A Starbucks executive allegedly accused an Asian customer of trying to steal trade secrets and take them to China.
San Francisco resident Daniel Lui was at a Seattle Starbucks when he says an executive approached him and said, “I wanted to let you know we’re very open with all our technology and all of our equipment, and if you want to take any of it to China you’re totally free to do that,” CBS San Francisco reports.
Then the man reportedly added: “You can even get same-sourced beans, but you know what you can’t get in China? Our training.”
Lui, who was on a business trip at the time, said he was shocked by the statements.
“We didn’t know what to think,” he told KPIX. “We were dumbfounded.”
Lui says the company later apologised and gave him a $US50 credit on his rewards card. He also got a phone call from the Starbucks executive who had approached him.
“He actually [confessed] to really thinking that we were from China and wanting to steal secrets,” Lui told KPIX.
The man also reportedly invited Lui to return to Seattle to talk about race and reconciliation.
The incident happened shortly before Starbucks launched its ill-fated “Race Together” campaign, which encouraged baristas to talk about race relations with customers.
We reached out to Starbucks for comment and will update when we hear back.
Watch the interview with Lui.
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