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December 27, 2007


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I'd like to know more about the circumstances... like did the barista drop the drink? Did it get knocked over? Did the dad drop it? etc...
But still- why are they blaming the barista? I mean, it was the dad who ordered the coffee in the first place, and who brought his kid up to the register. Sure, maybe the barista was at fault, but what about the parent?


The settlement stated that the barista had "A duty of reasonable care not to serve hot coffee to an infant." Ummm....was the coffee FOR the infant? If so, where does the JSY policy stop?

On the other hand, I'm the mother of a 10-month-old. I can't imagine the trauma of having my son burned in such a way. I'm sure it was not intentionaly, but it serves as a strong reminder of how quickly accidents can happen.


I understand having Starbucks pay the medical bills considering it was an accident that occurred in store, but the attorney's statement makes no sense. "A duty of reasonable care not to serve hot coffee to an infant"?? According to the rest of the story, the barista was serving the coffee to the father, not the child. It's a horrible accident for both the family and barista.


I can just imagine the fuss that the parents would have made if the barista had told them that he didn't want to deal with the coffee near the baby. I think all SB should now have a policy that they won't hand coffee to someone holding a child. Just think of the shrieks of indignation from all of the self-important parents who think they are the first person in the world ever to have a baby so they bring the poor kid everywhere.

A barista should never hand coffee to anybody. They should place it on the counter allowing the customer to pick it up themselves.

Placing coffee cups on the counter is especially important for folks with things in their hands like a kid or older folks whose hand eye coordination isn't what it used to be.

PS: How much you want to bet the little guy was sitting on the counter poopee diapers and all.

We should introduce a skinny gossip website. Each post limited to 15 or less happy words.


PS: How much you want to bet the little guy was sitting on the counter poopee diapers and all.

AHA! I shouldn't laugh, that actually happened in my store, as soon as that little bottom was off the counter out came the disinfectant, too funny.

chitown's best/angriest barista

two words: personal responsibility.

yes... policy states we cannot hand the coffee to anyone... we have to sit it down and let them take it... i've had grabby ppl a few times cause spills by yanking it out of my hand... my trick is to look away and place it down... throwing them off and then call out the drink when it is safely on the counter...

.......works real well in the drive thru.


yeah, i hate it when people at the drive thru of our Starbucks grab the drink from your hands all hard and stuff like they're in such a hurry. It sucks that this child was burned, but I think the fault of the barista is probably limited in this case. nobody understands, unless they've worked at a starbucks, how people can be with their drinks. how grabby they are or how hectic it can be when you've got kids with you or there's a long line. People get a little frazzled. But, because he bought the coffee from Starbucks and his kid got burned whilst in the Starbucks, then it MUST be the fault of Starbucks. I highly doubt the barista was "serving coffee to an infant." Jesus, this isn't Family Guy and that kid isn't Stewie.


" "A duty of reasonable care not to serve hot coffee to an infant.""

Thats legal talk...store employees owe a duty to customers of reasonable care, and to are responsible for conditions they are aware of, and should be aware of. Ever had a conversation with a district attonery? They have assistants and secretaries follow them around because they generally forget that normal people dont understand law-enese...same way starbucks has that little bitty book teaching customers how to order in our language.

sk*nny b*tch

A good reminder to be careful. It must suck to have scalded some poor kid and cost your company $70,000. It's easy to get caught up in the rush and cut corners to save time, especially if you're on no sleep and too many shots of espresso! I know because I almost spilled two drinks today, so I'm making sure that I always set everything down. Doesn't help that many people put their crap on the counter, making it difficult for both registers to function efficiently. I wish people could pack their sh*t faster, I feel rude talking over them, but I also feel bad for everybody waiting for them.

BTW, my store started making Americanos with the water first. The manual says shots first, and I did a taste test: it tastes better the right way. Anyone else notice a difference?

Of course there is a difference. Thats why there are standards. Woo!!!!!!!!!!!!


"...."had a duty of reasonable care not to serve hot coffee to an infant."

And maybe the father had a duty to be a little more careful where he has his son? Like, not near hot items?

