With the cost of living crisis continuing to bite, many of us are looking for easy ways to pinch a few pennies here and there: but is taking your own food to a café overstepping the line?
On Tuesday morning, AM newsreader Nicky Styris revealed that a friend of hers had brought a container of tomato and avocado to a café recently to avoid shelling out for sides.
The two both ordered eggs on toast with a coffee, a breakfast that typically comes to around $20 in Auckland.
"When the waitress left, she got this little container out of her bag, and in it was some chopped up tomato and avocado. She discreetly tipped it onto her plate and put the piece of toast over it, so it wasn't too obvious, and put the container back in her bag," Styris recalled as co-hosts Ryan Bridge and Melissa Chan-Green gasped.
"I said, 'What are you doing?' And she said, 'It's too expensive to buy the sides with the eggs, it's like $6 a side'. So that got me thinking - is it okay to do that at a café ever, and if it is, when is it okay?"
Bridge wasn't too impressed with the strategy, replying: "I don't think that's okay. What are you going to do, take your own gin to the bar?
"It's hard to make money in hospitality, it's hard to make a buck, especially if you're not selling booze."
"I think the only time you can take your own food to a café is like pureed baby food, they're not going to sell that there, or if you have a child who has allergies... children's food, I think there's some exceptions, but I don't think you can take your own sides," Chan-Green weighed in.
Elaborating, Styris explained: "I think this is her beef: if you go to a café and order eggs on toast, you're paying 20 odd dollars. Her argument is, 'I can't afford to pay the prices they're charging for the sides'. It's like $6 for tomato... bacon, $6, avocado, $6.
"So, here's my question: if you're a café owner, would you rather her and I don't come to your café... or would you rather she come in and pay that $20, be there for an hour, and then put up with the fact that she might slip something in on the side?"
After encouraging viewers to send in their feedback, it quickly became clear that not everyone agreed with the friend's logic.
"If you can't afford the sides, you shouldn't go at all," one viewer named Brian wrote in, with another, called Hamish, adding: "Sorry, Nicky, you need to unfriend your friend who did this - this is unethical."
"No thanks, it's offensive, stay home," a third weighed in, while a fourth noted that they bring their own food to the movies, adding: "Have you seen the prices lately?"
Watch the video above.