Just a month after having employees undergo racial bias and diversity training, Starbucks goes under fire across social media for another incident involving a staffer’s insensitivity. This time, controversy hits the coffee company because of a Philadelphia Starbucks barista who mocked a customer’s stutter.
In a Facebook post, Tan Lekwijit describes the incident, which affected his friend Sam: “My friend Sam, who is a stutterer, stuttered on his name when ordering a coffee at Starbucks,” he wrote. “The barista said, ‘Okay, Ssssam.'” And as seen in the accompanying photo, the barista then wrote “S-S-SAM” on his friend’s cup.
“There are many people with speech disorders who are in a worse position than my friend’s and struggle with self-esteem and self-confidence,” continues Lekwejit. “Getting this kind of treatment from people, especially service employees, only scars them — and I beg Starbucks employees to have this in mind.”
Lekwijit says that Sam wrote an email to Starbucks Customer Service, but got nothing more than a “pretty standardized email saying they were sorry that he ‘felt disrespectful [sic]’ for the way they wrote his name.” That, and $5. Wow.
People was able to confirm that the barista who offended Sam no longer works at Starbucks. “There’s no tolerance for this type of behavior. We’ve taken immediate corrective action and apologized to the customer,” the company said in a statement to the magazine. “We want our stores to serve as a welcoming place for every one who visits and strive to ensure our partners provide a positive experience.”
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