I know Starbucks baristas are notorious for misspelling customers’ names, but this is a whole new level of wrong.
11-year-old Teigahn Sangster visited a Starbucks with a friend in Edinburgh, Scotland. According to the Mercury Press, Sangster says that it was the first time she went to the popular coffee chain without an adult. She and her friend were about to enjoy their purchases when her friend noticed the writing on her cup. The barista allegedly wrote “fat” or “fato” on the side instead of her name.
Sangster said she felt, “really embarrassed, upset and angry by it” and quickly called her mother, Dionne Ford, following the incident. Although Ford made no effort to hide her disgust with the barista’s actions, Sangster told her mom, “It doesn’t matter mum, I am fat.” The unsettling statement was upsetting for Ford to hear and heartbreaking for us to read.
Starbucks launched an investigation and concluded that the message hadn’t been written intentionally. The investigation is discouraging in its lack of explanation.
Her mother was outraged and commented further. “She’s tall for her age, 5’5″, and is well developed already but she’s not fat by any stretch of the imagination. She wears adult size eight clothing and regularly goes horse riding and indoor rock climbing – she’s a really active girl.”
A Starbucks spokesperson addressed the incident and offered an explanation and a formal apology on behalf of the company. Here is the full statement:
We were concerned to learn of this as it is not indicative of the friendly service we provide in our stores. We are very sorry for the upset this has caused the family. Following our investigation, we want to reassure that our store team did not write this intentionally. It was originally crossed through and the circle is an indication that the partner (employee) hasn’t captured the name correctly. We would like to get in touch with the family directly to explain and apologise.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Starbucks employees used their cups to offend a customer. Last year, a barista wrote “diabetes here I come” on the label of a customer’s grande white mocha. Even worse, the customer had two sisters diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Now I’m glad Starbucks never hired me back in college if the employees are doing this to customers.