Finders, keepers? Costa Coffee

Finders, keepers? Costa coffee

I am sure I will be accused by some of making mountains out of molehills but there is a moral principle at stake here.

I was working in the UK some time ago near a bevy of pubs, restaurants and cafes. Lucky me you might say but with only 2 hours free time per day and in serious need of some fresh air, I didn’t frequent many.

So when my boss (at the time) discovered a soggy black apron in the street, he brought it in and I washed it.  I wasn’t sure where it belonged.

With one clean and dry apron in my hand I went in my free time to the nearest pub/restaurant and asked if the apron belonged to them. The manager shook his head and pointed to the tiny Costa tag at the bottom right hand side of the pocket.  I have to say he was strangely bemused and said thank you for asking about three times…?


I confess Caffe Nero is my favourite for a frothy soya cappuccino but Costa Coffee come a respectable second. It seemed obvious to me. I would return it the next day. My two hours was up.

I took this picture of a soya cappuccino at Central station cafe, Sydney. Totally unrelated to this article except that the staff member who made this coffee, and brought it out to me on the pavement,stood over me excitedly waiting to see if I could recognise their art work…A bear? I ventured. She clapped her hands, gave a little jig and the thumbs up to other staff members at the counter. Now that is someone enjoying their job AND providing great customer service. Although I hesitate to think of the reaction if I had had misinterpreted the image…

Okay. Back in the room…

Cappuccino bear Sydney

The following day and about to run (silently screaming) from captivity (live-in care work can get you like this;-) ) on my two hour  break I foolishly waved goodbye to my boss. Apron in hand.

I said: ‘I asked at the pub down the road but it doesn’t belong to them. See, it is one of Costa coffees.’ I pointed to the tiny label.

To my complete astonishment my boss grabbed the apron from my hand. I wasn’t holding it that tightly I had no idea it was in danger.

‘I’m having that!’ He was like a small child with a bag of sweets.

‘But it belongs to Costa Coffee!’

My mind conjured up one word at the time. Pathetic.

‘I found it. I need it…’

Seriously? My expression said.

And with that he walked away.

I didn’t have time for a coffee but I did go to Costa coffee and explain what had happened. Another bemused manager. My real concern was that maybe whoever had ‘lost’ their apron may have to ‘pay’ for it in some way. I know this kind of practice was rife in business in the 1980’s. Not my business of course but I knew salons that docked wages or bonuses if equipment went missing.

The smiling Costa manger explained that no, the staff member who had lost an apron would not be punished. Phew.

‘Good.’ I said and added,’ because if they had I would have found a way to bill my boss and repay the Costa staff member.

And that leads us nicely into another dilemma.

Would that have been two wrongs making a right or would the end be justified by the means?

I think I need a lie down.

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