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Coffee or death? I can’t decide . . .

By 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?”.

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.

OFM

What’s Your opinion?


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170 Responses to
Coffee or death? I can’t decide . . .
hetzjagd1 6:06 pm 20 Jul 09

I can’t remember where but I recognise the name of that cafe so I must see it on my daily commute through civic. I’m totally going there to kick it eith a book for a bit during lunch tomorrow and see what happens

Mike Bessenger 6:01 pm 20 Jul 09

This is great, just made my day.
Your having a laugh. For the sake of a couple of $$ you couldn’t of bought a coffee to support the man that provides the heating and the seat for you to wait. Then you insult him.
I agree, he had know right to make a threat like that, but you put him in an awkward position. Yes he should of said no. I’ll have a guess and say he’s not Australian, speaks poor English and has a short temper?
C’mon mate, your taking the piss.

ofm 5:57 pm 20 Jul 09

hahaha +10 points to taco for the un-australian comment, top work my friend.

Just to clear it up, I wasn’t expecting anything other than a polite response to a polite request. I knew that it’s not usually the right thing to do, but I thought that seeing as they seemed like friendly people when I was chatting to them last time that they might not mind me sitting there, seeing as the business was empty anyway. Also, I figured that even if they didn’t mind it then fine, I’d just leave with no problem. I didn’t expect to be harassed for it.

ramblingted 5:55 pm 20 Jul 09

So, I’m guessing Loui is a 10 espresso a day guy?

sunshine 5:47 pm 20 Jul 09

whilst ofm shouldn’t have expected to sit in cafe without ordering i tend to think that Loui’s response was totally uncalled for – disgraceful in fact.

Granny 5:47 pm 20 Jul 09

housebound said :

Ever wonder why the place was half empty?

Great work, Loui’s! Ciao!

Mike Crowther 5:46 pm 20 Jul 09

“…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…”

If this is true I’m giving up my day job and getting into crime. Love this town….

grunge_hippy 5:43 pm 20 Jul 09

i agree that his reaction was very extreme and definitely unnecessary, but if he let every tom dick and harry just ‘come in from the cold’ and sit and not order something, he wouldnt make any money.

just because you enjoyed a coffee there in the past doesn’t give you free reign to just come in and sit whenever you like.

extreme reaction, yes. the sentiment behind it, not so much.

taco 5:41 pm 20 Jul 09

I’m going to side with “Loui” as he makes great coffee and you sound like a pretentious un-australian git… calling the newspaper, the department that leases the building and the police? Drama queen much? go buy a can of HTFU

The correct response would have been “sorry mate” and move along after he’d told you to piss off like he rightfully should have, not escalate things by abusing him back

Or you could have done what anyone else would have done and just bought *something*

harvyk1 5:37 pm 20 Jul 09

Seeing this almost makes me want to go there, and not order to see if you where special, or this is the standard treatment given to all not yet customers.

sunshine 5:33 pm 20 Jul 09

small piddly coffees – not worth the money

RandomGit 5:30 pm 20 Jul 09

They make an awesome Eggs Benedict.

housebound 5:20 pm 20 Jul 09

Ever wonder why the place was half empty?

peterh 5:16 pm 20 Jul 09

the bad language that the owner gave me a while ago made me stop going there, but hey, it isn’t like he is the only cafe in town…

PM 5:11 pm 20 Jul 09

Here we go…

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