must-wine-barSo, you think Perth is an expensive place to eat out? That’s because it is.

But this is nothing new. As increasing numbers of American sailors arrived in Perth during WWII, dining establishments realised they could hike up their prices and the visitors would have no choice but to pay up.

This blatant profiteering was everywhere condemned, but it didn’t stop the cafes and restaurants ripping off their customers. (Does this sound at all familiar?)

One local, Gavin Casey, complained that he was charged threepence for a solitary, small tomato on his plate. And at the same food stall, two shillings for the contents of a five-penny tin of spaghetti, a penny roll, a little butter, and a very small cup of coffee.

Gavin was outraged to have to pay two shillings for a hamburger and coffee, sixpence for another small cup of coffee, and a further sixpence for a small cup of milk.

Who can believe that it cost three shillings for a piece of steak? Especially when Gavin had to grill it himself over an open fire, although the establishment did supply a single piece of bread and butter to accompany the meat.

Dodgy Perth is not entirely sure that Mr Casey frequented the highest-class restaurants. Even at those prices.

In 1942, some restaurants were even getting so greedy as to demand a three shilling ‘cover charge’ from each diner, without bothering to provide entertainment or anything else to justify the money.

You can’t imagine feeling that ripped off in modern Perth can you? Oh, you can.