A Dunkin’ location in Cranston, Rhode Island, wanted to celebrate its 30th anniversary on Wednesday by offering free coffee for a year to the first 100 guests.
However, a Facebook post announcing the event suggested it was limited to “residents of White Cranston RI,” according to NBC Providence affiliate WJAR TV.
Dunkin’s spokesperson, Kelsey Chester, told the station that the seemingly racist offer was a “unfortunate” and “embarrassing mistake”.
Chester said the Cranston store’s Facebook post was copied from a post advertising a similar coffee giveaway in White Plains, New York. Whoever did the copy/paste, she said, deleted the word “Plains” but accidentally left the word “White.”
In any case, dozens of people lined up on Cranston’s site hoping to get a year’s worth of free coffee.
Shelley Ramsey, a black woman and regular at the store, was shocked to learn of the post, but she believes it was an accident.
“It’s too racially diverse in there,” she told WJAR. “It’s just…that’s not how things are.”
A Dunkin’ spokesperson told HuffPost that the company was “aware of the typo” and attributed it “to a content transfer error involving a previous opening in White Plains, NY.”
“When the typo was discovered, we immediately corrected the post,” the spokesperson said.
This isn’t Dunkin’s first pitch to be criticized for seeming insensitivity.
In June 2018, a Baltimore site was criticized for displaying a sign offering customers coupons if they reported employees “shouting in a language other than English.”
Moreover, in October of that year, tTwo franchise workers in Syracuse, New York, have been fired after a viral video showed one of them pouring water on a homeless man.