Starbucks Apologizes After Baristas Refused Service to 2 Sheriff Deputies in Riverside

Published on December 16, 2019

Starbucks is making headlines again after baristas refused service to two Riverside sheriff deputies on Thursday.

Deputies Denied Service and Starbucks Spokesperson Apologizes

The alleged incident took place at a Starbucks near the University of California, Riverside. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco tweeted the deputies were blatantly denied service.

“Two of our deputies were refused service at Starbucks…the anti-police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end.”

Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borge told KSEQ baristas ignored deputies for 5 minutes and apologized, saying costumers should not be treated this way.

“There is simply no excuse for how two Riverside deputies were ignored for nearly 5 minutes at our store on Thursday evening,” said Borge.

He continued saying, “we take full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement on whom we depend every day to keep our stores and communities safe. No customer, in or out of uniform, should ever have that experience at a Starbucks.”

“We are in communication w/@Starbucks Corporate addressing the issue of deputies being denied service,” tweeted @RSO.

“Maybe it was super busy,” Was it a MisUnderstanding?

But some who work in the food industry told ABC7 it could have been a combination of misunderstanding and bad service.

“Your busy doing a task and you can’t get to everybody, so everybody has to wait their turn till they get to you,” Jasmin said. “I don’t think it has anything with them being police.”

Another viewer saying, “maybe it was super busy and they took it super personal, who knows…but usually anywhere you see a cop or firemen you [say] ‘thanks for your service.’”

This is Starbuck’s Third Anti-Police Conduct in 2019

This marks the third time in 2019 the coffee chain is in the spotlight for employees being hostile towards law enforcement.

In July, a barista asked six officers in Tempe, Ariz., to please move away from customers because apparently, a customer complained the officers’ presence was making them feel uneasy. 

Borges said to the customer was “anxious, nervous or uncomfortable” and asked the baristas what the officers were doing near the entrance.

“The barista said, ‘These guys come here all the time,’” Mr. Borges said. “The barista repeatedly said, ‘They come here all the time. There is nothing wrong.”

The Tempe Officers Association posted, July, on Facebook, “The officers paid for their drinks and stood together having a cup of coffee. They were approached by a barista…the barista said the customer ‘did not feel safe’ because of the police presence.”

The posted continue, “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.”

And it did not take long for the incident to go viral. Some user’s Tweeted showing their support for the officers.  

“I bet if and when the Starbucks customer needs help, the cops would be the first ones they called,” tweeted @Cocogehring.

While another user tweeted supporting the customer stating they also did not “feel safe around the cops.”

Barista Prints “PIG” on Holiday Cup’s Label

And two weeks ago in Oklahoma,  a barista handed an officer a coffee cup with the word “PIG” printed on the cup’s label.

“The Starbucks partner who wrote this offensive word on a cup used poor judgement and is no longer a partner after this violation of company policy,” the statement read. “This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities’ safe.” 

Grit Daily is a proud supporter of the men and women in blue and thanks them for their service.

Kevin Pichinte is a staff writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is a news associate at ABC7 and was formerly a digital news intern at NBC7 and TLM20. At Grit Daily, he covers entertainment and culture news.

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