Bad form, Starbucks. There are some people who, when they say they’ve got to go to the restroom, they’ve got to go now, no waiting for service staff who left their manners, and common sense, at home. This includes toddlers and pregnant women, especially pregnant women who look like they are due to give birth in a matter of days. Yet, a rude barista at a Starbucks in Phoenix, Arizona, recently argued with, and denied permission to, a pregnant woman who simply asked for the restroom code in his shop.
The barista’s managers are trying desperately to do damage control, since word of his deplorable treatment of the expectant mother has traveled quickly. But how many apologies from higher-ups will it take to make up for the bad publicity that Starbucks has gotten on mom blogs and social media for the employee’s insensitive treatment of a pregnant woman?
According to 12 News, while Ilana Scheinker was walking with her husband, she suddenly needed to use the ladies room, a not-uncommon occurrence with pregnant mothers with babies jumping on their bladders.
“The urge hit me as it does many women who have two weeks to go,” she said.
She went into the closest place, a Starbucks coffeehouse, and found that the restrooms had codes on the doors. She asked the barista at the counter for the code, but he told her, “No.” Ignoring her condition, the Starbucks employee told her that the code was only for paying customers. Even after she told him, “I’m pregnant, I really have to use the bathroom now,” he reiterated that she would have to buy something.
Scheinker says that she went outside where her husband was waiting. He went inside and offered to make a purchase, any purchase, in exchange for the code for his pregnant wife. According to mommy blog The Bump, the two men went back and forth, with the Starbucks employee digging in his heels in an appalling display of customer service (or lack thereof). Ilana’s husband even tried to hand him his credit card, saying, “Charge me for anything.” But he wouldn’t give out the code, even though he tried to buy something.
Other customers were upset by the rude barista’s behavior as well. A kind lady in line offered to help. “I’m about to make a purchase. Give me the code and I’ll give it to her.” Yet, still, the Starbuck’s barista refused to budge. He even threatened to call the police, as he told the pregnant mother to go somewhere else to find a restroom.
Miraculously, the Starbucks did not end up with a puddle on the floor. The frustrated would-be patron went to a nearby Subway. The staff there apparently still value customer service, and didn’t have a problem with letting an expectant mother use their facilities.
In fact, another Subway restaurant in Nevada was gracious last year to another pregnant woman who barged in their door to use the restroom. As The Inquisitr reported, the woman came in saying she was in labor and needed the ladies room. The employees there showed compassion and competence by helping the expectant mother by bringing in sandwich wrappers and trash bags to put on the floor, where the mother gave birth just a few minutes later.
When the manager of the Phoenix Starbucks restaurant learned about the deplorable treatment of a pregnant woman, she called Scheinker. She apologized, saying she was “shocked,” and that she would communicate to the barista that his behavior was unacceptable.
When 12 News contacted Starbucks’ corporate office, they also received an apology.
“We failed to meet this customer’s expectations of us, and we have apologized and are working to make it right. This experience is unacceptable and not indicative of the welcoming and respectful service we strive to offer our customers in our stores.”
Ilana doesn’t want this kind of situation to happen to other pregnant mothers, according to The Blaze, and she is planning to boycott Starbucks. She hopes that the story of her treatment will help people to be aware that they need to show compassion to women who are expecting. The sudden need to go to the restroom is quite common in the last trimester.
It is common to hear that “customer service isn’t what it used to be.” Is the apology from Starbucks enough? Or is this reflective of a deeper cultural problem, where people are simply less respectful of fellow human beings?
[images via 12 News and FOX 43]