8,000 Starbucks locations across the world and right here in Erie are responding to an incident that gained worldwide attention for its racial insensitivity.
Charise Martin considers herself a regular at this Starbucks on State Street. She’s not thrilled the shop is closing its doors for a few hours, but she supports the reason why. “I am bi-racial myself. Every time I come in this store I’ve never been treated wrongfully. I’ve always been treated with respect and I really really appreciate that.”
According to a company email, the training is in-part centered around understanding prejudice and the history of public accommodations in the United States. This coming after a manager at a Starbucks in Philadelphia called the police on two black men who were sitting in the shop waiting for a friend.
Authorities arrested the pair for trespassing, but the charges were later dropped.
Gary Horton, Erie NAACP President, says, “The incident that happened is not unique to minorities across the country or even here in Erie that feel that they don’t always get the respect they’re due as consumers or citizens.”
Some customers tell us they think other companies should follow suit and take training more seriously in the future. Zoe Wenzel, Starbucks Customer, says, “It’s a great way for companies to just become involved in the community and know exactly what’s going on and sometimes they’re not as well informed as they should be and it’s great for everyone in the company to be involved not just people up in corporate.”
While the trainings only last a small portion of the day, some national experts are estimating the corporation will take a hit of more than $12 million in lost profit, alone.
No one from the Starbucks was willing to comment today, but a release indicates the training focuses on building a diverse and welcoming company.