Starbucks aren't exactly having the best year so far. One particular incident in Philadelphia last month was bad enough that it warranted locations all around the country shutting down for an afternoon, so all employees could take part in training for "racial bias education".
Two African American men were arrested after Starbucks employees called the police, all because they had sat down without buying a drink. The two men were scheduled to meet someone and were waiting until then to order, as many of us have done when the call was made. They were handcuffed and escorted out peacefully by officers, while onlookers repeated that "they didn't do anything".
Melissa DePino, the woman who caught the incident on camera, captioned her tweet with:
"The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white people are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing."
Now, it seems like Starbucks have gotten caught up in a scandal all over again - although this time it doesn't stem from any systemic issue, but from a crime committed by those under their employ. An astounding amount of meth (alongside other drugs) were found in a truck transporting Starbucks products last Thursday in Washington state.
According to KIRO channel 7, Centralia police claimed that 126 pounds of methamphetamine were found in the truck, which was moving Starbucks products between California and Spokane.
Police found 40 bundles of meth in a television box, as well as another 50 bundles elsewhere, 2.4 pounds of suspected heroin, thousands of Oxycodone pills, and some cocaine. Basically, this is like the meticulous drugs smuggling activities often seen in Breaking Bad, but with a lot less effort going into it.
The truck was stopped by the police, who requested help from a narcotics K-9 after spotting some "suspicious activity". The interior was searched, and the drugs found. The 22-year-old driver and 62-year-old passenger were identified and booked into the Lewis County Jail. Luckily, none of the (legitimate) product in the trailer was exposed, so the owners made arrangements to retrieve the load, transferring it to another truck, where it continued on its route.
A spokesman for Starbucks said on Friday that the driver and truck involved in were hired by a third-party company and not Starbucks directly, but given that it was their product being transported, and people technically under their employ, it hasn't made the company look any better following its recent slip-ups.
According to tracker YouGov BrandIndex, Starbucks has slumped to its lowest "consumer perception" measure since November 2015, in a sharp drop from its approval rating last year. In 2015, they received backlash for replacing its annual "symbols of the season" Christmas cup design with a simple red cup. While this is not an ideal situation for the company, it seems that they are at least taking some steps to address the issue.