Starbucks Fail

A Starbucks in Tempe, AZ, had one of its baristas ask five police officers who were having a pre-shift coffee either go sit somewhere else or leave altogether because one customer felt “threatened” over their being where the customer could see them.

In the hoo-raw ensuing, Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said

We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community.

That’s plainly not true. If Starbucks really cared, if it had any actual respect for the police—much less a shred of self-respect—it would have had a better-trained crew of baristas who wouldn’t knee-jerk insult cops over a snowflake’s made-up beef.

A day after the story broke, Rossann Williams, Executive Vice President and President, US Retail for Starbucks said this:

On behalf of Starbucks, I want to sincerely apologize to you all for the experience that six of your officers had in our store on July 4. When those officers entered the store and a customer raised a concern over their presence, they should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by our partners (employees). Instead they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.

These are empty words, whether sincerely offered or just marketing damage control. What’s necessary is actual, visible changed behavior over a sustained period of time.

It’s also sad that no one else spoke up and told this barista to seat the cops with him.

Aside from the simple courtesy of such a gesture, it might also be the case that other patrons wouldn’t feel safe without the cops around. Especially with someone possessed of so little respect for law and order so close by.

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