Accidents happen, and I agree that if I were running SB I'd make it a new policy not to hand coffee to an adult holding a child.

"Doesn't help that many people put their crap on the counter "

Most of the crap on the counter is junk being sold by Starbucks.


if your only getting a tall americano, it doesn't matter. However, the shots will start to go bad as your waiting for the subsequent 3rd and 4th shot.

When we do americanos, its usually half of the cup is water, then shots, then the rest of the water. If you put the shots on top, it becomes CM like, not mixing through thouroughly.

Your also supposed to put the cup directly under the spout and NOT use shot glasses for any beverage unless its a tumbler (or I'll also use the shot glasses for CMs)
When it goes into the shot glass first, then poured into the cup, some of the crema is left in the shot glass. You'll get a better flavor if the cup is placed under the spout.
It will feel weird doing it at first, but you'll soon get the hang of it, and it works even faster then using the shot glasses.

Drinks should always be placed on the counter. If the customer is holding their hand out to receive it, explain that you must put it down first to avoid accidents. They will understand.

Back to the topic, the father should not be holding a cup of coffee anywhere near the baby.

Decaf for EVERYONE!

As far as burn complaints go ... I have the real kicker.

Those of you who work at a drive-thru store will understand what i'm talking about when I speak of those DT Customers on their cell phones ... the ones who are just so inconvenienced by the fact they have to reach out a grab their beverages.
I mean, they are just in such a rush that they don't pay attention to the cup of near boiling tea/coffee/latte in their hand that they SLAM it into thir window frame spilling it all over themselves.
Then ... THEN* ... they look at you with anger / panic - like we are totally at fault. LOOK what you made me do. NAPKINS they scream! *NAPKINS*.
One woman came inside to complain that *we* - yes - *WE* made her 30 minutes late for her doctor's appointment because *SHE* slammed her grande white mocha against her window frame while snatching it from my hand. I loved this woman. She makes me LOVE the world.
She was almost as good as the customers who speed out of drive thru at 40 mph - leaving their credit card behind. Then, they call 2 hours later screaming that we FORGOT to give it back to them / DIDN'T give it to them.
These people used to infuriate me. Now they simply make me smile inside - because it makes me realize how sane and mentally healthy I really am ... because these people are f-ing NUTS.

Morgan Wilkins


I think you have a new "most expensive drink ordered at Starbucks" record to break.

Check it out: http://catallaxy.net/2007/12/27/the-most-expensive-drink-at-starbucks/

Lou Sussler

Although the settlement amount is a huge amount of money, in the legal world and for a company the size of Starbucks, it really isn't so much at all. It almost sounds like it will just about cover the cost of treatment once the lawyers third is taken out.

Part of me wants to say kudos to the family for accepting a reasonable amount for having hot coffee spilled on their baby, regardless of who was at fault.

Pen Wong

Don't Fear Starbucks
Why the franchise actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses.


Hey Pen,
FYI, Starbucks isn't a franchise mate.

Regarding brewing shots directly into the cup:

I know that it says in the BRM to brew shots straight into the cup, but in our region we are required to brew into the shot glasses for all drinks. Any idea why?

Just curious.


Remember, baby skin is much more sensitive than adult skin. Something that would make your skin turn red or even blister, might give a small child a third degree burn.

In cases like this, a person is responsible for all the injuries that he causes even if they don't know that the injured person is more sensitive than a normal person. A person serving coffee has a duty to be more careful when handing the coffee off to a person holding a child.

That being said, only the people who were there actually know who's at fault. I'm sure that Starbucks thought it would be cheaper to give 70K than go through a trial and possibly face a huge McDonalds type judgment, not too mention the tremendous legal expenses involved.


Not sure why you would be required to brew into shot glasses... It may have something to do with assuring quality with every shot... however, i can safely bet very few people in your region actually look at the quality when making beverages.

EX-SBUXMANAGER: The duty to be more careful really shouldn't apply. Whenever handing out beverages, the beverage should be placed on the counter, and the customer would then pick it up.

