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Painter 'shocked and shaking' after reusable coffee cup row

A painter and decorator has told of his ordeal after staff at a BP garage in Wexham told him he could not use a reusable coffee cup.

Artur Wysocki, stopped at a BP garage in Wexham Road to get his morning coffee on Wednesday, May 16.

The father-of-three, who paints for Slough Borough Council, filled up his reusable cup using a Costa Coffee machine inside the garage.

As he was paying, he says the woman at the counter told him ‘it’s illegal’ and told him he had to ask for a paper cup.

“I was confused what was illegal and I asked her to repeat. I was shocked and I said I don't need your paper cup as I have my own,” he said.

Mr Wysocki says he has been using his reusable cup for the past year at several chain businesses with no issues.

The 47-year-old said the cashier told him he would have to pay for a large cup rather than a regular one because she could not gauge the size.

Mr Wysocki said the cup could easily be compared with a regular Costa Coffee cup and asked to speak to the manager.

He says he tried to explain the number of reusable coffee cup initiatives and says the manager responded: “Maybe anywhere else, but not here.”

Costa Coffee’s own cafes offer discounts to customers who use re-usable cups.

When Mr Wysocki complained of a lack of customer service, he says the manager told him: “We’ve got customer service but not for people like you.”

Mr Wysocki, who moved to the UK from Poland 16 years ago, said: “I was really shocked and shaking. I felt so bad. I’m still feeling bad.”

In a complaint email, he said: “I can't believe I was abused like that by your staff for some stupid thing like a cup of coffee.”

He poured his coffee into a regular disposable cup, left it on the counter and drove off, and says staff photographed his van as he left.

A spokesman for Highway Stops Retail Ltd, the company which runs the garage, said the business does not allow customers to use reusable cups for health and safety reasons.

He said: “People using their own cups could lead to an issue regarding contamination.

“We are most concerned that if somebody goes in there with a cup that’s contaminated, it could lead us into all sorts of legal problems and claims against us.

“And as our machine is not that new, we’ve decided that people should use the disposable cups.”

He said there is a sign on the machine asking customers to use their paper cups, but Mr Wysocki, from West Drayton in London,  says the sign saying ‘please ask for a cup’ does not explicitly forbid reusable cups.

The company spokesman said the staff members denied making rude comments.

He added: “The only thing I will say is that I’m not happy that a customer visited one of our sites and walked away dissatisfied. That is a failure on our behalf.”

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