Photo: Getty Images
  /  11.28.2022

Yesterday (Nov. 27), local Maryland news station WLBT 3 shared that a Black Starbucks customer recently went through a troubling situation while visiting the popular coffee chain. According to Monique Pugh, on Nov. 19, she received an order that read “Monkey” instead of her name.

Pugh, the only Black customer, was left shaken by the interaction. “If you didn’t hear my name, you should have said, ‘Excuse me, can you repeat yourself?’ Not once did she do that. She labeled me what she wanted to label me,” the young woman said. She believes the message on her Starbucks cup was intentional and racially motivated. The incident is now under review and the employee has been suspended.

Impeccable Brands is the company that owns the particular Starbucks franchise location where the offensive receipt was printed. In a statement, a spokesperson said the “label was made in error.” They also offered to implement more employee training to reduce the chances of something like this happening in the future. Pugh wasn’t a fan of their apology. “To say you’re taking the necessary steps to make sure that word isn’t put on any more customers’ drinks, it’s like, What were you doing before? And the fact that they keep saying it was an honest mistake. So, now, it’s an honest mistake and a labeling error?” she asked.

A rep for Starbucks added that because it was a franchise location, the one at Annapolis Mall wasn’t necessarily operated by the company. That explanation gave little relief to Pugh. “It’s triggering because it’s basically like, ‘OK, this occurred in our store, but we’re wiping our hands clean.’ Maybe [Starbucks] corporate does need to get involved,” she shared. “Her name is Monique. Not only do people not speak clearly, people also often give weird names at Starbucks. I live in MD and I was once a Starbucks barista. I think this was an honest mistake,” one person tweeted last week.

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