Nothing makes people angrier than being denied free things, a lesson that Costa is currently learning after failing to deliver what was supposed to be free coffee.
To celebrate International Coffee Day on 1 October, the British chain had announced it would be offering free coffee from its more than 8,500 Express machines nationwide.
According to the brand, in addition to marking the holiday, it also hoped the offer would break down the “stigma” attached to self-service coffee machines - mainly that the drinks made by the machine are “clumpy” or “bland”.
Unfortunately, Costa has a new issue to contend with - as many of the Express machines have run out of coffee, milk or cups entirely. Others were dismayed to find the machines had stopped working, or needed cleaning.
On social media, customers are expressing their outrage at being denied their caffeinated beverages free of charge.
“So @CostaCoffee what happens when the machine runs out of milk at 7.30 and the guy behind the till says he doesn’t know how to change it… the cleaner does it when she comes in at 8. I was really looking forward to my coffee!” one person wrote.
Another tweeted: “Free Costa day is a great idea until they run out of cups at 7.55.”
“Typically the two machines near me were both out of order this morning and the supermarket staff weren’t interested in fixing them. I ended up in Pret instead,” someone else tweeted.
@CostaCoffee TYPICAL!!! 😔 Broken https://t.co/H3GoMTtWtq— Garry Daniels (@Garry Daniels) 1569910394
@CostaCoffee Very disappointed machine had a message it is being cleaned down. On my break now #nothappy Heathrow T4 store not helpful— Mansoor Yousaf (@Mansoor Yousaf) 1569932200
@CostaCoffee Every petrol station in the Swansea area machine's are "broken and won't be fixed until tomorrow" #InternationalCoffeeDay— Jack Booth (@Jack Booth) 1569931945
Others have suggested that all the promotion did was encourage people to visit other places for coffee, regardless of the price.
“So all Costa have done today is upset regular customers who can’t get near a machine today. Just picked up McDonald’s and will have a Starbucks later,” one person tweeted.
@CostaCoffee So all Costa have done today is upset regular customers who cant get near a machine today. Just picked… https://t.co/6tobPv5uWt— lee pears (@lee pears) 1569916475
For those who are able to get their hands on a working Express machine, all hot drinks are applicable in the promotion.
@CostaCoffee Except my local one isn’t participating. Gutted.— Spouse of Geek (@Spouse of Geek) 1569910305