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A coffee shop owner has slammed adults for verbally abusing her teenage staff over having to wait a few minutes for their drinks.

Esther Howes, who owns the Apple Tree Coffee Lounge, said she was sickened to see grown men and women “berating” the youngsters.

She has warned that anyone who does not treat her staff with respect will be asked to leave in the future.

Ms Howes claims some of the young staff were only a few shifts into their time at the Staffordshire café when they were berated.

In one incident she highlighted, she said a man was abusive because he had to wait four minutes longer than he expected for his cappuccino.

She said that in another incident, one of the teenagers was given a hard time by a customer because they had accidentally taken someone else’s order first.

Ms Howes told Staffordshire Live: “We are a coffee lounge; for all intents and purposes, a place of relaxation.

“Last weekend we witnessed several instances of customers being verbally abusive towards our front-of-house staff.

“Two or three 15-year-old girls were working their first or second shifts, in what was an extremely busy and demanding environment.

“Unfortunately, this did not stop several grown men, and women, from berating them; verbally abusing them in front of their colleagues and customers.

“Had the girls poked these customers in their eyes with a skewer? Secreted mouldy prawns in their Victoria Sponge? No!

“One girl committed the heinous crime of serving one ‘gentleman’ his cappuccino four minutes later than he was expecting it.

“A second girl was shouted at by a ‘mature gentleman’ because she inadvertently first took the order of a couple who were seated immediately after him.

“He demanded, in no uncertain terms, to know why they had been attended to (literally 30 seconds) before he had been attended to.

“These girls, unlike many their age, have given up their weekends to earn a few extra pounds.

“They are learning the value of money and gaining life experience. It shatters their self-confidence to be spoken to as they were.

“This behaviour is totally unacceptable towards colleagues of any age; towards 15-year-olds, it is reprehensible.

“Believe us, if you behave in the manner described, you will be asked to leave.

“We are a bustling coffee lounge, with numbers of non-entitled customers queuing to experience what we have to offer.

“There are plenty waiting to take your place. Calm down, it’s coffee and cake.”

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