Waitrose stabs Middle England in the heart

Waitrose shoppers have until April 3 to get their free coffee with no strings attached.

From then on, customers will have to prove they bought something before getting their complimentary cappuccino or latte.

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The change to the popular policy was trialled at several stores last year, but is only now being rolled out across the UK.

Currently, myWaitrose loyalty card holders can collect their drink as they go inside and carry it around while they shop.

But from next month they will get it as they leave, after paying for shopping.

There is no minimum spend, however certain purchases are not included:

  • Petrol
  • Single use carrier bags
  • Tobacco
  • Stamps
  • Mobile phone top-ups
  • Lottery tickets
  • Gift vouchers
  • Cashback
  • Parking charges
  • Formula milk for babies

By law, shops are not allowed to give an incentive for buying formula milk.

Waitrose said the change was ‘just a refinement’ to the offer and stressed they were committed to offering free coffee as a ‘thank you’ to customers.

The store brushed off the suggestion that it was in response to a middle-class backlash from customers upset that the stores were being invaded by less well-off shoppers.

you can't just get free coffee at waitrose anymore Picture: Getty Images - Credit: METRO.co.uk/Mylo
Waitrose has limited their coffee offer (Picture: METRO.co.uk/Mylo)

Social media was flooded by Waitrose shoppers today after the email went out, debating whether the policy was sensible or stabbed Middle England in the heart.

One man pointed out that people wouldn’t be able to wait with a coffee while their partner shopped anymore.

Others suggested low-value products people could buy to take advantage of the offer, such as frozen British chicken liver for 67p.

Martin Lane, Managing Editor of money.co.uk said: ‘I’m sure this will have many loyal Waitrose customers up in arms as the famous freebie has become a firm favourite with shoppers.

‘For genuine customers, nothing really changes – it’s only the freeloaders who will suffer so it’s win win for the Waitrose tribe.’

It comes after the supermarket also changed its free newspaper offer, meaning shoppers now have to spend a minmium of £10 to benefit.