by RAY FLEMING
ANECDOTAL evidence that the introduction of the euro has pushed up prices everywhere is not hard to come by. The ITAL/Bulletin's/ files contain any number of letters from tourists saying they won't return to Majorca because the cost of a cup of coffee has doubled with the euro. The problem for those grumbling about this ”rounding–up” is always the lack of hard ”before–and–after” evidence and the defence of supermarkets and bars that prices would have gone up anyway because of other factors, such as the price of raw materials or wage demands. Few of us have the forethought and persistence of Signor Italo Mannucci of Ladispoli on the Italian Lazio coast. It had been the practice of a lifetime for him to stop at a local cafe for a morning cappuccino for which in 2001 he paid what should have become 77 centimos with the transition to the single currency. However, after the change–over he discovered that Signora Sansome, who owned the bar he frequented, was suddenly asking for a nice round ?1. She was unmoved by his protests so he appealed to Italy's main consumer organisation and with its help took Signora Sansome to court. He had some of his old bills to prove his point and was awarded a symbolic 23 centimos plus his legal costs of some ?600. A famous victory which could have been repeated in countless courts throughout euroland if we had all remembered to keep our old bills and had the time to devote to this kind of thing. Signora Sansome was unmoved, saying that inflation was to blame, and that since Italy was a free enterprise country if Signor Mannucci didn't like her prices he could go somewhere else for his cappuccino.

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