Starbucks employee fired after going off on customer in video posted online

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NEW YORK — A Starbucks employee was fired after a video of her ranting at customers at a New York City store went viral.

NBC 4 New York reports customer Ruby Chen was at the center of the employee’s anger.  Chen complained about the incident and posted the video on Starbucks’ Facebook page.

Chen says she ordered a Frappuccino and was pulling up the Starbucks app on her phone to pay. The Starbucks employee asked her name for her order.  Chen says she didn’t hear her, at which point the worker began shouting at her.

Chen claims the employee told  her to leave the store and accused her of trying to steal the cookie straw she was holding.

Chen asked if there was a manager she could speak with and the employee said, “You’re talking to the manager.”

The worker was a shift supervisor, not a manager, according to a spokeswoman for Starbucks.

When other customers in the store began to speak in Chen’s defense, the supervisor began yelling at them, NBC 4 New York reports.

A spokeswoman for Starbucks told NBC 4 New York the employee was fired as soon as they learned of the incident.

“This customer’s experience is not reflective of the service our partners provide to customers every day,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Our leadership team is reaching out to the customer to apologize and make this right.”

Chen told NBC 4 New York that Starbucks reached out to her in a follow up comment on her Facebook video and said the district manager apologized and promised “the leadership team would do everything to prevent terrible customer service of this kind from happening ever again.”

Chen said she was offered a $100 gift card and assured that the company was taking her complaint seriously.

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35 comments

  • Edward Douglas

    The difference between the private sector, in which competition exists with accountability being the norm and government, where corrupt government/law enforcement employees are inefficient and no accountability exist is amazing. This employee should apply for a government position, where the standards are low and termination does not happen.

  • yvonne

    lack of coping skills and anger management skills its seems like everybody everywhere in all jobs is having both issues . hope that
    the supervisor learned her lesson so she doesnt make the same mistake again

  • George

    It”s a unique Type of customer that over spends on everyday items such as fancy coffee – stubborn unhappy accused customer should have just politely walked out – and the customer who felt it necessary to record and post the incident – get a life- you’ve obviously never dealt with the public in a customer service situation

    • gabby

      Can I like your comment a million times? What happened before they shot this video that made this person so mad? Probably some 1st class entitled BS

    • Joe's Mama

      Sounds like you need to aim higher and get out of the customer service industry and focus on a career instead. You talk like you have plenty of customer service experience. Running a register is a part time high school job…not a future or a career.

    • Sam

      Honestly it has nothing to do with how much they spend or don’t spend. Customers pay your bills so you respect them. I highly doubt that customer was being rude to the worker. Judging by the jerry springer act the worker displayed , she was clearly upset at something else and let it out on the customer . So don’t get things twisted, customer service is a job. Being that I have been in customer service 13 years never have I felt the need or right to speak to a paying customer in that manner. Employee was way out of conduct, and should have maintained her calm.

      • Emo

        Right of the Jerry Springer Panel!! Customer Service- You don’t talk to customers that way…EVER… Additionally, you do not degrade and embarrass yourself with this type of behavior. No possible justification.

  • Anthony Esparza

    This is where Starbucks “Just say Yes” policy makes the baristas top off or tap out.
    Corporate does not educate managers how to deal with customers even shift supervisers whom in current managers eyes are managers training according to new partner development. 2014 was the highest turnover rate for the entire company. Part ers are taking the gokden training and going else where to deal with the same struggle, with a higher income. As a former partner for seven years I’ve seen corporate respond to complaints with giving customers money of gift cards however not taking issues seriously or not adhearing to policy. They are developing quickly and Howard may have some awesome ideas and goals for his company his partners beyond headquarters don’t care any more. Managers take customers sides when baristas are following policy. They say it’s just say yes. If that’s the case why create a policy?

  • Observer

    Starbucks, their employees and their customers are a joke – and now vividly displayed on video!
    “…accused her of trying to steal the cookie straw she was holding.” This amplifies the pettiness of this non-news story.

  • Axel

    I like how Starbucks tried to say this wasn’t reflective of their service. It is in New York! I used to be a partner for around a year, trust me… The workforce in NYC is powered by outterborough personalities. They’re all ratchet AF.

  • celina

    I’m sure the customer tried to pull up something on her phone saying the coffee is another price than what the employee was saying to her. probably went on and on about how it says another price and wasn’t getting it. ( I have had many incidents like that) where a customer tries to save a couple of cents or a buck and is displeased to hear that’s not what the price is.

    • Charity

      If you actually READ the story, it states that the customer was pulling up the Starbucks app on her phone to pay. She didn’t hear the clerk ask her for her name, and the clerk went off.

  • Scott Pietruszka

    While this Starbucks employee was a supervisor or lower, why in God’s name did the Manager, in white pacing behind this incident, fail to stop this employee rant. Both should be fired.

    • Gavin

      The guy in white probably wasn’t a manager. You can wear either black or white shirts and either black or khaki pants. That girl was probably the shift supervisor which is a key holder and manager in training.

  • shane

    A camera phone is a dangerous tool, takes out the ‘he said, she said’. I would assume the employee was having personal problems that just boiled over. To end this type of a stand off, the customer shout have bowed out and called the district management outside the store. By staying all she did was enrage the situation. No doubt the employee would have been fired or reprimanded firmly.

  • Bob Hicks

    Somebody had one (two?) too many Frappawhatevers this morning!
    Dealer’s are not supposed to do their own product, just supply the Junkies, and keep the line moving!

  • Jas

    This is very rude and her being on welfare has nothing to do with the way she acted I know of people on welfare who would never act like this in a million years. Your comment is disgusting and you should really think before you post.

  • lamary

    I worked in retail for many years never have I yelled at a customer. They have yelled at me . Remember customers are always right . This customer was actually nice. The employee was the one with the issues.

  • AnnFromBethesda

    This “supervisor” should have remembered that her job WAS to serve coffee and take money. She isn’t there to reprimand customers who are fiddling with their phones. This customer was trying to pay with her Starbucks app, which was on her phone. What a classless idiot–she deserved to lose her job.

  • Unsatisfied customer

    There are rude customer service/cashiers everywhere. But people need to learn to be diplomatic and just provide service, not lip service! At Pret on Madison and 48th Street a cashier got nasty – by stating “well, if you just told me which one, I would have gotten it for you” – in a nasty tone. No need for that. People like that should not be working with the public. There are tons of qualified people in need of work, hire those people, who have common courtesy and want to work! Nothing political about that.