Sheffield customers furious as Waitrose ditches free tea and coffee scheme

Waitrose in Sheffield - Google Maps
Waitrose in Sheffield - Google Maps

Waitrose has sparked outrage among its customers with the news that members of the posh supermarket’s loyalty card programme will no longer be entitled to a free tea or coffee.

Starting next month, the popular feature of the 'myWaitrose' scheme will require the customer to first make a purchase.

Previously, shoppers could swipe their loyalty card at the till and collect a tea or coffee at the self-service machine on their way out.

However, from April 3, all Waitrose customers will have to make a purchase first.

An email to customers read: "Our myWaitrose free tea and coffee offer is one of the ways we thank our customers for shopping with us - and we want all our customers to be able to enjoy a free hot drink when they shop with us in our branches."

"From 3 April, we'll simply be asking myWaitrose members to make a purchase before collecting their cup at the checkout.

However, the supermarket is bracing itself for a backlash from customers. As one Twitter user put it: "We will speak of this day for years to come. Social historians will trace the #Islington #Coffee #Riots to this act of betrayal!"

And already, rebellious forces are looking for ways to subvert the new rule.

A loophole exists, in that no minimum purchase is required, so finding the cheapest item in the shop will be a way to get a ‘nearly free’ beverage, with one blogger managing to find a mushroom costing 1p to obtain his qualifying receipt.

MoneySaving Expert has also looked at the cheapest items which will entitle shoppers to carry on their coffee-based larceny.

The Waitrose statement added: "We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding."