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‘Offensive’ New Starbucks Mugs Fly In Face of ‘Inclusivity Training’

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‘Offensive’ New Starbucks Mugs Fly In Face of ‘Inclusivity Training’

Today, Starbucks is offering anti-bias training to all of its 175,000 employees (well, not the ones who work in the slummy grocery store and Target versions of the coffee shop). But the rest are being trained not to kick out people of color for sitting and not purchasing coffee or bakery goods, or even those new $149 coffee mugs they have in some stores (yep, more on that below).

Nothing says equality like offering the 1% an elite coffee mug.

starbucks expensive coffee mug

CEO Howard Schultz confirmed that today’s anti-bias training will indeed be happening. He stated in a letter to Starbucks’ faithful customers that the Philadelphia incident “prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks.”

They are now “evaluating inclusion,” unless we are talking top-grade coffee mugs, in which case you need a lot of money. Shultz letter confirms that the training is to teach employees to not be racist, as well as redefining customers as “anyone who enters a store.” Yes, this means you can just walk into any Starbucks and occupy a chair without making a purchase. If someone else made a purchase and would like to sit down, but a patron who didn’t buy anything is occupying that chair, the paying customer must hit the road or sit on the floor, or anything but feel that they deserve the chair over a freeloader.

Because, “inclusion.”

So, to recap, Starbucks is going to train its employees to not be racists decked out in green aprons. You can go grab lunch and a coffee from any store you want and bring that into any Starbucks you choose and camp for the day without repercussions. Only a select group of people can afford to buy elite, top-quality coffee mugs from Starbucks. Maybe it would be more inclusive to give all the redefined patrons a new mug? Everyone deserves quality in their lives. It feels mighty uninclusive to force many customers to be subjected to paper cups while others sip lavishly from heated electronic mugs.

Most customers can’t afford a $149 mug, but Starbucks is going to forcefully remind them of their inequality each time they walk to the barista bar? This feels very uninclusive. In fact, it meets the literal definition criteria for uninclusive. How could it not?

But that’s everything that’s wrong with extreme liberalism. It is never bound to its own standards, only the rest of us are.

Oh, here’s the full text of Shultz’s letter.

This afternoon Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores and begin a new chapter in our history.


In 1983 I took my first trip to Italy. As I walked the streets of Milan, I saw cafés and espresso bars on every street. When I ventured inside I experienced something powerful: a sense of community and human connection.

I returned home determined to create a similar experience in America—a new ’third place’ between home and work—and build a different kind of company. I wanted our stores to be comfortable, safe spaces where everyone had the opportunity to enjoy a coffee, sit, read, write, host a meeting, date, debate, discuss or just relax.

Today 100 million customers enter Starbucks® stores each week. In an ever–changing society, we still aspire to be a place where everyone feels welcome.

Sometimes, however, we fall short, disappointing ourselves and all of you.

Recently, a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called the police a few minutes after two black men arrived at a store and sat waiting for a friend. They had not yet purchased anything when the police were called. After police arrived they arrested the two men. The situation was reprehensible and does not represent our company’s mission and enduring values.

After investigating what happened, we determined that insufficient support and training, a company policy that defined customers as paying patrons—versus anyone who enters a store—and bias led to the decision to call the police. Our ceo, Kevin Johnson, met with the two men to express our deepest apologies, reconcile and commit to ongoing actions to reaffirm our guiding principles.

The incident has prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks. The reflection has led to a long–term commitment to reform systemwide policies, while elevating inclusion and equity in all we do.

Today we take another step to ensure we live up to our mission:

FOR SEVERAL HOURS THIS AFTERNOON, STARBUCKS WILL CLOSE STORES AND OFFICES TO DISCUSS HOW TO MAKE STARBUCKS A PLACE WHERE ALL PEOPLE FEEL WELCOME.

What will we be doing? More than 175,000 Starbucks partners (that’s what we call our employees) will be sharing life experiences, hearing from others, listening to experts, reflecting on the realities of bias in our society and talking about how all of us create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong—because they do. This conversation will continue at our company and become part of how we train all of our partners.

Discussing racism and discrimination is not easy, and various people have helped us create a learning experience that we hope will be educational, participatory and make us a better company. We want this to be an open and honest conversation starting with our partners. We will also make the curriculum available to the public.

To our Starbucks partners: I want to thank you for your participation today and for the wonderful work you do every day to make Starbucks a third place for millions of customers.

To our customers: I want to thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks what I envisioned it could be nearly 40 years ago—an inclusive gathering place for all.

We’ll see you tomorrow.

With deep respect,

Howard

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.


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