Coffee or death? I can’t decide . . .

ofm 20 July 2009 170

I’m not usually one to tattle-tale, especially for such things as trivial as bad service, but recently I found myself in a situation I felt so extreme that I feel it is in the public interest to warn about the shocking treatment I experienced at a local cafe, CAFE LOUI, in the Infrastructure building in the city interchange.

Two weeks ago, while escaping the cold of a half hour bus wait in the Canberra wind, my girlfriend and I ventured into Cafe Loui to grab a flat white and a chai latte (both some of the best I’ve experienced in Canberra) and had a fantastic time. On the way out I stopped to compliment the lady behind the counter and ended up happily chatting away for ten minutes or so and leaving with a big smile on my face and a new mission to source my next caffeine hit from my new favourite coffee house. No problem there.

Fast forward a week to last Tuesday afternoon on the 14th of July, as I found myself alone at the same bus stop with an equally chilly wait, having just powered down my food court lunch and sprinted to the interchange only to see my bus turn the corner and drive away. Having a book to read and a very full stomach, I remembered the friendliness of the Cafe Loui staff/owners and ventured into the closest cafe once again to see if they might let me sit inside for a while and read, without ordering a coffee. Luckily, the cafe (which is located in the foyer of a government department building) was all but deserted, with at least 20 tables completely empty and less than ten people in the whole foyer, so I sat down and was instantly approached by a waitress to take my order. I politely asked if it was OK that I sat and didn’t order, as it was very cold outside and there is plenty of room. I was surprised when instead of an answer, she gave me a worried look and told me to wait while she got the manager of the cafe. Expecting a polite refusal, I sat and waited.

The manager of the cafe (who I can only assume is Loui) approached my table with a friendly smile and inquired as to what I will be ordering today. I repeated my request, explaining my reasons and asking if it was OK, fully prepared to leave and find somewhere further from the stop to sit and wait. Instead of a polite refusal (as would be expected from the manager of a public cafe located in a government building), what I recieved was a smug smile and a very unfriendly stream of insults, sarcastic comments and harassment, being asked “I don’t come into your house, put my feet up on your couch, flick through your magazines and act like I own the place, do I?” and instead of being asked to leave, was asked “Who the hell do you think you are?”.

Shocked and offended, I reacted in a not-so-favourable way and stood up, grabbed my bag and, as calmly as I could, told him that all he needed to do was say no and that he “didn’t need to be a prick about it”. I admit I shouldn’t have insulted the man, but what came next I was definitely not prepared for. He leaned in and with the same smile on his face, quietly and calmly told me (among a stream of f-words and other insults) that he was going to:

“get a f*cking rifle, find out where you f*cking live and shoot you with a f*cking rifle.”

Completely shocked, horrified and now a bit scared, I immediately went to the nearest table where a middle-aged woman and a late-teenage male were sitting and asked them in complete shock whether they heard the threat that was just made on my life over a cup of coffee. I was then even more shocked to realise that the woman was the same one I had chatted to happily the week previous, and I can only assume the young man was related or an employee, as the male jumped out of his seat, stepped towards me and told me:

“That’s my guard (?) c*nt. I’ll f*ck you up.”

I took a step back and headed for the door before he could follow up on this second threat to my well being, and was guided out the door by the woman and told I’m not welcome there any more, go somewhere else next time. I sat in a state of shock at the bus stop for the remaining twenty minutes and, as I eventually got onto the bus, turned to see that Loui was standing at the window of the cafe, phone to his ear, smile on his face and, just to top it all off, he blew me a kiss.

I got home and immediately called and reported the incident to the police, the newspaper and the department of the government building that the cafe resides in. Since then I have been told by the police that because the only two witnesses were also involved in the incident that there’s nothing that can be done, that the newspaper would follow it up and that the department doesn’t directly hire the cafe employees, so there isn’t anything that they can do either.

So, armed only with the truth I put it into the public forum, has anyone else experienced anything as completely insane as this? Surely a prominent cafe owner in a busy government building doesn’t just decide to threaten someone with death out of nowhere, there must be others with similar stories and I invite those people to leave comments. And even if there isn’t, surely there has to be something that can be done, witnesses or not, about a cafe that operates under the policy that threats are OK, as long as no-one’s around to back the victim up when they report it to police.

I admit I shouldn’t have insulted the man, but up until then I had been nothing but polite, and he did insult me first only he was careful not to use swear words in his attack. Which is a lot easier to do when you haven’t just been ambushed by someone who seems outwardly friendly but quite clearly isn’t.

Should I be shot with a rifle or attacked by youths in the near future, you know who to ask.


