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November 30, 2009


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"The manager refused and fought the suspect, who hit the manager in the head with the butt of his gun."

You never bring a knife to a gunfight.

Seriously though, was it worth it? Sure he fought off this prick and managed to own him, but come on. The dude had a freaking gun. You just put your life (and the life of whoever was closing with you) at risk for a few hundred dollars. Do you think Sbux really cares about the pittance that you saved them?


I agree with yodel, human life is way more important than any money or product.

Plus why did he have the safe open before locking the front door anyway?

is it so hard to be civil

This is very scary. Four police officers were shot in a coffee shop in Lakewood, Washington this Sunday.


As someone who has been held up working retail (not Starbucks), I would encourage people not to be so judgmental with so few facts. Who is to say the manager didn't attempt to follow standards by offering the money first? The article mentions the manager fought back after being ordered into the freezer; for all we know he felt immediately and physically threatened. A worker does have the right to defend themself if they are being accosted.

Fork me! I'm done!

Gunmen would be stunned by the size and beauty of my box cutter if I were to whip it out in front of them during a robbery.


Those box cutters terrify me. I envision some of my thuggy colleagues having a temper tantrum and using the box cutter as a weapon. It seems way more dangerous than the serrated knife or even the pointy thermometer.

Barista Ben

This is why I just carry a knife. We call it The Shift Knife. Every shift should carry a knife.

For cutting. Boxes, of course.



me myself and I

If you would like to rob my store, you won't need to bring any weapon. My extra smart co workers always keep the box cutter knife right next to the register so a robber could just reach out, take the knife and threaten us with it. I've probably removed it from this location a hundred times, but somehow, every time I come back to a new shift, it's back. Conveniently located for you to grab and rob. Not even half way concealed.

Anyway, I wouldn't dare to stand between a robber and the money. It's all going to be on film. If they can get him, good, if not, bad luck. It's just money, I'm not loosing my life over it.


I don't think it would be a good idea to discuss safety and security matters in such an open format.. as "anonymous" your posts may be, you could be putting other partners from other stores in danger by mentioning where you keep items such as knives and box cutters and giving perpetrators ideas


Starbucks (or any business in general) should keep pepper spray mounted underneath the counter in the situation where following policy does not work.


The manager could have been in fear for the other partners and customers lives. We don't know who else was around.


The outcome -- that the manager was alive and safe -- is all that matters in a case like this. That is proof that he did the "right" thing.

In my store, too, the box cutter has been kept in arm's reach of customers, and I always move it to an unreachable shelf. It is probably the most dangerous single item in the store. Like a switchblade. I usually open boxes with scissors.

another sm

why wouldn't he fight back? he may have froze to death in the freezer if he wasn't let out in time.


Someone was asking why the safe was open at closing. It doesn't say that in the article. He was probably closing tills and what I don't understand is the partners on the floor who just let him go back into the office. Why didn't the scream and alert the manager? Why didn't THEY call the police when they saw him go back there even if they were too afraid to yell or something. Mananger probably will get fired though even though his team didn't help any in the situation. Great job protecting yourself and team. Not so great job team for not being more useful to your manager.


just since you brought up cash handling policies I need to point out that its not just the safe that cant be open a half hour before close. We cannot move cash at all which includes counting tills in the back room. This is the most targeted time for a robbery, when the store is quiet before closing, hence the policy.
To be clear I am not saying in anyway that what happened is the managers fault. Glad they caught the guy.


call me an idealist, but it IS possible that this store was open till midnight so he didn't have the tills out within the last half hour of business. can anyone confirm one way or the other? does KC represent here?

i do wonder if the manager will keep his job, either for fighting back or if the store indeed DID close at 11pm, having $ out in the last 1/2 hour. i have a feeling at the least he'll get a "glad you're okay, here's a final corrective action".


Actually Chloe, you are right. That store is indeed open until midnight. No policy was being violated. I can also say that I know this particular shift, and if he fought, he was worried about dying.


I remember the one time I got robbed was when I was covering a shift downtown (Vancouver). The man passed me a note saying he had a gun, and to fork over the till. I was petrified, even though it was obvious that he didn't have a weapon. I simply rang in a grande dark pressed $20, and gave it to him.
The most annoying thing was not answering questions, but simply getting customers to co-operate; it was such a seemless event, that many didn't notice until the man walked out the door with the till. So many of them simply were whining about being late for work (@ 7pm in the financial district!?). It's the only time I ever rose my voice to a customer, when one attempted to unlock the door and "escape"; I warned him it was a criminal offence. I felt like I was running a prison.


The most annoying thing was not answering questions, but simply getting customers to co-operate; it was such a seemless event, that many didn't notice until the man walked out the door with the till. So many of them simply were whining about being late for work (@ 7pm in the financial district!?). It's the only time I ever rose my voice to a customer, when one attempted to unlock the door and "escape"; I warned him it was a criminal offence. I felt like I was running a prison.

Posted by: VanCoffeeFan | December 01, 2009 at 12:06 AM

While I completely sympathize with you in regards to your situation and, further, applaud you for handling it in such a cool manner, your attitude is poor.

