Classic Example of Doing Business in Hungary

Since the first time I went to a pub quiz at the Caledonia, I have gone back many many times. Most times, we don’t do very well, usually last or in the middle of the pack. The last time we went though was awesome. We had 6 people on our team, from 6 different countries. We ended up placing 3rd and got our round of drinks on the house. Success! Finally!

I was looking forward to returning to the Caledonia again soon with the same group of people in hope of securing 1st or 2nd place. The Caledonia has almost become a tradition now (they have fantastic burgers!) and I’m a fan of the Bell Havens. But it looks like I won’t be going back to the Caledonia before I leave Hungary.

They are being shut down by the Hungarian government for 2 months following a inspection by the Hungarian customs authority. The biggest culprit? For having more than one bottle of a particular spirit open behind the bar. They were also written up for having alcohol in the kitchen (they use whisky in their cooking).

For the little crime they committed, it seems like such a severe punishment. They have to close for 60 days. Not to mention this will affect everyone that works there, suppliers and customers. With an economy going downwards, wouldn’t the government be trying everything in their power to encourage business? But no, this is Hungary, and that’s just not how things are done here.

With such strict punishments and inconsistency, no wonder businesses don’t survive here. They’ll spend half their effort keeping up to date on the ever changing laws!

See the full story here and read the comments! They’re highly amusing.

Update: Coverage on a Hungarian news portal.

Update 1/10/12: They do not have to close for 2 months pending a final decision to be made by the customs office. In particular, read the comment from Aron Ecsedy. Very typical Hungarian explanation of the various reasons for what happened.