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170 Responses to Coffee or death? I can’t decide . . .
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colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 12:34 pm 28 Oct 09

this all strikes me as a great plot for a Tarantino flick. I nominate Samuel Jackson to play Louis and perhaps Tim Roth to play the OP.


lanier_1032 lanier_1032 10:24 am 28 Oct 09

I have no doubt that OFM has re-told this story exactly as it happened and its absolutely not on for the Manager at Louis to continue his poor treatment of customers. I had a run in with the Manager earlier this year when I accidently dropped and broke a glass bottle of coke in the cafe area. When I asked the Manager for a mop or sponge (quite prepared to clean up the mess myself) and the Manager gave me one serviette to clean up a 360ml of coke on the floor. Eventually the Manager came over with a mop as I was using my own tissues to try and clean up the mess and the Manager went ballistic. “Dont F*#King come into my cafe and be so careless, you f*#king c*nt…etc…etc.” The Manager only changed his tune when he realised I worked at the same building (Infrastructure building) and when I left I told him that I would never buy a single thing from his cafe and would tell everybody who works at Infrastructure about my encounter with him and ten months later, I have still never bought a single thing from Louis cafe. I think the Manager has a short spark and just completley loses control, but its important to stand up for yourself to him, because once I did he changed his tune and settled down. Terrible cafe and the Manager is worse, AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

j from the block j from the block 9:38 am 27 Jul 09

Pelican Lini said :
And j from the block still hasn’t said where his pub is located (or it’s name), so discerning muppets could avoid going there and forgo the pleasures of being insulted and/or hit while paying for the privilege
Hi Pelican Lini, I work at the Phoenix in the bus interchange. On occasion when punters have hit staff, abused women, or been generally bigoted and rude, I have removed them. If you have the urge to come in, please feel free to do so, but if you conduct yourself in a way as suggested above, I would; first politely suggest that you leave, three times, if you continued to refuse, I would probably use sarcasm, or suggestion in an effort to convince you that it was not really a good idea, see comments like “we’ve all had a good night but it’s time to go (if said punter has spent their night groping people, suggesting that are ‘insert aggressive quote here’, etc, I would consider this a sarcastic comment), alternately, if you were to attack me physically in a way I felt was threatening to my well being, I would remove you from the premises in self defence.
The term the customer is always right is only correct to a point for many business owners. If you go into their place of work and are what people may consider to be a bit of a waste (abusive to other customers, staff, destructive of property) many would not consider this customer “right”. Sure they are paying their wages, but do you want to work somewhere known for the bigoted wankers / hate mongers that hang out there?
Not suggesting that OPM is such folk, but the customer is not always right, there are lines.

Pelican Lini Pelican Lini 12:58 am 24 Jul 09

And j from the block still hasn’t said where his pub is located (or it’s name), so discerning muppets could avoid going there and forgo the pleasures of being insulted and/or hit while paying for the privilege

Hells_Bells74 Hells_Bells74 11:42 pm 23 Jul 09

kudos for #153 (wow you make a great gangster granny) and #165

Awesome x3 Granny

Granny Granny 11:34 pm 23 Jul 09

Astro, whether it’s the proprietor or the manager makes little difference to my opinion of any establishment that would tolerate such behaviour toward any human being, be it customer or fellow staff or man on the street.

However, three commenters have confirmed that they have witnessed or received similar treatment from the owner.

1. Peterh has stated that the owner gave him bad language a while ago and he has not been back since.
2. I-filed has ‘witnessed Loui take offence and get very verbally abusive at what he perceived as “attitude” from a fellow customer,’ and has not been back since.
3. Checklist has stated that “psychotic ranting tirades are not uncommon from this particular ‘establishment’.”

We then have the contribution from Loui’s mate, j from the block, the former flower shoppe owner, who it seems has not only said things to people that were less than polite, but has on occasion done more than that.

For him, his disapointment in Loui actually lay in the insult. It seems that rifles and shooting are all a bit much for Loui’s mate ‘j’. ‘Having dealt with a lot of muppets over the years,’ his personal favourite retort is, ‘Do you like hospital food?’ and it seems that most people ‘get the gist fairly quickly’.

It seems ‘j’ is also ‘a big fan of sarcasm when removing punters’.

4. Even ‘j’ states that Loui is ‘sometimes offensive’ and he has ‘known him to be incredibly rude’.

But, hey, it’s obviously ofm that has the problems. Perhaps he hallucinated the whole thing.

astrojax astrojax 10:50 pm 23 Jul 09

ooh, that last para wasn’t meant at you, granny; just a general observation from jw’s post at #159…

astrojax astrojax 10:48 pm 23 Jul 09

granny, you’re old fashioned.

; )

as jamie cogently points out, no-one, the op especially, has not made any substantiated claim that the threator (if ‘threatee’ is a word…) was, in fact, the eponymous proprietor of the cafe…

Tooks Tooks 10:30 pm 23 Jul 09

Granny said :

I just hate injustice. I hate things that seem wrong. I know you do, too.

100% with you on that.

Granny Granny 10:29 pm 23 Jul 09

Jamie Wheeler said :

Granny’s lost it a bit I think.

Oh, really?

I try to console myself with the fact that most people I meet don’t feel the need to call the police, media, and a government department after meeting me. I take pride in the fact that they usually don’t need trauma counselling afterwards.

Call me old fashioned.

Granny Granny 10:21 pm 23 Jul 09

Threatee! Hehe! That’s hilarious!!

