TEMPE, AZ – Short and not-so-sweet: Six (in some stories five) Tempe police were drinking coffee at a Starbucks before going on shift to police July 4th festivities. An unidentified patron complained of feeling unsafe with the police officers there. The person in charge, who knew at least one of the officers, asked them to either move out of sight of the complainer or leave. Cops left.
The Police Union posted about it on Twitter, adding a ‘Dump Starbucks’ graphic. The Union also ‘reached out’ to Starbucks corporate, apparently as corporate was reaching out to them (I am imagining an accidental collision that looks like a glancing open-handed fist bump) with the kind of verbiage that only dedicated flacks can: “We know this is not a national policy at Starbucks Corporate and we look forward to working collaboratively with them on this important dialogue,” and “We have deep respect for the Tempe Police Department and its service to our community,” said the Starbucks statement. “We have reached out to understand better what may have happened in our store, and to apologize for any misunderstanding or inappropriate behavior that may have taken place.”
I suppose I should be happy about collaborative important dialogue work over inappropriate behavior that in fact did take place, but the whole affair is more confusing than anything else.
Who is training people to say, ‘I don’t feel safe’ and who is training business people to take them seriously when they do say it? Why did the person in charge not just inform the patron that he was probably safer now than he has ever been anywhere else?
Or just tell the patron, “no”.