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No such thing as a free coffee

***This post was quoted in The Independent and Report UK… here’s Kate’s outraged post over the loss of her free Waitrose skim lattes…. (was meant to be a bit of a joke…) ‪#‎Waitrose‬ ‪#‎freecoffee‬

Shopping trolley and children in the seats

Got my bags and my buddies, now all I need is my free coffee and we’re ready to shop!

Oh Waitrose. I have loved you since I first moved to the UK, your wide, uncrowded shopping isles packed with lots of organic and Fairtrade and free range goodies – not to mention all the great quality Waitrose Essential items that are so far from actually being essential, but nonetheless right at the very core of our wholesome, middleclass, weekly menu plan. I have long considered myself smack-bang in the demographic of every cliche that must be said about Waitrose customers, and not for a moment have I ever felt bad about it. In fact it’s a relief to be so understood: You KNOW me, Waitrose.

Then, to top it all off you offered me a free coffee. Not just the one when I had my purse stolen in your store (though no thief was ever identified I was thoroughly assured, much to my relief, that it wasn’t a Waitrose customer who had perpetrated this crime). No, one of your lovely “Partners” (there are no staff at Waitrose, they’re all Partners… awwww) happily made me a free coffee every time I arrived at the concierge desk, my trolley loaded with reusable bags and squawking toddlers.

And it wasn’t just me you were plying with free coffee, it was everyone. Every day. Happiness is free coffee, right?

I guess you could say that one thing led to another and the Waitrose cafe has kind of become a popular meeting place for me and my fellow MyWaitrose loyalty card holders. Perhaps it’s part of our newly found Recession Chic. If I’m heading down that way for shopping purposes, it has become a habit to text a couple of friends and arrange to meet up over coffee before or after the shop… just a quick hello, catch up and then off to the isles. And with the remainder of my free latte in hand, it’s just so NICE.

It’s not just that it’s free – I’m quite capable of buying a coffee for myself – it’s just such a friendly gesture and one which I – and many other customers, I’m sure – have raved about to each other. I can’t tell you how many My Waitrose loyalty card forms I have handed out to friends and family, explaining that with their free card, those lovely, lovely Partners at Waitrose will give them a free coffee every single day of the year, just because you like to treat their customers well. More awwwww.

But today I hear that our free coffees are going to be taken away and I’m worried. I understand that 1000’s of customers demanding their favourite brew each and every day must tot up to quite a big bean bill, but you must have realised that before you started..? And how are those poor, sweet Partners in their stripy grey shirts and shiny green ties ever going to confront us entitled customers when we try to sit in the cafe with our free coffee? How will they shoo us away, or explain as a spokesperson did in The Guardian that we have misunderstood the etiquette of the offer. The etiquette… ouch!

Why, just the other day I overheard someone asking what had happened to the free biscotti she used to get with her free coffee and the lovely Barista Partner had to explain that they weren’t giving them away anymore, but then quickly placed one on the side of the lady’s coffee with a wink and a smile. Imagine if he had given her a quick dressing down on her etiquette instead! (Can I suggest that you don’t include the word etiquette in your Partner training on how to deal with pesky free-coffee cafe goers.)

Well, good luck with this new strategy Waitrose. I can’t see you making many friends with it. Us Waitrose shoppers are a funny bunch and though we can in the main manage to splash out on coffee for ourselves if desired, it seems like a bit of a slap to be told we’re being punished for our rudeness in accepting your offer in the first place… It’s time I gave up coffee anyway.

x Kate

16 Dilemmas Only People Who Have The Free Coffee At Waitrose Will Understand

From Buzzfeed: “16 Dilemmas Only People Who Have The Free Coffee At Waitrose Will Understand”

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