Philadelphia Starbucks stores can’t seem to get it right.
In April, the coffee chain was blasted in the news for arresting two black men for allegedly trespassing at a Philadelphia location. Subsequently, 8,000 Starbucks were forced to shutter for four hours on May 29 for racial bias training.
However, it seems the training didn't focus on disabilities, because a Philadelphia Starbucks barista is now being blamed for mocking a customer who has a stutter.
The 28-year-old customer, who is going by “Sam,” is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, who recently visited a Starbucks to order an iced tea, Philly.com reported.
He gave the barista his name, and she teased him by replying, “Okay, S-S-Sam.” When he got his coffee, he saw that the order label on the cup read “SSSam,” only adding insult to injury.
“It’s rare, as an adult, that that kind of disrespect happens,” Sam told Philly.com. “It happens, but it’s really rare to see it in print.”
Sam’s friend Tanner Lekwijit decided to call out the coffee chain by posting a photo of Sam’s cup on the Starbucks’ Facebook page, and then on his own page when the company continually deleted his comment.
On Facebook, Lekwijit said Sam emailed Starbucks’ customer service about how he was treated, and he “got a pretty standardized email saying they were sorry that he ‘felt disrespectful’ for the way they wrote his name and offered him $5,” Lekwijit wrote, adding, “Clearly, Starbucks missed the point. It was about how you treat people with speech impairments, not how you write names.”
According to the Huffington Post, a Starbucks spokesman informed the outlet that Starbucks is checking into the incident.
Sam told Philly.com that a Starbucks executive called him on Monday and apologized. “As someone who studies these kind of things [corporate decisions and operations], I believe she was sincere in her apology.”