Some Trump supporters are calling for yet another boycott of Starbucks after one woman said she was bullied at a Charlotte, N.C., store for wearing a Trump T-shirt. Kayla Hart said that when she walked into a store there last week, the baristas laughed at her. When she received her iced tea, instead of bearing her name, it was labelled "Build a Wall."
"I just found it really sad that I can't wear a T-shirt with our president without being made fun of," Hart said to her local Fox station, which first reported the incident.
This isn't the first time a Starbucks location has been threatened with boycotts from the right. Over the past few years, the chain has become a political lightning rod and a battleground for the culture wars, stirring religion and our constitutional rights into that venti latte. Previous Starbucks boycotts were related to the company's Christmas cups, which religious activists criticized for being secular, or "taking the 'Christ' out of Christmas."
Other viral flare-ups have involved a Miami man who claimed Starbucks refused to serve him because he was a Trump supporter (a witness said the man got angry that his coffee order took too long) and a customer who started a campaign to get people to give their names as "Trump" so baristas would have to call out "Soy macchiato for Trump!" Earlier this month, a man was arrested at a Chicago Starbucks for punching another man after a spilled drink escalated into an altercation. The man yelled "Shut up, slave!" at two black customers.
Even President Donald Trump, while on the campaign trail, criticized Starbucks for its Christmas cups. "That's the end of that lease," he said at a rally, referring to the Starbucks in Trump Tower. The Starbucks in Trump Tower remains open.
Starbucks has become so politically volatile in part because its founder, Howard Schultz, is outspoken about progressive causes. But it's also because coffee is a ritual for many Americans, so when the experience does not align with their personal beliefs, the discrepancy feels more personal.
"Many of us go to the same coffee shop every day, so when there's a violation, it's not so easily overlooked," Derek Rucker, a marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, told The Post in November. Potentially, customers are "more vested in their experience there."
Hart contacted customer service, and the company issued a statement to Fox 46 Charlotte. "This experience is not consistent with our standards or the welcoming and respectful experience we aim to provide every customer who visit our stores," the company said.
But that didn't stop the calls for a boycott - although they're less organised than previous Starbucks boycotts. Sarah Palin's website was among the conservative media that brought attention to the incident. A typical tweet looked like this one:
"The Starbucks baristas who made fun of Trump supporter(customer) should be fired. Boycott Starbucks. Hit them where it hurts. Like Target!"