We will probably never know who is at fault, unless the security video (if there is one and hasn't been deleted yet) is released...

chitown's best/angriest barista

the idea behind brewing into shot glasses is so that you can see each individual shot, to see if it looks right, appropriate body heart and crema, so you can see better if your machine needs adjusting. however, this is ridiculously impractical and a waste of time. so just be sure your machines are calibrated right and you dont let shots sit too long before adding dairy. i've also found that the taste is less bitter if you add a splash of the milk to the bottom of the cup before you pour the shots, and then finish the beverage as normal.


so we're NOT supposed to pour coffee on children? i guess we're going to need to retrain some partners!

ha! in all seriousness, i do feel for this family, and it gives me one more example to share with the customers who insist on no lid on their drink, or try to grab it from my hand, or like someone mentioned above, refuse to roll their window down enough to actually fit their cup through and then spill it on themselves.

my store requires shot glasses unless a customer requests otherwise. i'm often one of those customers. but yes it's to help ensure shot quality and pull time, and it's faster - i can hit the shot button and have the shots pulling while i'm marking the cup and getting syrup as opposed to waiting until the cup is marked and syruped first. every drink like that saves a few seconds, which adds up fast in a rush.

plus, i've definitely been guilty of having 8 pumps of syrup in a PM sitting under the pour spout, realizing the shots were old, and then serving them anyway because it would take too long to get a new cup, mark it, and get more syrup because you have 20 other cups in line behind it. i've seen too many other partners do that, too, especially in a rush. so it doesn't really bother me to use shot glasses exclusively. we used cups in my last store, glasses at this one. you get used to whatever.

you can't taste the crema left on the glass after syrup, milk, and WC anyway. i do prefer to put the cups underneath for espressos, macchiatos, and americanos b/c it's certainly easier to taste the difference.


I think $70,000 is a reasonable amount for both sides. Babies burn far more easily than adults and burns can lead to months of treatment in a hospital setting. With health costs what they are nowadays that money probably just covered what the family's insurance would not.
I take my son into *$'s all the time and the people there love him. Probably because he likes to reach into my wallet and put all the green stuff into the tip jar.
As a barista you have to exercise caution where your customer would not. Sure people can be difficult but better to see some leave slightly perturbed than scarred for the rest of their lives.

Regarding brewing shots directly into the cup:

I had an SM once who decided that all shots were to be pulled into shot glasses and he forbade any of us for following the standard of pulling most into the cup...I started quietly asking around the district and it turned out he'd just gotten it wrong and was passing bad practices on to his staff. It came up in a meeting and the SM announced to the whole store that he was wrong.

Lesson: 1)know your standards 2) know that SM's do have the power to make you do things wrong-they are the boss 3) this is why *$ is slipping

I had an SM once who decided that all shots were to be pulled into shot glasses and he forbade any of us for following the standard of pulling most into the cup...

excuse me, pulling shots into cups IS NOT standard, maybe you should 1) know your standards 2) quit being a skeptic 3) read your BRM


I had a SM who freaked out when someone set a baby on the counter because he was convinced the poopy germs were going to come through the diaper and clothes, get on the counter, and somehow infect him.

He also made it policy that we weren't allowed to cut open honey packets for customers....because he was allergic.

pulling shots into cups on the verismo 801 is not the preferred way for hot drinks... sometimes the BRM isn't updated... make sure you check all the memos.... check the portal! I know all when it comes to sbux protocol! Believe it.

Ha, I am not flawless i meant to say NOW not NOT... read on...

pulling shots into cups on the verismo 801 is NOW the preferred way for hot drinks... sometimes the BRM isn't updated... make sure you check all the memos.... check the portal! I know all when it comes to sbux protocol! Believe it.

Medical cost do not exist. Shriners does NOT charge for their treatment.


If you are pulling shots directly into the cups, make sure to keep an eye on the level of esspresso beans in the hopper! Our Verismo has been pulling water shots before it tells you to "fill hopper" or even if it just gets too low.


First of all, u never pull shots right into a cup. Even if ur making a dopio or an americano. You never know if the shot is mismeasured and such and it isnt starbucks standard. I used to pull the shots right into the cup till we got a new manager and she brought down the law.


Also, say a customer walksin a asks you to make a frappucino but with wc in the blender with it. Would u say no or yes?

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