A Portland jury recently found Latasha Curry not guilty of misdemeanor harassment for throwing a $4 venti iced mocha at a Starbucks manager who accused her of running a free drink scam. Curry was initially offered a free drink after she complained that her iced tea was too bitter. When she tried to redeem her freebie two days later, store manager Ryan Smith decided that Curry looked suspiciously like a woman who redeemed a free drink from a different store 11 months earlier. Smith accused Curry of running some elaborate drink scam, prompting Curry to serve Smith a free venti shower.
When asked by Curry’s defense attorney how he recognized Curry from 11 months ago, Smith said it was her glasses and her voice.
Curry later testified that she doesn’t wear glasses and produced a driver’s license as evidence.
Upset because she felt targeted, Curry said she began to raise her voice as Smith raised his.
Curry said when the other employee placed the drink on the counter, she grasped it, then let go when Smith grabbed it and tried to pull it toward him. He spilled the drink on himself, she said, when she let go of the cup.
“I was very much upset,” she said. “He accused me of going to a store in Jantzen Beach and in his words running a scam. I was offended. . . . I don’t need to steal for or scam for a $4.20 drink.”
Smith called 911 after the incident, claiming that “a customer [just] assaulted me with a hot drink.” We’d like to think that Curry would be entitled to a freebie if her iced tea was served scalding hot.
Starbucks’ corporate office essentially sided with Curry, saying: “Providing great customer service is part of (the company’s) commitment and if a drink isn’t perfect, we want customers to let us know and we’ll make it right.”
Dispute over spilled Starbucks mocha ends up in Portland court [The Oregonian]