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Letter to Starbucks

December 19, 2006

Starbucks Coffee Company
PO Box 3717
Seattle, WA 98124-8878

To Whom It May Concern:

On Monday, December 18, my wife and I visited the Starbucks Coffee # 6259. As we walked in the door, a woman who obviously worked there said “We’re closing in five minutes” as she walked hurriedly past us. We ordered and received our drinks and sat down at a table.

The same woman came to our table and said “We’re closing now.” We acknowledged her statement and asked, “Could we sit for a few minutes while you are closing up?” When she told us that she had to lock the front door, I asked if she could lock it now and then unlock it to let us out in a few minutes as both my wife and I have done many times in our combined years of experience in the restaurant/foodservice industry.

Although we did not ask for the manager at any point, she said “I am the manager. I’ve been the manager here for three years, and no one has ever had a problem with it.” I’m not sure if she meant that no one ever had a problem with her being the manager, or with having to leave at precisely 10:30.

I pointed out that she was now raising her voice at us. She turned around and hollered out to a coworker behind the counter, “Did you hear what I just said?” to which the coworker shouted back, “What?” She offered this as proof that she hadn’t actually been raising her voice to us.

This employee used an increasingly agitated and aggressive tone as she said, “We open at five o’clock in the morning, and you can come back and sit here then.” Now this logic would have made me laugh were I not being accosted by a Starbucks employee, as if since I was enjoying a rare evening alone with my wife while our children were safely with their grandparents, I would return to the same establishment at five the next morning to extend this quiet evening.

She angrily told us, referring to the cash register, “There has been a line up there for the last five hours, and now we are closed,” as if somehow the fact that the store had been busy that day was a problem, or that it was our fault.

My wife asked the employee if she had a customer comment card that we could fill out. The employee first asked, “Are you serious?” My wife confirmed that she was indeed requesting a comment card before the employee produced one. When I asked the employee for her name, she replied that it was Shara. When I asked her for a pen so that I could write her name down, she refused to produce one. On our way out the door, I stopped at the register so that I could use a pen there, but she again refused to allow me the use of a pen.

As we were walking out the door – my wife was already outside and I was walking through the doorway – Shara said to me, “Your wife is very…” before I interrupted her and told her that she should be careful about how she chose to finish that sentence. She immediately claimed that she hadn’t said anything at all. The entire encounter lasted about two full minutes, and we walked out the door at 10:33PM, completely stunned by what had just transpired.

The reason for this letter is not because we were not allowed to stay past the 10:30 closing time. The reason for this letter is to address the absolutely appalling and intolerable way that we were treated by a Starbucks employee. If our request to sit for a few minutes had been politely and professionally refused, we would have been disappointed, but we would have left without giving the situation another thought. Instead, this employee responded to our request with rudeness and hostility.

We feel strongly that in this case, Shara did not act as a professional, and Starbucks failed in its corporate mission to “develop enthusiastically satisfied customers.”


Brian and Stephanie Rozell
Circle, Alaska

cc. Starbucks Coffee Company
2779 Ridge Road
Rockwall, TX 75032

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 at 10:55AM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Ever hear anything back from this??
March 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMel

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