Senior management at Waitrose have confirmed that they are powerless to stop an enterprising Leigh On Sea resident from selling free Waitrose coffee outside of their store, and local police have confirmed that no laws are being broken due to a dispute over who is responsible for the pavement directly outside.
Michael Gratis, 28, has been taking advantage of the supermarket’s free coffee scheme on an industrial scale for the last month, and each hot drink is then sold for £4 on a decorator’s table that he has set up outside the main entrance of the London Road branch.
He is able to trade here without any restrictions as the ownership of the paved area is unclear – the paperwork has been lost between the Safeway, Morrisons, Somerfield and Waitrose head offices.
Mr Gratis started planning for his new business back in August, when he applied for ten MyWaitrose cards per day for two months solid. Once he had enough cards to get going, he was then able to obtain one free hot drink per day per card, and since word got around he has had customers queueing up around the block.
Jean-Pierre Artesian, one of his regular customers, spoke to us EXCLUSIVELY about why he loves getting his morning coffee from Mr Gratis.
He said, ‘I am aware that £4 is an awful lot of money to pay for a cup of coffee that is being obtained for free, but people should remember that he is running an operation that is entirely ethical.’
‘Also, it is possible that he is breaching the terms and conditions of the MyWaitrose customer loyalty scheme, and that makes it all so hipster that I am sure he could get anything up to £7 per cup.’
After the success of his first stall, Mr Gratis has indicated that he is considering a second table in the car park of the larger Waitrose in Southend. To avoid being moved on by local police, he plans to submit evidence to show that the land was originally taken by force from his Saxon ancestors.