Two weeks ago a feud began between two customers of Collins Street coffee shop Sensory Lab. Both auction house worker Fraser Harvey and urban planner Harriet Noall believe they are the store’s number one customer and have gone to extraordinary lengths to make their cases. What began with Harvey taping an A4 “Customer of the Week” print-out with his face on it to the cafe’s wall quickly escalated after Noall installed her own tribute to her patronage: a framed photograph of herself.
“On a daily basis stuff happens, and I ignore lots of it until it brews into something slightly more,” says Sensory Lab owner Salvatore Malatesta. “When I first saw this A4 sheet of paper I thought, ‘That’s cute, a little bit dumb, but really cute’. And then an hour later saw a framed photo. I thought that was the end.”
A bigger frame was installed by Harvey, followed by a wall-sized projection from Noall. Harvey kicked things up a notch with T-shirts and an unauthorised, Fraser Harvey-specific loyalty-card program before Noall sent the situation nuclear by getting a tattoo of a Sensory Lab cup on her ribs (read the Guardian’s thorough investigation for a full account of the antics).
On Thursday last week Noall and Harvey staged a peace summit at The European, and Broadsheet was there. “If we can resolve this then long-running issues like … climate change shouldn’t really be that hard to agree on,” said Noall.
But at the meeting – a lunch Malatesta footed the bill for – a resolution was not forthcoming.
“In light of the recent G7 summit and the lack of progress there, we don’t hold a high standard for ourselves,” said Noall. Neither party was willing to budge on their claim to the top spot and some low blows were traded.
“Harriet’s heading over to England. I think with all that’s happening to Brexit over there she could inspire the UK to be even more petty than they fuckin’ already are,” said Harvey.
Harvey has suggested that free coffee for life at Malatesta’s Sensory Lab and St Ali outlets could bring an end to the feud.
“I’m happy to buy both of them lunch,” says Malatesta. “But coffee’s one thing we don’t give away.”
As they were leaving the European Broadsheet asked the pair to pose for a photo outside the restaurant. They shook hands and then headed inside to drink red wine on Malatesta. Even without definitively settling the issue there seemed at least to be a truce between Sensory Lab’s number one customers. Which is also as much as can be said for the attendees of the recent G7 summit.
The cafe near work doesn’t have a loyalty program so I made one for them pic.twitter.com/ozP961hFpi— Toast of the WWWeb (@CondimentWords) August 19, 2019
I’ve just presented them with a much, much larger certificate pic.twitter.com/kWFdl88ZLZ— Toast of the WWWeb (@CondimentWords) August 19, 2019
I may have just lost. She’s upped the game. pic.twitter.com/tdZBsgrYKM— Toast of the WWWeb (@CondimentWords) August 23, 2019