Woman Orders Water At Highlands Coffee, Allegedly Asked To Leave In 1 Hour

5 minutes reading time

Woman allegedly asked to leave Highlands Coffee in 1 hour after ordering water

People going to cafes to work is a common sight in Vietnam. It would seem many find it more productive than working from home or from the office.

However, a lot of coffee shops and drink joints find the practice damaging to their income, as sometimes customers order cheap drinks but stay for long hours, occupying space and preventing new customers from coming in.

That is exactly the cause behind a controversial discussion that’s been going viral on the Internet since yesterday, about a woman who was allegedly asked to leave after 1 hour when she ordered a water bottle at Highlands Coffee. Some say her action was inconsiderate toward the shop, while others think she’s entitled to order anything she wants from the menu.

Here are two sides of the story.

She was asked to leave after 1 hour without any prior notice

highlands coffee review
The original review complaining about Highlands Coffee’s service

Image credit: Phạm Huyền

Yesterday, a Facebook user named Phạm Huyền posted on a review group to share a bad experience she had at an outlet of Highlands Coffee – a major coffee brand with a presence in many Vietnamese cities.

According to the original poster, on the morning of 29th June, she came to a Highlands Coffee outlet located at 299 Cầu Giấy Street, Hanoi, ordered a drink, and sat down to work – a common routine for her, she claimed.

She received her drink at 8.40AM, but only 45 minutes later, at around 9.24AM, a staff came and told her, loudly, that her 1 hour of service was up, and she had to order more drinks if she wanted to stay.

This left the woman very crossed, as she said the staff didn’t mention this rule when she ordered her drink, nor did she see any notice on Highlands Coffee’s website or social fan pages. She also questioned whether this rule applied to the entire Highlands system, or just the one outlet she went to.

The review quickly received a massive amount of attention from the online community, prompting a response from Highlands Coffee.

highlands coffee drinks
(Photo for illustrative purposes)

Image credit: @highlandscoffeevietnam

As Lao Động reported, a representative from the aforementioned Highlands outlet claimed that there were no rules stating that customers could only stay for one hour. The staff merely wanted to offer Ms. Phạm Huyền another drink as she had only ordered a bottle of water.

However, Ms. Phạm Huyền disagrees with this statement. She told Lao Động that the staff was very clear about the alleged “one-hour rule”.

“I wouldn’t have had any complaint if Highlands Cầu Giầy had informed me beforehand, but the way they acted without any prior notice left me very displeased,” she explained the reasons behind her discontent.

op further update
Image credit: Phạm Huyền

In another development, the original poster shared another screenshot of her conversation with Highlands Coffee via Facebook Messenger. In it, the coffee brand says that it’ll continue to work with her to reach a solution, and that information from the press is not necessarily official statements from Highlands Coffee.

She also says she’ll continue to post updates on the incident, but so far, there hasn’t been any new information.

The incident sparked controversy on the internet

The review has sparked a controversial discussion on the internet. Some netizens think the original poster is in the wrong for only ordering a bottle of water, but expect to use the shop’s services such as air conditioner and Wi-Fi for long hours.

netizen comment 1
Image credit: Bùi Thúy

“Just work in customer service and you’ll know the struggle. I’d have done the same as the staff. If you want water, just drink it at home. Order only a bottle of water at a café, then expect nice views and free air conditioning? In this pandemic no less. The customer is so inconsiderate,” commenter Bùi Thúy wrote.

On the other hand, many others say regardless of what she orders, the original poster’s still a customer that deserves respect.

netizen comment 2
Image credit: Huyen Mai

“Water is still an item on the menu. Or does she not deserve the regular service because she got a cheap drink?” Facebook user Huyen Mai said, adding that, “the key here is not what drink she got, but whether the staff was ‘trying to offer another drink’ or was actually rude as the OP claims.”

Yet as we mentioned, while the debate rages on, the parties involved have not announced any updates.

We hope Highlands Coffee and the OP can come to a solution

There are obviously many sides to this story, and which party is on the right is subjected to each person’s interpretation. Regardless, we hope Ms. Phạm Huyền and Highlands Coffee can reach an amicable solution.

What is your opinion on this? Do you think F&B outlets should apply limited-time services? Let us know in the comments below.

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Cover image adapted from @highlandscoffeevietnam and Highlands Coffee, for illustrative purposes only

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