The presence of a few police officers at a Tempe, Arizona Starbucks was making a customer feel ‘unsafe’. The response by an employee of the coffee shop was to ask the officers to get out of the line of sight of that customer, or leave.
“It’s become accepted to not trust or to see police and think that we’re not here to serve you, and again, it goes back to — we take great pride of the level of customer service we provide to citizens, and to be looked at as feeling unsafe when you have law enforcement around you is somewhat perplexing to me,” said Rob Ferraro, who is president of the police union.
The union stated that it did not fault the Starbucks corporate office for the behavior, and knew that it was an isolated incident with the particular employee.
“This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening,” the union wrote. “While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.”
Starbucks offered a statement regarding the incident, saying;
“We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community,” spokesman Reggie Borges told the newspaper. “We’ve reached out to the Tempe Police Department and Tempe Officers Association to better understand what happened and apologize. We want everyone in our stores to feel welcomed and the incident described is not indicative of what we want any of our customers to feel in our stores.”
In what world are there people who feel unsafe with police officers around? It could be that the customer has a dislike of law enforcement, a strong dislike of firearms, or possibly both. In any event, catering to this one customer with this request is a silly thing to do.
The officers have every right to be there, just as the customer does. Instead of tailoring a world for the customer, why didn’t common sense prevail?