Remember when Starbucks closed up to 8,000 stores for a day in May this year to give employees a racial-bias education course? This was after an incident in April where two Black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while they were waiting for a business meeting — and not ordering anything.
Starbucks has since changed its guest policy, allowing people to sit without buying anything.
Maybe it’s time for a refresher for Starbucks employees.
On Nov. 26, Johncarl Festejo, a retired Filipino American U.S. Air Force veteran, entered the Vacaville, Calif. store.
When the barista asked for the man’s name for his order, he gave it as John.
But in the busy coffee shop, the name Chang was then called out multiple times.
“A few minutes later, I was just waiting in that area, and next thing I know, I hear, ‘Is there a Chang here? Is there a Chang? We got a hot cocoa,’” he told KCRA-TV. The name had seemingly been changed by a staffer.
Festejo’s name on the Starbucks app was listed as Johncarl, he said.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, is this my order? Because my name is not Chang.’ She responded that it could have been my name on the app,” Festejo continued. “So, I double checked my Starbucks app. It says my name. I just asked, ‘Is this some kind of joke? For real? Like, come on now.’”
When he asked why his name was changed to Chang, Festejo said the barista slightly snickered.
When Festejo complained to the corporate office, Starbucks responded with the typical corporate line, “At Starbucks, we take great pride in providing a warm and welcoming environment for everyone who enters our stores and expect our partners to uphold our values and follow through on our commitment. We have a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind, and the experience in question was not reflective of our mission and values.”
Starbucks representatives said the employee in question has since been removed from the schedule pending the outcome of an investigation.
“We have reached out to the customer and shared our deep regret for their experience, are conducting an investigation into the matter, and will take appropriate actions,” Starbucks said.
Starbucks has a great reputation for socially responsible corporate policies. For example, Starbucks is a champion of gay rights, and it has offered part-time workers health insurance and other benefits since 1990.
Starbucks should seize this opportunity to continue its long tenure at the vanguard of promoting progressive values.