Coffee House

Labour kindly highlights Waitrose’s free coffee scheme

1 March 2014

1 March 2014

At least when the Conservatives blathered on about chocolate oranges, they had the excuse that Britain was feeling pretty good about itself. Today, the party that brought you the cost-of-gymming crisis has taken up a new campaign which just shows how noble and powerful opposition can be. It’s already being branded Labour’s CostaCoffeeCrisis, but it involves an attack on Waitrose for the heinous crime of offering its customers free coffee.

The FT’s Jim Pickard has the story that Labour shadow communities minister Andy Sawford has written to every MP with a local Waitrose asking them to campaign against the offer (which is available through the myWaitrose loyalty scheme, something many people didn’t know about until Labour helpfully pointed it out). He has asked MPs to write to the company’s managing director to argue that ‘his company is acting in a way that will further destroy the British high street’.

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Perhaps he could also write to Nescafé to complain that their very cheap jars of instant coffee are damaging the British high street, too, because consumers can – brace yourself – make their own cut-price coffee at home rather than buying an overpriced beverage in a coffee shop.

Now, it probably is quite annoying for independent coffee shops that there’s a big guy in town (but haven’t we been here before?). But there are, dare I suggest it, a few other rather rubbishy things that the government is doing that Labour could be spending time and energy trying to get cut through and coverage on. When you focus on an amusing and pointless campaign, you detract attention from all your important, worthy, or vote-winning campaigns. That’s why Lynton Crosby was appointed by the Conservatives to engage in some barnacle-removal work.

Still – at least we all know where to get free coffee from now, if we hadn’t before.

 


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Show comments
  • http://www.hypecoffee.com Tom Herd

    how to use a cafetiere to make better coffee is always a tip that i give to people!

  • http://english-pensioner.blogspot.co.uk/ english_pensioner

    No mention of the free newspaper if one spends a fiver. A choice of the Telegraph or Mail must be Tory inspired.
    As for the coffee, there’s always a crowd round the machine and our local Waitrose has nowhere to sit, so I’d rather make my own cup at home and sit and read my free newspaper.

    • glurk

      My local Waitrose sports the Guardian as well as the Telegraph and the Mail but the local coffee shop (one of five I might add, all thriving) leaves hovering in a draft by the free coffee at Waitrose standing. News papers, gossip, friends and warmth in filthy weather. Worth £2.40 of anyone’s money

      • http://english-pensioner.blogspot.co.uk/ english_pensioner

        I use one of the coffee shops when I walk, rather than drive, to the shops. I can’t manage both ways these days without a 15 minute rest, and all the public seats have been smashed and not replaced by the council.

    • mightymark

      Nowhere to sit??? – mine doesn’t even provide any chocolate powder, though it does offer the Guardian too – mind you, it is North London.

  • The Red Bladder

    I rather like Waitrose. I find it keeps the undesirable elements out of Lidl.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      I like Waitrose because you do not have to rub shoulders with scrounging, dishonest left wing scum.

      • The Red Bladder

        I had always assumed that was their supermarket of choice. Since I am lucky enough to live in an area of the country where there are no such people I must bow to your, obviously, superior knowledge of the ilk.

  • monty61

    Tough on supermarkets. But not the causes of supermarkets. Jezzus wept.

  • lgrundy

    It’s nothing to do with destroying the British high street and everything to do with depriving the state of VAT.

    The Labour Party don’t like the idea of free coffee because every cup Waitrose gives away means less money for a future Labour government to ‘redistribute’ to its client state.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Also, it simply hates the thought that somebody, somewhere might be happy. Even if it is just because they got a free cup of coffee.

      • Tim Reed

        “Also, it simply hates the thought that somebody, somewhere might be happy.”

        True, and I would add, “…without their permission”.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Such permission will only be granted to proven Labour voters.

  • PhilJer

    I have a mywaitrose card, and I tried the free coffee once, and never again. It was awful. I carry on buying coffee out at coffee shops as before.

