Starbucks Faces Chinese Boycott Calls After Store Was Rude To Police Officers

Starbucks SBUX has found itself with a public relations problem in China after an incident of impolite behavior to police officers at a store turned into a viral social media fury.

What Happened: According to a Reuters report, a user on the Twitter TWTR-style social media site Weibo reported that several police officers eating outside a Starbucks coffeehouse in the city of Chongqing were told by the staff to move away.

The Weibo chatter on the incident spread fast and wide, with many social media denizens suggesting a boycott – the company has approximately 5,400 stores in China. The Communist Party’s newspaper People’s Daily also weighed in by condemning the coffee chain for being “arrogant.”

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What Happened Next: Starbucks apologized for the incident on its Weibo account, calling the episode a "misunderstanding" based on "inappropriate communications," although the company also insisted that the officers were never asked to leave the premises.

The incident marks the second time in three months that Starbucks has been called out on Weibo for alleged problematic behavior. In December, a state-backed newspaper reported two of Starbucks’ outlets used expired ingredients in its menu items. The company issued an apology and vowed to strengthen inspections and staff training at all of its Chinese locations.

Photo: StockSnap / Pixabay

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