Jamie Wheeler Jamie Wheeler 10:20 pm 23 Jul 09

Granny’s lost it a bit I think. Get a grip people. This doesn’t sound like the Loui I know and is not a dangerous lunatic. I don’t think he’d know one end of a rifle from another. His name has been dragged through the mud, even though there’s no evidence to prove this story. The original poster even said they didn’t know if it was Loui. Yet Loui’s name continues to been dragged through the mud.


Granny Granny 10:14 pm 23 Jul 09

I guess you’re right, Tooks.

But people certainly don’t need to know your name to follow you off the premises and bash you. Think David Hookes.

And it’s presumably not that hard to stalk someone of interest, since it happens often enough – locate where they live, where they go, whom they love.

The more unhinged a person is the more likely it is that a person will act unpredictably.

The behaviour described is not normal behaviour. It’s not even normal anger. All the smiling stuff is just wrong.

It is certainly up to ofm whether he makes a complaint. I just hate injustice. I hate things that seem wrong. I know you do, too. I’ve had my say now.

Pelican Lini Pelican Lini 10:07 pm 23 Jul 09

Gawd Granny I thought you’d gone Godzilla for a second

Tooks Tooks 9:58 pm 23 Jul 09

By the way, only ofm is able to answer whether or not she feared the threat would be carried out. I don’t doubt she was shocked, scared etc (understandably too), but I’m talking about proofs of the offence that you brought up in post 63 (Threat to Kill).

Tooks Tooks 9:54 pm 23 Jul 09

Granny, you’re not comparing apples with apples in your example. Here’s why:

1) The person making the threat knows the identity of the person.
2) Presumably the cab driver (an *independent* witness) hears the exchange and can provide a statement to police, corroborating the threatee’s (yes, that’s a word now) version.

Let me clarify a couple of things: I don’t condone that kind of behaviour and I’m not defending this Loui character. I am looking at this from a legal point of view. Did the OP *really* believe Loui would go and get a rifle, somehow track her(?)down, then carry out the threat? That’s a lot to prove (especially in Canberra). With no independent witnesses, nearly impossible to prove.

Having said all that, if ofm is not satisfied with police response, then the process for making a complaint is a simple one.

Special G Special G 9:46 pm 23 Jul 09

Granny – What the?

Granny Granny 8:59 pm 23 Jul 09

Granny is standing at a taxi rank. She has been waiting for a while and is immensely pleased to see a taxi pull into a rank. Just then the Chief Minister runs up breathlessly and tells her he knows she is next in line, but his car has broken down unexpectedly and no-one has brought their car into work since they have all been utilising the ACTION bus service, as one would expect.

He is very much afraid he will be late for an important official function involving visiting foreign dignitaries.

He asks, under the circumstances, would she mind if he cuts in ahead of her?

Granny can either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. She is well within her rights to say either.

Instead she leans towards him with a friendly smile, and asks if he can repeat the request, which he does – fully explaining the situation and being prepared to accept whatever answer is given.

Granny then gives him a smug smile, and proceeds to hurl as many insults as she can think of and unload any grudge she has ever had with a queue jumper, making sarcastic comments such as, “I don’t go into your building and piss in your foyer, steal your car space, run over your foot and act like I own the place, do I? Who the hell do you think you are?”

The Chief Minister is, at this point, somewhat taken aback, and caught off-guard and says, “You could have just said, ‘No’. You don’t have to be such a bitch about it!”

Granny, still smiling, leans in towards him and quietly and calmly tells him (among a stream of f-words and other insults) that she is going to get a f*cking rifle, find out where he f*cking lives and shoot him with a f*cking rifle.

As the taxi pulls out she looks up from the call she is making on her mobile, smiles, and blows him a kiss.

When he calls the police, somewhat shaken, on arrival at his destination, they are of course completely disinterested.

Pelican Lini Pelican Lini 8:16 pm 23 Jul 09

Cripes BB,
You know what?
After these postings and others on RA, I now think I’ve led a really sheltered life, and I am glad of it.
(Webbed feet crossed to avoid jinx.)
I’ve got a loony uncle, too, but thank God he’s never laid hands on a gun while I’m around.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 5:38 pm 23 Jul 09

Pelican Lini said :

Tooks said :

Granny said :

I agree that it is not ok and not acceptable, but if I had a dollar for every time someone had threatened me with violence or death, I’d be a regular in BRW.

Are you an ambo, policeman, parking inspector or professional wrestler?
Would you mind sharing why you have been threatened so often?
I’ve only ever had one death threat, and while it seemed unlikely, it was certainly said with passion and I definitely felt uncomfortable for a few weeks.
Threats of violence were easier to shrug off, although the less than a handful of times I’ve been assaulted came with no warning whatsoever.

PL – I find verbal threats not very threatening at all. The only times I’ve been really scared where when I’ve had knives pulled on me (twice) and have been shot at once (and that’s not counting an incident where an absolute tool of an uncle in Binalong that had me stand behind a gum while he fired about 60 rounds from a .222 at it). Now that was scary

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