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A 32-year-old café worker has revealed to Southend News Network that she has been ‘sacked’ from her £6.70 an hour waitressing job for refusing to follow management orders to sit ‘attractive and well-off’ customers at the most comfortable and visible tables in the premises. Kellie Norman had been working at Leigh town centre’s The Flicked Bean for three months when she received an email from the new owner Carlton Langsworthy-Schmitt with the new procedure for seating customers who walk in, and we have verified the message.

The email read:

Hi Kellie,
Please take note of our new rules for seating customers. They MUST be followed starting from your next shift. We need to have the most visually-appealing members of the public in prominent areas of the café. Remember that lovely top you had on for your last shift here showing off the goods? Any lady with that type of thing on – you get the idea 😉
Carl xxxxx


One of our premium, comfortable tables with leather sofas must be offered to the following walk-in customers:

  • Attractive male/female below the age of 40 years old – messy hair/appearance is irrelevant if the following point applies.
  • Individuals that are carrying expensive items, including a Macbook Air or a bag made by Prada, Gucci or a similar brand that indicates a high net worth or disposable income.
  • A customer who has previously been identified by the management as someone who simply needs to be offered one of the best tables. A list of these individuals with photos is kept in a folder behind the cash desk area, and it includes well-known artistic and bohemian members of the Leigh community who seem to attract like-minded customers wherever they wander off to. You are required to check this folder before every single shift.

In the event that a customer walks in who doesn’t meet the above criteria, please ensure that they are seated in one of our less-spacious areas to the rear of the café – this will ensure that any passing pedestrians only catch a glimpse of the sort of clientele that we are trying to attract to the café.

Shortly after receiving this email, Ms Norman approached Mr Langsworthy-Schmitt to raise some concerns. She said: ‘I put it simply to him that I was incredibly uncomfortable with the new rules, and also that I felt that it was an almost inhumane way to treat people who come in for a cup of coffee. In spite of the fact that they charge £4.50 for an Americano, we still had everyday people walking in who had just as much of a right to a good table as the next person.’

She continued: ‘When I made these points in a calm and professional manner, he simply said as the owner he reserves the right to sit people wherever he sees fit. I was given the option to comply or be relieved of my duties, and at this point he effectively ‘sacked’ me when I made a stand. I already expected this outcome when I started the conversation as I knew the kind of person that he is from the start of the email that he sent me – it was disgusting and degrading. Also, 24 hours earlier he had agreed to display a local and well-connected artist’s paintings of explicit and disgusting sexual images just because he is a social climber and she has a 40DD bust and tousled blonde hair in a bun.’

We asked Mr Langsworthy-Schmitt for a comment about Ms Norman’s dismissal, and he said: ‘All of our members of staff must agree to follow our seating policy as it is vital for the continued financial well-being of the business – this practice is actually common throughout the hospitality industry. Regarding our display of Marie Schnozzleton’s iconic series of ‘Les Vagins De Cherbourg’ images, a similar set elsewhere in Leigh sold for £10,000,000 just a few weeks ago with the premises owner taking a percentage, and therefore we will not be taking them down.’