Orin Smith, President, Starbuck

What was the accusation?

On September 11, 2001 (a.k.a. 9/11), a Starbucks store near the World Trade Center in New York City charged rescue workers $130 for three cases of bottled water. Midwood Ambulance Service, the rescue workers’ employer, contacted Starbucks headquarters about the incident and received a personal apology from Orin Smith, then president of Starbucks. In addition to a formal apology, the company also issued a reimbursement check for the water along with “conciliatory gestures” such as free coffee and gifts.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Mortification, Corrective Action




“It’s [the incident] totally inconsistent with the kind of behavior we would have expected from our people, so it has been very upsetting to learn of this.” (Statement made during interview with The Associated Press.)  


Starbucks apologizes for water flap. (2001, September 26). Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/story/2001/09/26/starbucks-apologizes-for-water-flap.html