June 19th, 2003
Starbucks Coffee Company – Customer Relations Department
PO Box 3717
Seattle, WA 98124-8891
I visit Starbucks nearly every single day, and sometimes twice I might add. I’ve always been very satisfied with the service and the products, but after what I saw today, I don’t know if I will ever go back to Starbucks. I’m still in complete shock after witnessing the events that took place in my Starbucks. Regardless, I think you should know what happened from a customer’s standpoint.
Just like every morning before I go to work, I entered my favorite Starbucks in Austin on Research Boulevard. As I was standing in line, I heard some commotion start up in the back. At first, it sounded like a lot of metal banging and clanking together in addition to a “cow bell” sort of noise and several people arguing all at once. Voices were escalated and loud, and at one point I heard a woman nearly scream at the top of her lungs, “No! Not this time, you retarded son-of-a-bitch! You’re not bringing that thing in here!” Then I heard the loud and unmistakable sound of an animal, “Baaaaaaaaaarrrrrhh!!!!” Every employee behind the counter stopped what they were doing and ran into the back while every customer in the store stopped what they were doing and looked at each other with bewildering expressions on their faces. I should have immediately bolted out the door and gone to work without coffee. I guess it was the sheer curiosity that kept me in there, but now I regret staying.
There was screaming, cussing, banging around metal and bell noise, and a lot more loud animal sounds coming from the back. Then, as if it wasn’t getting ridiculous enough, a goat with a cow bell around his neck ran out from the back and into the main area of the store! Let me repeat this in case you missed it: A real live goat with a large cow bell collared around its neck literally came running into the main part of the store with three Starbucks employees running behind it! The goat ran right between me and the counter, and exactly at that moment some customer was entering the store and the goat ran full speed right out the open door. As I watched the goat run through the parking lot, someone behind me started screaming some unintelligible nonsense and I turn around to see one of the employees crying and yelling.
Now, I know you are probably reading this knowing that this whole event is the most absurd thing ever, but wait! It gets even more ludicrous! The guy who was standing there howling and screaming is a Starbucks employee I have seen many times, nearly every day in fact. His name is Charlie, and he is clearly mentally retarded. I’ve never really seen him behind the counter making coffee; he’s usually out in the store cleaning tables or he’s asking customers if he can pour sugar in their drinks and such. Anyway, I try to stay away from Charlie as much as possible. But the part that you’re probably not going to believe here is the fact that not only was Charlie screaming and yelling unintelligibly (he’s got a bad speech impediment that goes along with being retarded) while stomping up and down in a tantrum spasm, but the only thing that the boy was wearing was black cowboy boots, his green Starbucks apron, and “tighty-whitey” underwear. Nothing else. No shirt, no pants. He was basically naked.
I wish that this was the end, but it’s not. As I was watching all of this in disbelief, I suddenly heard the sounds of screeching tires. I turned around just in time to see that the goat was in the process of running across Research Boulevard when he was suddenly hit by a truck! Seriously, it was one of the most gruesome things I have ever seen. Everyone in the store saw it, including Charlie, who started screaming and crying louder than I thought was humanly possible. I have never seen a human being act like this! It’s hard to describe all what happened, but the kid was honestly going berserk. The only other employee still left in the store ran over to Charlie to calm him down, but he just turned around and literally attacked a wall with shelves that held a lot of Starbucks merchandise. He was smashing everything with his fist and feet! Charlie is a big boy: he’s just over six feet in height and I would guess he’s close to 300 pounds in weight. I was petrified as I watched the scene! As it was turning increasingly violent, it occurred to me that I needed to immediately take myself out of the situation. As I was running out the door to my car, Charlie inadvertently knocked the female employee down to the floor. He was immersed in a raging fit, flailing his arms and legs about and smashing everything in sight.
The last thing I noticed as I pulled out of the parking lot was that the traffic was completely stopped on Research Boulevard behind the truck that had hit the goat. The man that ran over the goat was standing in the road with three of the Starbucks employees, all staring at the dead beast. The only employees left in the store were Charlie and the poor female trying to pacify him. Believe it or not, all of this happened in less than a minute.
Look, I don’t know what the hell was going on; it was by far the weirdest scene I have ever witnessed. I can only imagine what happened after I got out of there. I watched the news to see if there was any report, but surprisingly enough, nothing was mentioned about this incident. However, I’m still in a state of utter bewilderment and shock. I wish that I could erase the whole day out of my mind, but it will be embedded in my brain forever. I’m assuming by the time you get this letter that you will have already received information about this incident through the store’s management. In addition, I think you really need to comprehend how this has affected the customers. I can’t really speak for everyone in the store this morning, but I’m sure they are all as traumatized as I am by all of this.
Please understand that I love drinking Starbucks coffee, but I can’t go back in there until some things are explained. First off, I already have a phobia of mental retards. Charlie scares the bejesus out of me as it is, but after this morning, I’m downright terrified and I doubt that I will get any sleep for the next few weeks. It’s already after three in the morning now. And where were his clothes?! I’m guessing that Charlie will be terminated after this, but I want to be sure before I even think about going back to my Starbucks. I just can’t cope with a big naked retard who could go off like a loose cannon when I tell him not to pour sugar in my latte. Nor can I deal with the screaming, cussing, or goats in the store. Why was the goat in the store anyway!? When I visit Starbucks, it should be a pleasant experience, and today it was anything but.
I really need to collect my thoughts on this and I need your help. For my peace of mind, could you please explain to me what happened? I guess that’s all I’m really asking for.
Still waiting for a response…