22 March 2014

There's a price to pay, for free coffee!

As a coffee shop social entrepreneur, I realise the value of the freebie giveaway, as much as anyone, be they consumer or business owner. I've used the lure of a plain and simple free coffee promotion to introduce new customers to our business, to make sure they know of our existence, to let them experience the taste, atmosphere and service first hand. I used part of my marketing budget to pay for the free coffees that we gave out to promote ourselves and found it a very successful campaign. The free coffee is a great way to welcome new faces into your business. However the Waitrose scheme of giving out free coffee is finally resulting in a backlash and comments. I've held my tongue for a longtime about the free coffee offer from Waitrose, for fear of promoting it, however now that it has hit the national headlines, I'm confident that the comments I have to make can only do some good for communities across the UK.

A business based on giving away free coffee for months and months on end, devalues the product and is not sustainable. Waitrose get the money from somewhere to pay for that free coffee and sorry to say, if you shop there it's from you and if you work there, it's from your payout!

I have made the conscious decision not to shop at Waitrose or John Lewis anymore, I prefer to support local independent businesses any way, as they are the backbone of our economy but I have in the past shopped in Waitrose because I believed it was a business with high values and high ethics Every member of staff in Waitrose is a partner, each one of them is responsible for the decision to give out free coffees.

I suggest:
1/ If you work in Waitrose, campaign to change the benefits that are offered to customers.

2/If you love your local coffee shop, go there for coffee and DON'T shop at Waitrose!

3/ If you are an independent coffee shop owner, support your local shops and do not shop in Waitrose. Tell your staff, your friends and family to boycott Waitrose.

4/If you are the Mum, Dad, family, friend of an independent coffee shop owner, boycott Waitrose.

5/ If you work in an independent coffee shop, please don't shop in Waitrose or John Lewis, their free coffee shenanigans, might mean you don't have job!

Waitrose present themselves as an ethical company that support the community, you can see for yourself that they are destroying the infrastructure of the community.

If you care about consumer choice and variety, if you care about ethics, then please boycott Waitrose and John Lewis and any other associated business.

Whilst you have money to spend, you still have a choice, hit Waitrose where it hurts, their profits.

They say they give free coffee as a reward, only to shoppers who do a majority of their grocery shopping with them, this is a lie, get a MyWaitrose Card and claim your free coffee everyday, without spending a single penny.

In fact, I would encourage you to go to Waitrose every day, for your free coffee, don't buy anything. Drink the coffee, or pour it away, especially if it tastes nasty, then go to your local independent coffee shop, and get them to fill your cup with their almost certainly better tasting coffee, made with experience, love and care and breathe in the smell of feeling good, breathe in the delight of being able to say NO to Waitrose and having the choice and power as a consumer to make your views known about unethical business practices.

The power of the pound in your pocket is a wonderful thing!
And nothing can replace a great tasting cup of coffee.

I hope you will support me in my Mindful Shopper campaign and use your free cuppa to help your local independent coffee shop to thrive!

There's a price to pay for coffee and if Mark Price the head of Waitrose prefers to ignore that, then he will ultimately pay the price!

I wonder what John Lewis, the founder of Waitrose, who came from Shepton Mallet, where I now have my second shop, would think about all this.

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