    However I do take advantage of the free newspaper if you spend over £5 at Waitrose. I read the Guardian/Observer and have seen the price soar as they subsidise their free and over cheap on-line versions (why do people who willingly pay such high margins to Apple cannot be charged more is beyond me), with inflation busting increases to the paper version and I only carried on getting the paper version due to the waitrose offer.

  • ButcombeMan

    If Red Ed wants to rail against supermarkets, a better target would be the rigged “two for one offers” which work against the less well off and small households.

    Is this just desperate attention seeking and distraction, after his hopeless indeed mind bogglingly stupid, playing of the Harman/PIE affair?

    He, his deputy and the shadow Chancellor, all, have an absence of basic common sense.

    The thought of them forming the core of the next government is terrifying.

    • HookesLaw

      They might work against people who do not have a fridge or freezer – or a brain too small to manage their shopping needs.

      • ButcombeMan

        Very harsh. You sound as out of touch with the poor as Cameron

        • HookesLaw

          So a cheap offer on food is a bad thing? You are the one sounding like a socialist.

          • ButcombeMan

            I am uncomfortable with big rich business treating the poor, the old, the single household, as badly as they do. that does not make me a socialist.

            If Tesco can sell a product profitably, for one pound, to me (because I can afford to buy two or more) why not sell them at that price to people who only need or can afford, one?

            Why should the poor pay 1-50?

            • robertsonjames

              Because they do. That’s life. Any “cure” would be worse than the disease.

              Why should I have a beautiful wife but my neighbour not? Why should I be having butter croissants for breakfast but my neighbour can only afford toast? Why can I haver a nice Golf but he has a cheap Hyndai?

              Cue leftie cries of “It’s not fair” and “Please Ed, pass a law or set up a quango to distribute wives, breakfast products and motor vehicles on an egailtarian basis”.

              All of these “problems” are not in fact in need of government intervention and definitely do not justify the levels of dictation by the crushing power of an authoritarian state that meddling with them would entail.

              • ButcombeMan

                I never implied government intervention, social pressure can work and good well run businesses will have a social conscience because in the end it makes commercial sense.

  • HookesLaw

    At least it gives Mr Harding a chance to raise a genuine funny.

  • Ricky Strong

    My word, Labour up in arms over free coffee, the EU debating whether pollen is an additive in honey – thank god we have our priorities straight.

    • HookesLaw

      Pollen and (and in) honey is a hot topic.
      http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.UxHGPc5sv_o
      ‘results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”
      The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower
      would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the
      world’s food safety agencies.
      The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the
      European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without
      pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from
      legitimate and safe sources.’

      ‘dozens of others’
      So your smart alec comment is in fact pretty dumb.

      • Ricky Strong

        Fair enough, but again, splenetic.

        • HookesLaw

          factual

  • Magnolia

    It’s all about loss leaders and their morality.
    Our town has lost all of its independent petrol stations because of the supermarket fuel discount/loyalty/undercutting issues.
    Is this bad or is it good?
    Cheaper short term or more expensive long term?
    Less competition when the winner or two takes all?
    Supermarkets provide free parking which undercuts the independent High Street food shops but that’s because the local council likes its cash cow parking permits and tourist parking income to help pay for its state defined legal obligations.
    There’s a lot of conflicts to sort out there.
    Waitrose is going off a bit in my opinion.
    Their magazine just has spicy recipes in now and it’s lost a lot of appeal since they ditched Delia.

    • Makroon

      No, it’s all about an increasingly left-wing Labour wanting to second-guess/interfere in the free market and people’s free choices.

      • Magnolia

        That’s the point I’m trying to make, that loss leaders and the council controlling where you can park is not a ‘free market’.
        Planners gave out permission for all these out of centre supermarkets but they didn’t give up their extortionate parking charges to compensate did they?
        We don’t have a proper private health care system delivery in this country because the state provides a ‘free’ NHS but if there were a true market for health then those who wanted to go private should be able to claim a refund from the state, up to NHS costs, for doing so now surely?, and yes private providers could be charged for doctor’s training etc.
        The question is relevant because we ask what does a free market really look like?
        Labour are trying to push so-called free market ideas for private businesses (like the banks) while at the same time trying to cosh them with extra burdens and they are not advocating the same choice and market within public sector services.

