Starbucks Customer Appalled After Barista Writes ‘Hippo’ On Her Cup

A general view of a Starbucks coffee shop on December 3, 2012 in London, England.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

An administrative worker in London was shocked when a barista wrote an unprofessional name on her cookies and cream frappuccino cup after taking her order. Though she has received an apology, Nadia Khan wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

The Daily Mail reports that Khan, 25, from West London, was at the Starbucks in Feltham, London, when she ordered her beverage and noticed that the male barista had written “Hippo” on the side of the cup.

Starbucks has a tradition on writing their customers’ names on the cups of the people who place the orders, but this hurtful reference shocked the young woman.

“When I got my drink, I noticed ‘Hippo’ but I dismissed it as really bad writing,” Khan said.

Khan showed her mother, Andria, the cup, and she “went ballistic,” confronting the Starbucks employee, according to the victim.

“Mum told him he should treat customers with respect, no matter how skinny, fat or whatever,” she said.

Khan reported the matter to the company, calling the name “grotesquely unprofessional.” She says she has now received a formal apology from Starbucks headquarters, which acknowledged that the coffee shop’s employee acted in a manner which went against the company’s philosophy about relating to their customers.

“We have a long-standing tradition of connecting with our customers by writing their names on our cups. This incident is not indicative of the welcoming environment we aim to provide in our stores, and have apologized to the customer directly. We are working closely with the store team to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

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This is not the first time a Starbucks’ customer has complained about a mislabeled and offensive coffee cup, shares The Guardian. A Philadelphia man gave his Muslim name, Aziz, to the barista, who wrote “Isis” on his coffee cup. He says he regularly goes into this Starbucks, and all of the cups had “Isis,” the name of the Islamic state terrorist group on the beverages.

The man said he was “shocked and angry,” feeling as if he was being discriminated against for being a Muslim. He claims he is now considering legal action against the company after getting no satisfaction.

A Starbucks spokesman, Reggie Burges, claims it was just a mistake, and that the employee apologized to the alleged victim in the case, and the company doesn’t believe that this is a case of discrimination.

“The customer approached and provided the name Aziz. The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly.”