A California sheriff’s department says that employees at a local Starbucks laughed at, ignored, and ultimately refused service to a pair of deputies who were hoping to order drinks. However, after the coffee giant’s corporate office responded to the allegations, citizens are now more outraged than before.
During a nightshift, a pair of female deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department stopped at a Starbucks to grab a couple of coffees to help them on their patrol. After walking up to the counter, they soon realized that they weren’t going to receive the drinks they desired.
“Two of our deputies were refused service at Starbucks. The anti-police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said.
According to the department, the officers asked multiple times if they were going to be served only for employees to laugh at them and ignore them. The department maintains that it was a case of discrimination rather than simply poor service, Blue Lives Matter reports.
“The facts are undisputed in this case,” Sheriff Bianco said. “Two of our deputies went into a Starbucks in Riverside and they were ignored for a long period of time. They weren’t exactly sure how long, five minutes, 10 minutes, they think maybe it may even have been longer than that. But the bottom line, they tried to get served. They asked if anyone was going to help them. They were laughed at and they were completely ignored, obviously ignored, to where other patrons knew they were being ignored.”
The deputies ultimately left and ordered their coffee from another establishment. Sheriff Bianco explained that it’s simply another case in a series of anti-law enforcement bigotry from the company. After his allegations against Starbucks went viral, the corporate office hastily responded to the backlash, KTLA5 reports.
“There is simply no excuse for how two Riverside deputies were ignored for nearly 5 minutes at our store on Thursday evening,” Starbucks said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry and reached out to apologize directly to them. 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. The partners [employees] who worked that evening will not be scheduled to work while we investigate and take the appropriate steps.”
Although Starbucks apologized, the company denies that its employees discriminated against the officers, chalking up the incident to workers being busy at 11 p.m. However, the department isn’t buying their excuse, insisting that Starbucks is merely trying to cover itself for once again participating in anti-police bigotry.
“They’re doing corporate damage control. They want to downplay what happened,” Sheriff Bianco insisted.
Starbucks alleges that the female deputies were mistakenly ignored in what they consider a case of unsatisfactory customer service. However, Sheriff Bianco is defending his employees, who he says were laughed at and deliberately snubbed.
Despite Starbucks seemingly apologizing for the incident and acknowledging that no police officer should be treated in such a manner, the company’s statement has only sparked more outrage. Rather than quelling the fire, the coffee giant is now receiving more of a backlash than before its spokesperson responded.
Many have pointed out that anti-law enforcement encounters continue to happen at Starbucks with hardly any discipline. Others have pointed out that, when Starbucks has encountered alleged racism or discrimination at the hands of its employees in the past, they have launched company-wide sensitivity training. However, no such efforts have been made in the case of anti-police instances that have been proven true.
Still, others have vowed to boycott Starbucks, urging police departments to stop visiting the establishment in order to send a message to the corporate office. These same individuals have expressed confusion with why officers continue to bring their business to Starbucks after so many similar incidents.
Starbucks promises to launch an investigation into the incident and not to schedule the involved workers for shifts until it is complete. However, with the spokesperson’s claim that the situation appeared to be a simple case of poor customer service, it seems as though the scandal will merely fade away like all of the others.
Sheriff Bianco is sticking by his deputies and won’t back down his criticism of the company’s handling of the alleged discrimination. However, there’s no telling whether he and his colleagues will continue to do business with the establishment or take their money to a coffee shop that shows appreciation for police officers.