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Starbucks Fires Coulson Loptmann For Eating A Sandwich From The Garbage

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Have you ever wondered what restaurants do with food that has gone bad or has passed it’s shelf life? Most places toss it away.  Last Monday, 21-year-old barista Coulson Loptmann from a downtown Seattle Starbucks found a sandwich in the trash. He decided to eat the sandwich because he was starving. So what happened as a result of eating out of the trash? He got fired. It’s also worth noting that Loptmann survives partly on food stamps. 

Now it’s not like this thing was just sitting in the garbage. A coworker just marked some breakfast sandwiches out of stock, and they were still in their plastic. Loptmann figured no one would mind if he grabbed one of the sausage sandwiches out of the trash.

Loptmann explains, “I hadn’t eaten all day and I was on a seven-hour shift.”

One would think Starbucks wouldn’t mind…. but they did. According to Loptmann, his manager sat him down a week later and told him she’d found out about the sandwich and contacted HR, and they considered it stealing. She fired him on the spot.

Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson says that while they can’t comment on individual employees for privacy reasons, he can confirm that “it is a violation of our policy to consume marked-out products.” But he says it’s not considered stealing—it’s for the employees’ own good. “We do not want our partners to consume potentially spoiled products and get sick.” Could someone be fired for breaking the policy? I asked. “In general,” says Hutson, “a partner would not be separated for a single, minor infraction like violating this policy. However, a partner could be separated for an infraction like this if it was the culmination of broader, ongoing performance issues.”

In other words: Yes, it is entirely possible for a Starbucks worker on food stamps to be fired for eating a sandwich out of the trash.

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