Norwich market coffee seller refuses to serve customers who order while talking on mobile phones

They say manners cost you nothing.

But at one Norwich market stall it could cost you a cup of coffee.

Darren Groom, who runs Little Red Roaster, has caused a stir by refusing to serve customers who speak on their mobile phones.

Last week he put a sign up at the stand which read: 'We are unable to serve you coffee if you are on the phone.'

And the 36-year-old said he has been overwhelmed by customers' and the public's response to his stance.

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'I've been blown away by the response,' he said. 'I can't believe I'm the only person to have put a sign up in the service industry requesting this.'

The sign has attracted interest from radio stations as far away as Liverpool, Birmingham and London as well as national newspapers.

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He said: ''We are far from anti-mobile phones. It is purely about the interaction when ordering.

'I only did it because when customers come in it is nice to greet them and there is better interaction for myself and staff.

'They feel that they can not interact in the way we try to do as a business with our customers.

'The response from customers has been nothing but positive, but fellow traders and regular customers have been ripping me a little bit.'

One customer bought Mr Groom a huge, inflatable mobile phone, which now sits under the market stand.

He said there was only a small amount of customers who tried to order coffee while on the phone, but the numbers had increased over the last couple of weeks, prompting the sign.

Mr Groom, who runs his business on Grove Road with his wife, Kate, 29, has had a coffee stall on Norwich market for 10 years.

He said he was striking a blow for good manners and the sign has sparked a debate on politeness.

People in Norwich today gave the thumbs up to manners in the city.

David Rickenback, 18, from London said: 'People are not rude here at all compared to London.'

Keri Watts, 33, from Norwich said: 'People are generally quite good, no problems.'

Millie Tan, 24, Norwich added: 'The majority of people are alright, to be honest most people here are very polite.'

•What do you think? Should more importance be placed on good manners in shops? Write to us at Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email

•Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313.

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