Unfortunately, today Costa Coffee lost a customer (hint: it’s me).
After getting Maggie a few months back, I have been going to the Costa Coffee on Cowley Road multiple times a week – sometimes every day. I was told that this is fine, and I’ve got to know the staff quite well. They have all commented on how beautiful and well-baheved Maggie is. Today, however, I was unceremoniously shouted at, called a liar, and kicked out of Costa, just for having Maggie in there with me while grabbing a take-out coffee. The ‘manager’ told me that dogs have never been allowed in there, that it was against the law, and that because he has never seen me I was lying about being in there multiple times a week for the last 3 months. He then refused to tell me his name when I said I would be making a complaint, and then after escorting me out of the premises, actually came out again to shout at me on the street. I honestly can say I’ve never been treated so rudely or with such contempt by a shop or restaurant worker.
Not cool, Costa. Not cool.
I have copied my letter of complain to Costa Coffee below.
In June I acquired a small dog. I first went into the Costa here in June and enquired about bringing my dog, Maggie, in when I come and get a take-away coffee. I was informed that this was perfectly fine, and that I could bring her in but could only have coffee to take-away or to sit outside in the small patio area. Since then, I have been to Costa approximately 3-4 times every week, often going once a day. The staff have all met me, and Maggie, and indeed nearly all of them have commented on what a beautiful and well-behaved dog she is. There have never been any issues at all, and in approximately 80% of my visits other customers in the shop have actually approached me and asked what her name is, what breed she is, and asked to pet her. I keep her on a short lead close to me, and as soon as our coffee is made we leave and sit outside.
However, today I entered the coffee and was about to order when a man came up to me and told – very rudely – that I had to leave as the sign on the door said no dogs. I explained that I asked the staff months ago, and that they gave me the information above (she could come in, but if I wanted my coffee to stay in I should sit outside). I told him – very politely – that I thought this was a bit confusing because I have been in so frequently over the last months and have never had a problem, as I discussed above. At this point, he told me that he had never seen me and so this wasn’t true, and that I had to leave immediately. After accusing me of lying, I then asked to see the manager, but he told me that it was him (despite never seeing him before in the shop). He told me I was breaking the law, and that I had to leave. I pointed out that there is not actually any laws against allowing dogs in places where food or drink is served, and that the only legal obligation on the owner is to make sure there is no risk of contamination and that all food preparation areas are up to specified hygiene standards. There was no risk of contamination as she is a tiny dog – not even reaching 2/3 of the way to the top of the counter, and was not in any danger of even being remotely near any food preparation areas. After first accusing me of lying, he then told me that I was wrong. He raised his voice substantially and told me rudely to leave. I then asked him for his name so that I could include it in this letter, but he refused, saying that he would not give me his name and told me to leave again. This was incredibly embarrassing, as you can imagine. The man was incredibly rude, and forcibly escorted me out the shop. Once I left, he then came out again to tell me that I was wrong and that dogs are never allowed in that shop.
I would sincerely appreciate you letting me know the exact policy of Costa Coffee on allowing dogs on the premises, and in particular in this specific branch. I would also like to hear how you will be discussing this with the manager. As I’m sure you’ll agree, I don’t think that accusing your regular customers of lying and then forcibly escorting from the shop – before actually coming out again of the shop to shout at them in the street – is appropriate behaviour. I would like to know how you intend to deal with this, as well as informing him on the laws of allowing dogs on premises.