations of doing a thriving business.
Some of them have already felt the fallout from the shock defeat to Russia. As Egypt conceded the third goal in the second half, some patrons, who were watching the game at coffee shops, left in disillusionment without paying their bills, according to a local newspaper.
“People felt devastated and a large number of them left without paying the price of their drinks,” said Mahmoud Reda, an owner of a local café. “It was not a loss for the team, but for me too,” he told Al-Watan newspaper.
The man added that he attempted to stop customers from leaving the place, but to no avail. “This sometimes happens amid anger at results of crucial matches. Not all the people who leave without settling their bills do this intentionally. Some of them return the following day and pay the money.”
In a precautionary measure, some café owners usually increase the number of their employees in the run-up to do-or-die matches, which attract many audiences eager to watch them in congregation at coffee shops.
This tactic did not save the day for Salah Rabae, who owns a café in Cairo’s northern district of Shubra. “We could not contain the situation following the third goal by Russia,” he said. “Some clients paid the expenses of the service and left immediately. Others left without paying,” Rabae fumed.
Setting a new rule for the future, he vowed to request customers to foot their bills during match breaks.
“There are people who leave in anger and even burst out crying over the loss. They pay later,” he said. “But, there are others, who take advantage of the situation and clumsily leave without paying.”