Police officers have been at the heart of multiple news stories recently, in both good and bad lights. Usually it’s due to something an officer allegedly did or did not do or to show support for officers under fire. This week brings a new kind of focus to the mostly esteemed public office.
A Dunkin’ Donuts employee in West Hartford, Connecticut let an officer of the law know that they didn’t serve their kind in that particular establishment. The Hartford Courant reported findings from the police report that described the incident from start to finish. When the Dunkin’ franchise employee saw the officer at the back of the line, she raised her voice and said, “he didn’t get the message, we don’t serve cops here.”
Representing his position, the officer quietly left the donut and coffee chain without any further interaction, according to police reports. The employee insists that she was making an admittedly poor joke with no ill will put behind it. Obviously recognizing the grievous error, both the manager and employee caught up to the officer before he could leave the premises offering apologies and free coffee. It seemed to be too little too late, as the officer’s only response was to decline and suggest they apologize to the crowd gathered inside.
Social media sites were set ablaze with calls for a boycott of the store, located at 1234 Farmington Ave, as well as Dunkin’ Donuts as a whole. The Dunkin Donuts corporate twitter and social media feeds were bombarded with calls to action. Although they were anxious not to appear in a bad light, they were quick to point out (and have been for the past two days) that although the crew member was wrong, they were an employee of a franchise store which employs its own personnel.
@mikesacconetv ) We are aware, Dunkin’ Donuts & our franchisees share a commitment to the well-being & fair treatment of all of guests 1/2— Dunkin' Donuts (@DunkinDonuts) October 5, 2015
@mikesacconetv The crewmember exhibited poor judgement and the franchisee has apologized to the police officer on behalf of Dunkin'Donuts2/2— Dunkin' Donuts (@DunkinDonuts) October 5, 2015
Certainly, police officers have had their fair share of rudeness in aggressive and passive forms, but to have it done so publicly in an establishment that society as a whole is able to easily associate with them is something of a shock if social media is anything to go by.
Donuts and officers have gone hand in hand for as long as most of us can remember. You could go for the obvious joke that officers love donuts, or the more rational thought that in their line of work, copious amounts of coffee are necessary to function. Either way, since America apparently runs on Dunkin’, it just makes sense that police in general would be widely welcomed in any Dunkin’ establishment.
The store has since issued an apology to the police, the public, and to Dunkin’ Donuts headquarters. According to the Courant, the employee also did as requested and apologized to those within. Although Dunkin’s headquarters is right in that this incident is not reflective of the chain as a whole, there was another incident at yet another franchise in Providence, Rhode Island according to Go Local Prov News.
The media outlet reported that when an employee noticed the officer waiting to order, she became rude and made it seem as if she was unwilling to wait on the man. When the officer received his beverage, the Dunkin’ employee had written, “#blacklivesmatter,” on the cup. On it’s own, the popular tagline is viewed as innocent. Combine it with the attitude of the employee and the fact that it was directed at an officer, however, and the Providence police department saw it as highly suspicious.
This is clearly not an issue related directly to Dunkin’ Donut stores as a whole, and while the call to boycott the chain and terminate jobs is noble in theory, it may not be effective. Go Local quoted Mike Iamondi, Providence Police Patrolman and Providence FOP Vice President saying, “This is unacceptable — all lives matter.”
It appears that this is the road the departments are trying to take.
[Image credit to Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Dunkin’ Donuts]