A Starbucks in Glenpool, Oklahoma announced that one of their baristas who printed the word “PIG” on an Oklahoma police officer’s drink order label was fired. The officer involved, who is a member of the Kiefer Police Department, was picking up five drinks that he ordered for his fellow 911 dispatchers to say thank you for working during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to NBC News.
On the flipside however, there is speculation about this incident involving a handful of ideas. For one, a Twitter user with the handle @argumentwinner claims that Starbucks has a filter which prohibits any profanity or questionable words to be written on our beloved cup of joe. With this theory, the Twitter user further claims the police staged this as a sob story.
Another Twitter post shared by the same user showed a direct message they received which claimed the police officer actually told the barista to put “PIG” as the name for his order, as it was a running joke between him and his fellow officers.
Following the initial story stated by NBC News, which says that the barista did this on their own in an attempt to criticize the officer, it’s hard to believe these other theories considering the Kiefer Police Chief Johnny O’Mara was contacted by the policeman involved as soon as the incident happened. It was also stated that O’Mara called the store and spoke to a manager on the topic according to NBC News.
Further debunking the Twitter speculations, according to NBC News, the officer involved also told ABC affiliate KTUL TV that the barista contacted him, apologized and said it was meant as a joke.
Standing by NBC News’ report, it seems Starbucks did what they had to do in firing the employee. If it was a joke on the barista’s part, it is unfortunate that they had to lose their job. However, when working for a widely popular chain, one must be aware that doing such things can very well go viral and your actions do have consequences.
This isn’t the first time however that Starbucks has dealt with conflict involving police officers and discrimination towards customers. According to NBC News, in July of 2019, Starbucks had to apologize because a barista asked six officers to leave one of the company’s stores in Arizona after a customer reported feeling unsafe due to their presence. The company had to apologize again earlier in May of 2018 when 8,000 Starbucks locations were closed for an afternoon to hold anti-bias training for employees after two black men were arrested by Philadelphia Police for sitting in a Starbucks without ordering, according to NBC News.
These incidents, however, do not say much about the coffee shop as a whole. They seem to be unfortunate situations that pile up under the Starbucks name. With each incident, Starbucks has always done the right thing and attempted to shed light during troubling times.
In a statement by Starbucks that was shared by NBC News in reference to the “PIG” drink label, the company stated, “This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.” With this, it’s important to recognize with these situations that in life, failures do in fact define you; it is just about how you let them. It seems Starbucks refuses to let these times turn their future coffee bitter.