Starbucks employee fired after grabbing sandwich from trash

starbucks sandwich

A Starbucks employee was fired after grabbing a breakfast sandwich that had been thrown away. Photo courtesy of Starbucks.

SEATTLE– A Seattle Starbucks employee was fired last week after he fished a discarded sandwich out of the trash.

The employee, Coulson Loptmann, said he couldn’t get enough hours to pay his bills and survives partly on food stamps, according to The Stranger.

The plastic-wrapped breakfast sandwich that he grabbed out of the trash had been marked as out-of-stock by a co-worker. He figured it wouldn’t be a problem since the food had been thrown away. However, he was fired by his manager after being told his action was considered stealing and was against company policy.

A Starbucks spokesman confirmed that Loptmann’s actions were indeed a “violation of our policy to consume marked-out products” to protect the health of employees.

Starbucks spokesman Zach Hutson said, “We are empathetic to this partner’s personal situation and normally would not discuss a former partner’s employment history, however there are several important facts to clarify in this specific case … For food safety reasons, it is a violation of our policy to consume products that have been marked-out because they are expired. We do not want our partners to consume potentially spoiled products and get sick. We take this policy seriously and in most cases would coach a partner for violating it if they otherwise were performing well. In this case, this partner had multiple documented performance issues over the past year (including failing to show up for shifts when scheduled). He was let go for violating our mark-out policy only after being disciplined for ongoing performance issues.”

14 comments

  • guest

    You, Coulson, have cross the line between man and bum. You are now a bum. Just kidding, of course, I would have done that same thing!

  • guest

    My guess is they were looking for a reason to let him go. Yes, in an obscure way it was against store policy, but that really is reaching considering it was already in the garbage. Similar thing happened to a co-worker several years ago who opened a pack of gum while she was standing in line to pay for it. She was immediately terminated and accused of stealing. To this day I won't sample grapes at the store, or open any type of container until after I've handed my money to the cashier.

  • guest

    Instead of firing the employee, Starbucks should have focused on the fact that have an employee who is struggling and has to take this type of measure to survive. Instead, lets fire him and not only will not get enough food, but he will lose the roof over his head. No compassion means no more of my money.

  • Jeff Moses

    From some of the food I have bought and paid for…. Starbucks should be brought up on charges of Second Degree Assault…. and First Degree Robbery.

  • Cammy Delaney

    That's ridiculous and unfair. If it was in the garbage what do they care? It's not like they were going to dig it out and serve it.

  • Radom me

    This is actually pretty standard procedure, i've worked at several different food retailers and regardless if it's in the trash or not you did not pay for it. I think it's stupid to get upset at the company they're and employer not a buddy

  • Jaedyn

    You just simply cannot live off the wages organizations like Starbucks pay, and it's not like Starbucks doesn't have a surplus of money.

  • GarethB1

    Shame on Starbucks and shame on their public relations person for dragging this employee's name thru the mud. Hey Howard Schultz, how about you choke on your millions while your employees starve?

  • Michelle

    As a manger in the food service industry for over 25+ years, I agree that it IS a policy with most establishments but it DOES really need to change. The premiss that they don't want people to get sick on out-dated food is ridiculous. Most places pull food items one to three days before their "expiration" date which would still probably give you 4-5 days to consume and still be fine. AND as pointed out too, many of these establishments UNDER pay their workers and in today's economy it can be really tough. Why not put out-dated food in the employee room and allow people to take as they need? It's a potential solution that, sadly, will come to late for this person. Disciplinary action for rummaging in garbage – ok. Termination for "trash" diving – harsh and says volumes about your company's protocols vs the people that actually do the work.

    • GarethB1

      I really like your idea about companies allowing folks to take what they want/need of food that is going to be tossed out anyway, brilliant thought Michelle!

  • niki jeska

    I work for a major grocery store I am 48 and WAS a journeyman checker…… 19.00 an hour. I took a chance and gave all I had to a small business. 8 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was desperate after it folded I have ZERO cash. They .hired me back at min wage!!!!! I NEED HELP !

  • niki jeska

    I went without meals! SHAME ON YOU!!!! YOU have shitty coffee anyway,,, BUT YA GOT THE RICH BOYS BACKING YOU!!!!!! KARMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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