Starbucks bans local man for life for harassing customers

A St. Petersburg man says Starbucks has banned him for life.

Rob Rowen got a letter from Starbucks saying he’s been disrupting business and threatening customers. He says it’s all because he’s asked people illegally parked in the handicapped spot to move.

“I regret to inform you you’ve been expelled from Starbucks,” Rowen reads from the letter.

Rowen thought Starbucks would be writing to apologize to him after the manager banned him just from the South Dale Mabry store in Tampa. Instead, the letter says he now can’t step foot in any Starbucks ever again.

“I get this letter, which shocked me,” Rowen says.

Rowen has been a customer at the Tampa store for years and says he often sees people parked in the handicapped space, when they’re capable to park farther away and walk to get a cup of coffee. He says it strikes a nerve that hits close to home.

“My son-in-law has muscular dystrophy and is in a power wheelchair. I’ve seen so many times, the issue of him trying to find a parking space,” Rowen says.

Rowen started standing up for those who couldn’t asking the law-breaking Starbucks customers to move.

“I threatened to embarrass him by telling everybody he was parked illegally,” Rowen says.

He snapped a picture of another illegal parker. “She said I’m calling the police, you’re harassing me. I said go right ahead, so she ended up getting a ticket, which felt really good,” Rowen says.

But a few months ago, another customer complained and got Rowen permanently kicked out of that store by the manager. Rowen says the Starbucks district manager didn’t have his back either.

“Their response was go back to the manager, and the manager’s bottom line was you’re harassing people,” says Rowen.

Starbucks claims that Rowen became confrontational with customers. While they share his concerns for parking and are addressing it with the strip mall landlord, they won’t tolerate him disrupting their “welcoming environment.”

“What if it was your mother, your brother, your father, yourself, how would you feel?” Rowen wonders.

Rowen will now be getting his coffee – elsewhere.

Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper says, “We understand Mr. Rowen’s concerns and have been speaking with him about this. Unfortunately, he became confrontational toward other customers, and we have asked him to refrain from visiting the store. We expect all of our customers to treat each other and our partners (employees) respectfully. We have been speaking with the landlord to improve the parking situation.”

My guess is this shithead is a real pain in the ass and if it were my business I would not let him harass my customers either.

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