In April 2018, the giant Starbucks coffee chain became the center of controversy when the manager of a Philadelphia store called the police on two black men who were waiting for a friend and had asked to use the bathroom without ordering anything.
Starbucks quickly announced plans to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours to conduct racial bias training, and the following month the chain informed their employees of a revised policy under which “Any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer.”
When Starbucks did temporary close thousands of their outlets on 29 May 2018 to conduct the aforementioned anti-bias training, a meme appeared on social media offering a purported quote from company CEO Kevin Johnson announcing a new policy under which “Patrons of color will be allowed to move to the head of the line at all of our locations”:
Of course, neither Kevin Johnson nor Starbucks announced any such “permanent cuts” line policy — the quote was just a spoof of the racial controversy and Starbucks’ response to it. Starbucks’ actual announcements around the event were more like the following:
For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome.
Thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks an inclusive gathering place for all.
See you tomorrow.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) May 29, 2018
In the weeks and months ahead, we'll address different forms of bias and all aspects of human traits. All customers deserve our respect and fair treatment. We will invest in our teams so they can deliver a great experience to every customer who comes through our doors.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) May 30, 2018