OPINION: Cafe kicks customer out for takeaway cup

john mccutcheon

A FEW days ago, my colleague and I stepped out of the newsroom for a coffee.

It was about midday and I'd been working since 6am, so I felt I'd earned a quick walk to a cafe and back for my sanity and, in effect, the well-being of the people who have to put up with me all day.

My colleague knew she had a free coffee voucher at one of the cafes in the area, so we popped in there first.

But after picking it up we decided to head to a different place up the street for some food and my own takeaway coffee.

As we entered the dwelling and waited in a long line, we admired all the different dishes on display in the case next to the counter.

I was so ready to eat and get my dose of caffeine I swear my eyes were the size of golf balls looking at everything on offer.

But when we stepped up to the counter after waiting in line for at least five minutes, my appetite vanished.

The server behind the counter looked at the two of us and then at my colleague's takeaway coffee cup, which was decked out in the other business's festive Christmas design.

I'm not trying to be rude but could you please take that outside?

The server told my colleague she wasn't "trying to be rude, but (could we) please take that outside" - indicating toward the paper cup.

At this point, I'm fairly certain that if anyone had seen my face, it would've been almost comical to watch.

I took a double take and just stared at the woman, disbelief splashed all over my face, which I'm told has never been good at masking my feelings.

My colleague, obviously much more forgiving and gentle than I, agreed immediately and whispered an apology before she made her way toward the door.

But, as you may have guessed, I wasn't having any of it.

Instead, I walked out alongside my embarrassed-old colleague too, the disbelief still all over my ruby red face.

And while I was frustrated I hadn't got my coffee and neither of us had got our lunch, nothing compared to how angry I was at what had just transpired.

So I'd like to know. Am I overreacting?

I was brought up knowing you don't sit down in a restaurant with food or drinks from somewhere else. It's disrespectful.

But we never sat down. We waited in line for several minutes, with the intention to both purchase food and take it back to the office.

And not only did the server fail to consider my colleague may have been there to buy something for herself, but she also lost two customers.

Let me know what you think in the comments: Was this unbelievably rude or is my over-sensitive streak just kicking in again, or is there some sort of middle-ground?

Topics:  cafe coffee customer service lunch observer opinion opinion takeaway

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