TEMPE,AZ-A Starbucks barista in Tempe, Arizona put the company in another compromising situation on Independence day when she asked Tempe police officers to leave the coffee chain because their presence made a customer feel uncomfortable.
According to the Tempe Officers Association, six Tempe police officers stopped by the Starbucks at Scottsdale Road and McKellips for coffee. The officers paid for their drinks and stood together having a cup of coffee. They were approached by a barista, who knew one of the officers by name, because he is a regular at that location.
The barista said that a customer “did not feel safe” because of the police presence. The barista asked the officers to move out of the customer’s line of sight or to leave.
“Disappointed, the officers did in fact leave,” the association said in a statement. “This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.”
The Tempe Police Department issued a statement, reminding citizens and Starbucks that their police officers make great sacrifices to keep their city safe, especially during the holidays.
Two days after public backlash and boycotts, the chain offered an apology to the officers.
“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,” Starbucks EVP Rossann Williams said. “At Starbucks, we have deep appreciation for your department and the officers who serve the Tempe community. Our partners rely on your service and welcome your presence, which keeps our stores and the community a safe and welcoming place.”
The incident once again brought to light the company’s past political statements which have angered Americans over the past few years. Then Sarbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the company was going to take an anti-Trump, pro-immigration stance, telling stockholders who did not like it to sell their shares.
Schultz, a New York City Billionaire eventually resigned as chairman and announced his plans to run for President in 2020. He subsequently dropped his bid for office, citing health issues.