  • david trant

    A coffee shop owner has
    reported Waitrose to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), claiming the
    supermarket’s free drinks offer is damaging his business.
    Garry Sutherland runs the Gelateria Gazzeria in Meadow Lane, Buckingham, 20 yards (18m) from the supermarket.
    He said his coffee sales had fallen by 40% since Waitrose
    started giving free hot drinks to loyalty card-holders, and says the
    offer is “unfair trading”
    Waitrose said the promotion allowed it to compete against larger supermarkets.
    The supermarket’s UK customers receive a free hot takeaway drink if they present a myWaitrose Card.
    Mr Sutherland, who charges £2.05 for a regular and £2.45 for a
    large white coffee, said he had lost £200 of sales a week since the
    offer started, six weeks ago.
    ‘Positive contribution’
    “I don’t mind competition with anyone on a level playing field, but free coffee is not a level playing field,” he said.

    So big corporations driving the small business man out of the market, is something that the Tory Party now supports is it.

    • HookesLaw

      Supermarkets also run in-house coffee and cake shops and cafes. So do garden centres. The complaint is spurious. As is your comment.
      Lets get rid of supermarkets and put up the costa living shall we?
      Waitrose and other supermarkets offer free newspapers as well. Not to mention they sell loads of ciggarettes. Oh and vegetables too. Shockingly they sell lots of ‘things’. The nerve of them.

    • Holly

      I can get FOUR, full, unopened, jars of coffee from my local supermarket for the price this bloke charges for one ‘mug’.
      No wonder everyone is short of money if they pay THAT MUCH for a cup of anything.
      It is only half the price of smoking, and you get TWENTY of those as opposed to one of this bloke’s offerings.

      One cup of the £2.45 every day, and you are coughing up nearly £900 a year!
      On cups of coffee!
      That’s nearly £900 towards Christmas if you stuck the money in a jar each day & made your own blooming coffee.
      £900!!!!

      • anyfool

        Quite agree, most of these coffee shops serve loads of different overpriced coffees, that seem to have been flavoured by the same sock.

      • HookesLaw

        But then again there are coffee shops everywhere. And people in them. And its not just coffee its the cake etc to go with it. The fact is there is money to spend. This guff about costa living crisis is just that.
        What you get of course for the price of the coffee is a seat and a table where you can chat with your friend. And the heating and maybe a free paper and fee wifi (perhaps BT should complain abiout all the fee wifi offers, and The Guardian about the free papers). Its called quality of life.
        It cannot be rocket science serving coffee so it makes you wonder why british people cannot take the jobs serving it.

        Personally I don’t like instant so I buy a bag of ground for the price of your 4 jars.

        • Holly

          How can folk afford cake when they are coughing up nay on £2.50 for a ‘mug’ of coffee?
          Personally I prefer to sit on me own sofa, drinking my own made ‘muck’.
          Cake, by the way, should be double death by chocolate, served hot, in a deep dish, smothered in double cream, and eaten with a spoon. NOT served cold, on a plate, eaten with a fork.

      • Magnolia

        The best tasting instant coffee is Tesco’s fairtrade organic.
        One spoon of that is worth ten of the others.
        I’ve tried them all and that one is in a class of its own.

  • Holly

    A big supermarket is flogging pretty decent coffee for 50p a jar.
    Every little helps.

  • simon

    No problem for the small coffee shops if you have tasted the freebie from Waitrose! But that sublety will escape Ed and his buddies.

    • Alexsandr

      the waitrose freebie comes in a paper cup. in my local independent coffee shop it comes in a proper cup, he has sofas and chairs, newspapers to read, and I can meet other people I know. So despite me having a waitrose card, never had a free coffee.

    • Makroon

      Correct, If ‘small coffee shops’ can’t produce a very decent cup, rather than the bog-standard Starbucks/Waitrose gloop, what are they there for ?

      • Alexsandr

        starbucks. yuk! last time i went to a starbucks they made me a cold cup and would not change it.

  • toco10

    This is just the sort of crackpot idea Red Ed’s Marxist father would have appreciated.Sinister State intervention is very much Labour’s forte and very dangerous for the future freedom and economic wellbeing of the UK should Red Ed and his trades union paymasters ever have a taste of power.

