Waitrose loyalty scheme members have taken to social media in their droves to roast the retailer after it confirmed they will now have to make a purchase before getting their free cup of coffee or tea.
The writing had been on the wall since October last year, when Waitrose introduced the cutbacks in a handful of stores in the South East.
At the time the company said: “The trial in eight of our shops simply asks customers to confirm they’ve made a purchase, before picking up their free coffee. There’s no minimum spend for this purchase. The hot free drink we offer has always been our ‘thank you’ to people who shop with us – so this trial is simply asking people to confirm that they are shoppers. So, actually, no change and nothing new.”
However, MyWaitrose customers are a bullish lot. One told the Independent: “I spend a not insubstantial sum each and every week and now I am required to take extra time to buy something in advance of my main shop. I enjoy glugging my coffee as I peruse the shelves. It seems I am now destined to balance the cup as I unload the bags into the boot.”
Comments on Twitter include: “But I want coffee as I shop”; “Waitrose free coffee is ending, which means life no longer has any joy”; “How can I enjoy a free tea or coffee while I shop at Waitrose if I have to buy something first? Not happy with this change at all”; and “No more free coffee at Waitrose. You have to buy something first. I blame Brexit.”
Yet some have welcomed the move, saying it will reduce the number of freeloaders clogging up the stores.
Even so, MoneySavingExpert.com pointed out that customers could qualify for a hot drink by paying “just a few pennies” due to the fact that Waitrose has no minimum spend rule. “If you want to still get your hot drink without spending a latte (sorry), get creative,” it said, before suggesting buying single grapes, carrots or sprouts.
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