I don’t normally enjoy writing a negative review of a visit or experience but on some occasions like earlier today, ones voice must be used. An avid coffee house fan, I’m forever frequenting the coffee houses in Derry as I shop and as I work. Whilst on holiday both at home and abroad I can always be found, scribbling or reading while sipping coffee in a bar or coffee house! One of my favourite cities to enjoy coffee must surely be Cardiff! It has such a wide variety of coffee houses and bars. However Derry is also a favourite haunt of mine as it’s just on my doorstep (from Muff) and it offers a huge variety of coffee shops/houses! And I do pop along to them all on occasion. So I was extremely disappointed when I got the reception I did this morning at The Coffee House Atlantic Quay in Derry!
Today, along with 8 other new athletes, I was embarking on my first official 5k run. We 9 were a little apprehensive and the nerves were kicking in on arrival at Derry’s quay this morning around 9am. The Derry City parkrun was setting off at 9.30am. We were leaving from outside The Coffee House and returning to The Coffee House. My group of 9 had planned to have coffee after our virgin run in The Coffee House. That plan soon changed!coffee runners
Myself and two other ladies went into The Coffee House prior to the run and asked to use the toilets. The staff member said ‘no’ as the toilets are for customers only. We explained that we would be paying customers as soon as the run was over. But to no avail. We weren’t welcome. As we left the premises, a lady sitting outside called us aside. She had heard our encounter and said that a young mother and her child were turned away from the same premises recently when the child was needing the toilet. The mother said she would buy tea after using the facility but was asked to pay for it first. The mother left with the child.
We were horrified to hear this experience.
I completely respect a business’s decision to have only customers use the toilet facility on their premises. But surely there are always extenuating circumstances to every rule. Isn’t there? Apparently NOT at The Coffee House Atlantic Quay.
So after our run today we all met at Sainsbury’s Coffee Shop. Approximately £50 was spent from our group of 9 ladies. And we shall be returning there on our next visit to Derry City parkrun. There we were allowed to use the toilet before placing any order. There we were allowed to sit and converse about our virgin 5k. There we felt comfortable and non judged. There we shall return.coffee cup
It doesn’t take a university education to instill manners and hospitality skills in a person. These skills cost nothing and are respected in every corner of the world. Not only were we turned away from using the facility earlier today, but there was no apology and absolutely no concern. Lesson learned, there’s coffee elsewhere! And a smile goes a very long way. Sainsbury’s coffee shop was filled with smiles….and coffee!