Student's complaint over Starbucks staff backfires with netizens criticising her for hogging seat

SINGAPORE - An 18-year-old girl who tried to use the power of social media to compel Starbucks to carry out "appropriate actions" against a store manager whom she claimed was rude and disrespectful, is probably now rueing her decision, after many people on Facebook pointed out her "inconsiderate behaviour".

Miss Yap Huixin had written to Starbucks Singapore's Facebook page on Sunday to complain about the manager of the chain's branch at CityLink Mall. She said that she and her friends were studying at the branch after buying drinks, presumably on Saturday.

She then said that her group left their seats for 30 minutes, apparently leaving all their belongings on the seats and table. When they returned, their drinks had been thrown away and their belongings were placed aside in a basket.

She said that the branch manager then "lectured" them, ignoring their "consumer rights".

She was also displeased that the manager told the staff to give one of her friends just half a cup of coffee to replace the thrown away one, when her friend asked for a replacement.

Claiming that she was "humiliated", she wanted Starbucks' management to take actions against the manager of the branch and to give her a reply.

What Miss Yap probably did not expect was that her post garnered over 700 replies over the next couple of days, mostly from people who chastised her "brattish" and "selfish" behaviour in hogging seats, and her "sense of entitlement".

The kids' stunt of leaving their belongings unattended in the store for 30 minutes also drew remarks that expressed incredulousness.

Many people online praised the manager and even said that they're more likely to visit that branch, because they'll probably have better chances of finding seats in the store.

The post on Facebook was apparently deleted at about 3pm on Tuesday.

Here is Huixin Yap's comment on Starbuck's Facebook page:

I am writing in to make a complain to the manager at CityLink Mall. I believe his name is Tracy?

My friends and I were studying and we bought drinks while studying, we left the place for about 30 minutes and when we came back, our stuff were cleared and being kept in a basket, with all our belongings being messed up.

I understand that it's our fault for hogging on to the seats and I also understand that Starbucks have the right to chase us away.

Touching our belongings without our permission is rude enough and the manager begin to lecture us and said that he is a business man and it's only right for him to maximise profit. But what about our customer rights?!

He then carried on lecturing us as if we are supposed to hear him scold us. I find it very ridiculous because we are customers afterall. What right does he have to lecture us?

He only stopped when I asked if we could retrieve our stuff. He threw away our drinks and when my friend asked for a new one, he specifically told his staff to only make the coffee half filled just because it was drank.

Serving a paying customer with half a cup of coffee when he was the one who threw away the drink first, is displaying a severe lack of work ethic.

I feel disrespected and humiliated as a customer. I felt utterly disappointed with the service and attitude of the manager, as he could have said it in a better tone.

I would like to get a reply from the management as soon as possible and would like to see appropriate actions being carried out. Thank you.

Here is Starbuck's response:

We're heartened to see so many passionate comments about this matter and in support of our partners (that's what we call our employees).

We're not reprimanding manager in question but we felt that we could have communicated a tad bit better. We do support our partners in carrying out their policies fairly.

We try our best to make sure Starbucks is a cafe that can be enjoyed by all and that everyone feels welcome at our stores. That includes improving our service standards but also communicating our policies.

Finally, we'd like to thank everyone who has contributed, one way or another to making sure that Starbucks remains a pleasant place for you to unwind and relax. We seek your kind cooperation to ensure Starbucks remains a place that belongs to all members of the community.

Have a good week ahead ya'll. Cheers!