    • HookesLaw

      Vote conservative to stop them. Its the only way.
      ‘You know it makes sense’

    • David Lindsay.

      Andy Sawford has a very good point.
      I have just returned from my local Waitrose and could not get a table for my family for coffee and croissant because of the masses of (single) folks dropping in for free coffee without actually shopping.
      It is stupid to make this party Political.
      It is heinous to stamp further on Ralph’s grave to try to get at Ed.
      Please withdraw your post.

      • HookesLaw

        You sad pathetic waste of space. And the nerve of you using Waitrose and not the Co-op.
        The free coffee is only available to ‘myWaitrose’ members.

        • Barakzai

          Mr Lindsay shopping in Waitrose?! Haha. To avoid the pesky chavs, perhaps.

          Isabel, why not run a competition inviting CoffeeHousers – writing as Mr Lindsay – to complete the sentence of last year’s Waitrose PR campaign: “I shop at Waitrose because . . .

          • David Lindsay.

            I shop at Waitrose because . . .
            It is the nearest supermarket to my simple abode, there is no local Aldi and I only buy “essential waitrose” which are on average cheaper than Asda.

            • glurk

              I shop at Waitrose because I want to annoy Milligrim…well no, I dont…but I would!

              • glurk

                He will probably be at the front of the queue, the one with only a £50 note for a pint of organic milk

            • Barakzai

              You live in Lanchester (?) but don’t use the Aldi in nearby blue-collarish Consett, opting to drive much further to the Waitrose in Middle-Englandish Hexham, is that it?

              • Colonel Mustard

                He lives in Lanchester, supposedly, but wanders around Tower Hamlets all day counting the shoeless children and wringing his hands at the perfidy of the Tories (rather than buying the poor wee mites shoes).

              • Hexhamgeezer

                I’ve not seen his ugly mug round here. He probably sends the ‘help’.

          • anyfool

            The only local Waitrose up here is in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne in a shopping complex, hardly a local, the other 4 within 100 miles are not in areas a man of the people like Lindsay would live, unless of course, he is one of those Champagne Socialists
            Do you think he also might be a secret snob.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              No just a ridiculous fantasist and a total hypocrite.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Hello telemachus (associates). Why are you posting as ‘David Lindsay’ now I have gone away?

        When is the Spectator going to put a stop to your relentless online propaganda peddling on behalf of the Labour party, using fake names and identities?

        • telemachus associates

          Thank you Colonel.

          Our Chair is still in Russia.
          I will tell him of your interest.
          He will we think, Putin willing, return Tuesday/Wednesday.

          • Alexsandr

            why do you send a chair to russia? why not send a person?

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Because a chair, stool or cushion would make a lot more sense than an idiot like Telemachus. So would an empty matchbox.

          • Colonel Mustard

            So you admit it then. Now go away.

            • telemachus

              Thank you
              The web keeps me in touch and I have been amused at the antics of Nicholas
              I described this as a flounce on Peter’s Wall
              As for David he has been doing a great job
              Keep it up

      • Jules Wright

        Sawford, whoever this pillock is, has made it political. The left loathes John Lewis/Waitrose (but can’t help itself shopping there) because 1) it’s loved by conservative voters, 2) is unashamedly middle-class and aspirational, 3) is highly successful, 4) is an unsurpassed example of a workforce sharing in the business and 5) is vastly superior to its own scandal-ridden pet, The Co-op.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        A first class honours degree in rank hypocrisy and amorality for this idiot please after your repeated and disgusting comments following the death of Margaret Thatcher. To be fair most of your deplorable comments were deleted by the moderators. Here we have the perfect expression of Marxism: do as I say not as I do and any dissembling rubbish is permissible if it furthers the cause of repression, mediocrity and failure. Incidentally, is there anything those swine in the Labour Party believe to be none of their stinking business or do you want carte Blanche to interfere in every aspect of our lives. labour, the party of lies, lying and liars.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        What’s wrong with Greggs you snobby kuffer? Or ‘Spoons?

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