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In Defense of Starbucks

The company apologized, and committed itself to take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again. The officers were offended, and now they should be the grown-ups and forgive. Nobody wants snowflakes on patrol.

The facts are the facts, and this time they favor Starbucks. To wit: (1) the barista knew the officers; (2) the officers were regular customers; (3) the (white) customer who was uncomfortable complained multiple times; (4) the barista tried to make accommodation to a customer; (5) the barista asked the officers to move; (6) the officers became offended and left.

At first, I felt that this was just another SJW overplayed hand. I felt like it was Portland, Oregon and Antifa played out on a small scale, with coffee drinks instead of milkshakes. I read the Tempe Officers Association tweet and saw everything I needed to see.

But, as Ben Shapiro says, facts don’t care about my feelings. Now, I don’t know what the guy at the Tempe Starbucks has against cops. For all I know, he’s Walter White and has Saul Goodman on speed dial. He could have been tweaking at that moment and decided that the Po-Po was there for him, specifically.

However, that was not the issue at hand. The barista was in a bit of a conundrum, like a policeman who is asked to retrieve a bloated corpse from a river. They call it “I don’t get paid enough for this” territory, and indeed it sucks when you’re the employee being asked to deal with it.

Supposedly, the barista should have told the nervous customer to put on his big boy pants and leave, or suck it up, buttercup. Or perhaps maybe, for fun with articulable facts, and to challenge the Fourth Amendment, the barista could have told the officers to check out the anxious guy who seemed to be allergic to blue. Either way, the barista might have ended up at the bottom of a social media dog pile, fired, or both.

Following his or her best instincts, the barista asked the officers to move: wrong answer (because all the answers were wrong).

The facts defend the barista here.

I will stretch that to defend Starbucks itself. They reacted appropriately. Read the statement issued by Rossann Williams, Starbucks’ executive vice president, president U.S. Retail. Here’s the relevant bit:

Our strong relationship with the Tempe Police Department has provided us the opportunity to host several “Coffee with a Cop” events in area stores, which bring residents and police together to discuss relevant issues and find common ground. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with you, and we agree that the experience of your officers requires an important dialogue – one that we are committed to being part of.

What occurred in our store on July 4 is never the experience your officers or any customer should have, and at Starbucks, we are already taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.

The company apologized, and committed itself to take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The officers were offended, and now they should be the grown-ups and forgive. Nobody wants snowflakes on patrol.

In further defense of Starbucks and the barista: The company plays well to the political left, and is beholden to those values and stakeholders. This means that all kinds of “anti-bias training” and various efforts are geared toward not offending anyone over their skin color, homelessness, lack of a shower, preferred gender identity or pronoun, position on the universe’s spectrum of pan-sexuality, etcetera. But Starbucks does not train its employees on how to deal with police officers, because cops are ubiquitous.

It would be like training nurses on how to get along with paramedics (ask either and you’ll see). So any barista familiar with regular patrons in blue would probably err on the side of asking the cops to do them a solid, versus asking a potentially unstable customer afraid of the cops to suck it up. What barista would have predicted six offended officers leaving in a snit and then complaining to their union? Yet that’s exactly what happened.

The officers reacted just like a group of racially-offended people micro-aggressed by the presence of some symbol they have determined to be racist. Or like Colin Kaepernick and the Betsy Ross flag. I’m not saying the officers were unjustified in being a bit taken aback. And I’m not saying the barista communicated effectively–there was obviously a lack of communication here. But the police are expected to deal with these situations, in fact they’re paid to do exactly that in their jobs. Baristas are not.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir realizes this, and is acting like an adult.

Let’s not get our knickers twisted at six offended police officers. Hopefully, the cup of coffee that Rossann Williams and Chief Moir share Sunday will be the end of this issue.

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