Starbucks Complaint - The Handicapped are not welcome at Starbucks
SCARBOROUGH, CALIFORNIA -- This was in the form of two e-mails that I sent to Starbucks.
I went in to Starbucks at Kennedy Commons, Scarborough, Ontario Saturday afternoon.
I am handicapped and use a cane or a walker depending on my pain and mobility level. Saturday I was using my cane. I went into the store, used the washroom first and then went to stand in line. It was busy and I was in line for just over 5 minutes before I got to the cash.
I placed my order and after I had paid, tucking my cane visibly under my arm to exchange the cash and change, I noticed that there are two small stickers with a handicapped symbol on the back of each cash register. I read the signs. They read that assistance is offered to the handicapped with table-side ordering and drink delivery. I hadn't noticed the stickers previously because a tall display of mints and other impulse-buying items was sitting directly in front of both signs!!! I am handicapped and I look for such signs and stickers everywhere I go and I didn't see these signs until after any table-side assistance I needed was pretty much over.
But I mentioned it to the cashier. I told her than anyone actually in a wheelchair (although not all handicapped people use wheelchairs) would never see the sign because it was completely blocked from sight. An appropriate response from your staff would have been to immediately remove the display (and find a better place for it later) in order to start providing the service to handicapped right away, should it be needed. The response I got (from the cashier!) was a stunned "I never noticed the signs before." and then she took the order of the person behind me. I grabbed a card from the small stack of cards beside the cash and limped away from the cash to stand waiting another 5 minutes for my beverage.
As I was waiting I asked to speak to the manager. I spoke to B. I told her that the display was blocking the stickers offering help to the handicapped. Maybe I had been expecting too much from the cashier. The cashier probably didn't have authority to move displays but the manager definitely would.
B told me that the staff were all aware of the policy and would notice any handicapped person coming in and offer help right away so it didn't matter if the sign was visible or not. And then she turned away, picked up a box of something and started to walk away. I was stunned. I had picked up the card for the manager of the store at the cash and just stuck it in my shirt pocket. I pulled it out and checked the name and then asked the barrista if B was really the manager because the name on the card is C. I had to ask the barrista because the so-called manager had already moved out of hearing range. I leaned on the counter, hung the handle of my cane on the edge of the counter so I could show him the card I was holding. He told me that B was the manager on duty but C is B's superior.
Noticing that I still hadn't left, B came back, scowling. I have no idea what she was about to say because she finally noticed my cane hanging on the edge of the counter and her face went blank. AFTER I HAD WAITED 5 MINUTES IN LINE AND ANOTHER 5 TO GET MY BEVERAGE AND ANOTHER 5 TALKING TO HER FACE TO FACE SHE NOTICED I AM HANDICAPPED!!
Wanna know what B did? Because this is the sugar topping on the pumpkin scone right here!! She offered me a sleeve for my coffee. She made a big show of reaching into the bin to grab one for me. She then made a move to grab for my Latte. I moved my drink out of her reach, took the sleeve from her and put it on my own drink and left without another word.
I went back Sunday at roughly the same time. And had EXACTLY the same result. Almost worse in that two of the same staff were there and the line was twice as long as yesterday. So much for B noticing handicapped people and going right out to help them. Every table was in use so unless she was prepared to kick people away from a table, the proposed table service wasn't available. I took a few photos in my 10 minute wait in line. I wasn't hiding the fact that I was taking pictures or the fact that I was using a cane but I was still ignored.
The displays are still covering the signs. These signs are barely an inch high by 4 inches long. Even uncovered, they are too small to be much use but a token effort to help handicapped people would be nice. This store doesn't even make that tiny effort. There are huge windows in front of the store as well as double glass doors. Could they not find a prominent spot to display the sticker on the door? I guess if handicapped people could actually see the sign the store might be required to deliver on what they supposedly offer.
I'm including a link to one of the best pieces of fiction I've read in a long time. It's called the Starbuck's Mission Statement.
While I could easily go through it line by line with proof positive that each line has no basis in reality, I'll stick to the two issues that the 'partners' at Kennedy Commons apparently have never heard of. Ironically enough titled 'Our Customers' and 'Our Stores'.
When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers— even if just for a few moments. Sure, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection.
Really? When you're fully engaged? First of all, what does that even mean? Not the 'fully engaged' part, though that's an odd term to use, I'm referring to the 'When'. Meaning that the 'partners' working with machines that shoot out steam that can scald flesh in under a second aren't always 'fully engaged'? That's not just dangerous, it's terrifying! My SON has been near those machines!!! Have other people never read your mission statement?
Maybe I'm just unlucky but in the extensive time I've spent in that Starbucks in the the last 24 hours I have not had one single of your partners become even partially engaged with me unless I've initiated it for a negative reason that the mythical 'fully engaged' state would have prevented.
I'm trying to keep this within a 2GB size so I'm not even go into the last two lines of that portion of your fairy tale "Sure, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection"
except to write, as my room pointed out, judging from the number of times his no-foam extra-hot latte has been produced with a half inch of foam on top and gone cold in 10 minutes, even a promise of a perfect beverage is a huge stretch on what you deliver.
And now we'll move on to 'Our Stores'.
When our customers feel this sense of belonging, our stores become a haven, a break from the worries outside, a place where you can meet with friends. It’s about enjoyment at the speed of life—sometimes slow and savored, sometimes faster. Always full of humanity.
With no handicap parking in front of your store, no ramp near your entrance, no handicap entrance button on your door, and the only allowances you make for the handicapped is in the form of a tiny sticker that you have hidden behind displays of merchandise where even the able-bodied would have dificulty finding it, you have the audacity to suggest that I could feel a sense of belonging or think of your store, where I am very obviously not welcome, as a haven?
'Always full of humanity'? It's always full of something but you only got three letters right and you missed the 's' at the beginning.
You had the chance to fix it. I advised your 'partners' the day before that there was a huge flaw in the position of the stickers. They could have fixed the problem by removing even one level of the items for sale. And then they lied to me. Then Starbucks website lied to me.