We’re starting to wonder if being insensitive or ignorant is a requirement for new Starbucks employees. Though the specialty coffee shop is usually under fire for some racially-focused incident, this time one of its classier baristas went after someone with a disability.
According to a Facebook post compiled by Tan Lekwijit, his friend Sam, who has a stutter that pops up occasionally, was mocked by a barista at a Philadelphia Starbucks location. When the 28-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate ordered his ice coffee, his stutter slipped through. When he went to give his name, he stuttered through it – and the barista was sure to make fun of him for it.
“Okay, S-S-Sam,” she replied. Clearly, that wasn’t bad enough, because Tan Lekwijit shows in the Facebook post, she then printed “SSSam” on his order, as if he probably hasn’t dealt with a lifetime of abuse and mockery from awful people already.
When Sam relayed the story to his friend, Tan, the latter took to Facebook, posting an image of the cup with “SSSam” printed on it. The post goes on to discuss Starbuck’s initial response once customer service heard of the incident. The canned email also apologized that Sam “felt disrespectful” and offered a $5 gift card for his trouble.
Grammar issue aside in the response, for a company that’s had quite a bit of bad press over the past year, one would expect a bit more heart and compassion in its reply. Remember that training 8,000 Starbucks locations underwent? The one that was necessary to teach its employees the issues with racial bias? Yeah, apparently they need a training session to cover all possible areas.
Tan did update the post, alerting viewers that Starbucks commented with a response better suited for the issue at hand, though as some users point out, reaching out to Sam “to better understand what took place” may not be enough.
My friend’s 8 yr.o stutters. It’s pretty bad & she has a hard time, but she doesn’t think anything’s Wrong. We all just Stay patient & smile. Pure hate to pick on someone about! That chick better be fired ASAP! People like that need to be punched!!!
— IndigoRose76 (@IndigoARose) July 2, 2018
Starbucks should have a zero tolerance for discrimination. Just fire these people. Eventually they'll realize that discriminating against people shortens their paycheck due to getting fired. They'll get the picture then.
— Mad World (@MadddWWWorld) July 3, 2018
This is disgraceful. I think @Starbucks should expand their training and teach their employees the basic tenets of what it means to be a decent human being.
— Andrea Valentini (@GypsySpirit46) July 2, 2018
As one person points out, it doesn’t help that Starbucks went and deleted Tan’s original post, which he left on an official Starbucks page.
This incident comes within two months of a separate location calling the police on two black men for loitering as they waited for a business associate to show up. After the men were arrested, the business associate pressed authorities to understand what happened. “What did they do? … Because there are two black guys sitting here, meeting me.” To which a cop responded,”Yes, sir.”
I think @Starbucks need a wholesale revamp of their Philadelphia operations. It seems their staff need to take sensitivity assessments or something.
— Rafael Cabrero (@RafaAntonioDC) July 3, 2018