Had to get a jab in there at your paying customers, eh?

First, with you being in the west coast, it is plausible that your customers "whining" about being late to work in the financial district work with international markets and keep hours different than typical employees. Think before you run your mouth.

Second, just as you were reacting to the situation, so were your customers. Some people may have issues with being in confined spaces and not in control.

This has to be the ultimate display of what's wrong with Starbucks. I mean, not only is an employee offering a bad attitude, but they're doing it to PAYING CUSTOMERS in a situation like this? Wow.


green_cup no one likes you and your starbucks salary, go write a green apron book we need more of those

how is he not attacking the person who posted before him? he should be banned or his comment deleted

is it so hard to be civil

Green cup is a troll

me myself and I

Good example how detached from real life starbucks customers are. It's all about me, me, me. I can literally hear them: "I don't care about you getting robbed while I was in the store. I'm late for that appointment that I didn't want to go to in the first place and which is the reason I wanted to hide quietly in your store. Damn you for getting robbed while I'm here."

I agree, a customer shouldn't ever be yelled at. But at the same time, a PERSON shouldn't put extra stress on an already very stressed person in such a situation. So I do see the person that happened to be a customer at fault here. Not the person that happened to be a barista that was already freaking out over being robbed.

Green cup would probably yell at a person he run over with his car because it inconveniences him in his further plans for the day to stop and call an ambulance and wait for the police to show up. Maybe somehow he can create such a situation into a "starbucks baristas suck at customer service" situation too.


Green Cup doesn't have any more friends to fight with so he comes here instead. He should use his intellect to learn a better way to interact with people.


@ green_cup

I can kind of see how that could come off as ungrateful or something, although with all due diligence, it wasn't meant like that at all. I know that I have a set of procedures to deal with, and I was incredibly stressed. I tried to deal with variables presented in the best way possible, but please reading is one thing, doing is another.

Did I deal with that customer in the best way possible? Probably not; actually definitely not. At the time, I was trying to phone DM, SM, Police, etc. It was also a little more complicated since I was covering a shift. Other Baristas were getting contact info and witness statements from other Customers in the lobby. A child was crying and someone was tending to her. I also specifically said "rose my voice" not "yell" for a reason.

I'm no expert in the field of finances (I'm an Engineering major, so all I can do is make stuff and calculate), so pardon me on that regard. Also I'm no expert in the field of law, so I'm not even sure my warning had any substance, but I didn't want this to be anymore complicated that it was. Speaking from a professional standpoint (for green_cup I have had other jobs other than the undirected, college-loser job at Starbucks, thanks to my Co-op term), is a situation like this doesn't happen everyday! While markets are anything but static, a simple call to work explaining this ridiculous proceeding, would be ok. If he phoned, insulted me in the process, and "got permission" to go, just give me your business card and go! If anything you are endangering yourself: the guy may have a gun and is waiting outside; you look awfully suspicious if you dash out like that; and you may prevent the police from ever catching him, and who knows what will happen then.

While all three scenarios are unlikely, I hope you see my point, and this clears up any questions.

Rolls Eye

Quit asking why the safe was open at closing. It's like asking a rape victim what they were wearing.


I think the Palatine Brown's Chicken massacre tells of the danger with complying with such requests from an armed robber.



Expresso.. you are so right. I was also a semi-victim of a hold up in a restaurant I once worked at, and another time i was actually held up in the street (leaving a starbucks i worked at) and without enough facts, you can't make that judgment call so quickly. Its true, Starbucks says you must give them whatever they want and do not fight back in any way (to avoid lawsuits, etc) this manager did not, but maybe he had the opportunity to do something (a window of time) and we weren't there, so we don't know. But Kudos to him for fighting back on a human level. way to go!!!



Brad: there's also the fact that not all criminals are sane. Yes, most guys will grab the cash and go. In my case, the bozos threatened to rape me too - even though a sane person would have realized police were on the way; stopping to assault someone is a surefire way to get caught. (As it turns out, drugs were the reason 2+2 was adding up to 5.) So yes, when your immediate safety is threatened, you sometimes do have to fight back.



That's probably why he fought back. It wasn't about saving Starbucks the money.. it was about his terror about being told to get into a confined space by an armed psycho.
The police tell you to always cooperate and comply in the event of a robbery - but they ALSO tell you that if the perpetrator wants to move you away from the main area to a confined, more private space (like a bathroom, closet, or FREEZER) that statistically, you're more likely to be raped and/or killed. So if you're being moved, particularly to a confined space, the police tell you to FIGHT.
I also personally know this shift - he wasn't being a "hero", nor was he attempting to save the day's revenue. He was scared for his life, and the life of his team and his customers. He did the right thing and should be applauded for his bravery, not have his every nuance (gleaned from vague newspaper lines) picked at and judged. Just my two cents.

You weren't there!

Dear "cheapredapron" The starbucks employees were and are not aloud to talk to the press about the robbery so you do not know what was going on with the other partners so before you judge maybe you should know the full story first which you will never know so keep your opinion to yourself!

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