Starbucks Changes Sitting, Restroom Policy
In the words of our own @trumwill, “This will end badly.” Starbucks has announced a new policy that touts anyone can sit on their properties or use the restrooms whether they are a paying customer or not.
Company executives have said its previous policies were loose and ambiguous, leaving decisions on whether people could sit in its stores or use the restroom up to store managers.
Starbucks said it has told workers to consider anyone who walks into its stores a customer, “regardless of whether they make a purchase.”
The company said anyone can use its cafes, patios or restrooms without buying anything, but it noted workers should still call the police if someone is a safety threat.
“We are committed to creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome,” Starbucks said in a statement.
This move comes as part of the coffee giant’s continuing response to an incident in Philadelphia:
Last month, two black men who went to a Starbucks in Philadelphia and did not buy anything were denied use of the restroom and asked to leave.
Then an employee called the police and the men were arrested, prompting protests, boycotts and accusations of racism.
Now, Starbucks has changed its policy.
On Saturday the company announced that “any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase.”
It added that employees should follow established procedures for “addressing disruptive behaviors,” and call 911 in the case of “immediate danger or threat” to employees or customers.
Previously it might have fallen to store managers to decide whether people could sit or use the restroom without buying anything, The Associated Press reported.
“This is now an established policy for consistency across all of our U.S. company operated stores,” Haley Drage, a Starbucks spokeswoman, said on Sunday.
The men who were arrested in Philadelphia, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were waiting for another man, Andrew Yaffe, who is white, for a business meeting on April 12 when the officers arrived. Their arrest was captured in video footage that has been viewed millions of times on social media.
“What did they get called for?” Mr. Yaffe asked in the video, referring to the police. “Because there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?”
Starbucks did not press charges and the men were released hours later.
After protests erupted, Starbucks apologized and Kevin R. Johnson, the company’s chief executive, released a statement in which he called the arrests a “reprehensible outcome.” The employee who called the police was fired.
Reaction was pretty much what you would expect:
BRB… packing a suitcase to move in to my new apartment… it's the entire 2nd floor of the Starbucks. https://t.co/UicJcEqQJu
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) May 20, 2018
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) May 20, 2018
I believe the manager who called the cops was in the wrong and had overreacted (most likely due to the race of the two men), but this is an unnecessary overcorrection that Starbucks is going to regret. https://t.co/lmFINrgR6N
— Sarah Quinlan (@sarahmquinlan) May 20, 2018
I am wiling to bet this ends in increased sales.
— Tod Kelly (@RTodKelly) May 20, 2018
Time will tell. My biggest issue with Starbucks is that compared to others I am already less likely to be able to find a seat. Which is a situation this seems likely to make worse.
— Will Truman (@trumwill) May 20, 2018
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