Again. California uniformed deputies denied service at Starbucks


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – two sheriff’s deputies walk into a Starbucks coffee shop and are refused service. It’s happened again. The latest ugly story revolving around Starbucks baristas and a lack of professionalism took place in Riverside, California.

Last Thursday night, two uniformed deputies with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department went to Starbucks for coffee. It didn’t go well for them. After being ignored by the baristas and laughed at by other customers when it became obvious that the deputies were being ignored, they left. The amount of time of their wait before leaving is not completely clear. Originally, it was reported that the wait time was about five minutes. In a video on Facebook Sheriff Bianco isn’t able to say exactly how long their wait lasted before they left – it could have been longer.

Riverside County Sheriff Deputies Ignored at Riverside Starbucks:Two Riverside County Sheriff Deputies visited a Starbucks location on University Ave in the City of Riverside to get a coffee when they stood there for an unreasonable amount of time to be served according to Starbucks Corporate, who obtained video surveillance footage of the store and reached out to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and local media outlets due to the social media negative attention.KSEQ was able to provide a statement from Starbucks that stated:“There is simply no excuse for how two Riverside deputies were ignored for nearly 5 minutes at our store on Thursday evening. 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. “I was able to meet up tonight with Riverside County Sheriff, Chad Bianco, his lovely, amazing and supporting wife, Denise and the two Deputies at the focal point of this incident.All is good though, no one’s feelings are seriously hurt enough about this incident that they will stop responding to a calls to assist the public, respond to calls to serve and protect the community in the utmost professional manner, etc… Although, change needs to be made at the top and make a statement that this type of behavior should not be tolerated…

Posted by Steve Johnson on Saturday, December 14, 2019

That interview took place in another coffee shop. Sheriff Bianco took the officers out for coffee. If I am looking at the officers involved in the incident, it looks like they are female deputies. That doesn’t make a difference in how the deputies were treated, it’s just an observation. The slight by the baristas was obviously because of the uniforms that identified them as sheriff’s deputies.

It is interesting that after Sherif Bianco posted a tweet about the incident, he didn’t stop there. He actively responded to some who mocked or criticized his tweet. It was good to see him pushing back on jerks like this guy who mocked the length of time involved, for example.

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Bianco’s tweet cited “anti-police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees” and it is getting hard to deny that accusation. This is the third such anti-cop behavior in the short span of six months. The company admits the deputies were ignored for five minutes. It sure looks like a culture problem with the corporation. If these problems were occurring in mom and pop places or local store chains, we would be reading about them, too. Somewhere along the line, there is a breakdown in the training process or perhaps in the hiring process.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the barista would not be working while an investigation was underway.

“There is simply no excuse for how two Riverside deputies were ignored,” said Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges. “We are deeply sorry and reached out to apologize directly to them.”

Borges added that the employees who worked that evening would not work while the company investigates and takes the “appropriate steps.”

He said he reached out to the sheriff and to the deputies. He put the blame on Starbucks and took responsibility.

“We’re deeply sorry and we have reached out to the sheriff to apologize, and we’re hoping we can connect with the deputies directly and apologize as well,” Borges told USA TODAY by phone. “We’re taking full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement, on whom we depend on every single day.

“No one, whether you’re in uniform or not, should have to experience what these two deputies went through in our store, and we’ll take the steps necessary to address it.’’

That’s all well and good. But, how many more times does this anti-cop behavior have to happen at a Starbucks for standard apologies to fall on deaf ears? Frankly, I’m surprised when I read that any law enforcement officers still patronize Starbucks. If a company is unwilling to improve its hiring practices or training standards to speak in no uncertain terms that law enforcement personnel are welcome, why give them business? The incident before this one was just in the news two weeks ago.

Coffee is usually better elsewhere, anyway. Be Best, Starbucks. Take stock and do better.

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