A 16-year-old Starbucks barista was asked on a date by a 37-year-old customer. This is how Starbucks reacted
Sometimes, companies do stand by their employees.
The customer isn't always right. The customer might be offensive, annoying or even mistaken. How, though, should a sales associate -- or their employers -- react?
An incident in Spokane, Washington offers some edification.
As far as the customer -- a 37-year-old man -- is concerned, he did nothing wrong.
"I was flirted with by a barista," he explained on Facebook. "For some reason she thought I was funny. Said I was funny. So I gave her a note to see if she'd be interested in dinner."
Was this normal behavior? It might seems so. But what if I told you that the barista is 16?
The customer says he went back to the same Starbucks the following day. There he was met by a police officer who told him he was now banned from that Starbucks.
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The customer claims that the officer told him the note had been "creepy." He insisted that he'd done nothing illegal (and currently, there's no evidence that he did). He complained that this is a clear case of age discrimination. He even encouraged people on Facebook to appeal on his behalf to Starbucks.
Perhaps some companies might, in a knee-jerk response, side with the customer. Starbucks isn't one of those companies.
"We have no tolerance for any such inappropriate behavior or harassment," said a company statement, "and we will continue to support our store partners and local authorities investigating the situation."
I suspect there's some information that hasn't come out yet. Still, the customer didn't garner much support on Facebook either.
His own Facebook page offers some questionable ideas, as some commenters have pointed out.
And if you look at some of the Facebook reactions to the actions taken by this particular Spokane Starbucks, you'll see a whole raft of messages that support the store's stance.
For example, this from Billie Jean Wagner: "Something similar happened to me when I worked at a Restaurant. I actually had to have a friend with a Concealed Carry to walk me home more then once!"
And this from Sara York: "Making baristas feel uncomfortable isn't acceptable. There is something wrong with this man. Good for Starbucks for standing up for their barista."
Some companies don't want to see any sort of public complaint about them. Here, though, Starbucks took one look at the circumstances and decided: "Um, no. That's not right."
It's worth remembering for every business that customers are people and you simply don't want some people as your customers.
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
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