Starbucks Arrests of Black Patrons, Racist or Homeless Problem? – Starbucks has become a haven in many cities for the homeless population
The Starbucks arrests of two black patrons are the result of a much bigger problem for the corporation that needs to be addressed. Recently, two black men were sitting at a table in the establishment and asked to use the bathroom (code) the barista refused to give him the code and told him that bathroom use is for paying customers only. After that, the barista asked him and his guest to leave and he refused. The barista told him he (or she) was going to call the police and he allegedly told the barista “Go ahead, call the police.” There was probably much more dialogue that is missing but this is the gist of it. This is also one of the situations that you would have to ask yourself, as a black man, how a black man thinks he is going to win? Without question, lawyers are on these two like white on rice right now to start a lawsuit that will probably end up in a settlement thanks to the white patron who defended them on the tape as evidence.
In many states coming into a store and not buying anything is considered loitering which probably led to the altercation and the Starbucks arrests. But for Starbucks, there is a bigger problem. Starbucks has become a haven in many cities for the homeless population and that is a very sensitive issue. Starbucks arrests can’t be something that happens daily even though many of the stores have people who come in and don’t buy anything. It appears the corporation is in a tether. They can’t appear to be mean to the homeless by asking them to leave and not use their facilities but they also have a business and a brand to keep up with. Who can blame the hardworking employees for being frustrated with having to repeatedly clean the bathrooms?
The CEO made a statement after the Starbucks arrests on twitter. “We regret that our practices and training led to the reprehensible outcome at our Philadelphia store. We’re taking immediate action to learn from this and be better.” A statement from CEO Kevin Johnson: and the police chief in Philly, Richard Ross, also responded about the Starbucks arrests stating: “As an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias; we are committed to fair and unbiased policing,” he said. But he added, “If a business calls and they say that ‘someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business,'” the officers have “a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that.” Finally, the mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, has since ordered the city’s Commission on Human Relations to review Starbucks’ policy.
Real Estate Developers or Contractors?
This situation involving the Starbucks arrests is unfortunate because the men were black and it’s easy to assume it was racial and the men could have indeed been targeted. They said they were in Starbucks for a meeting and that they are real estate developers. I’m a real estate agent, I’ve never seen developers meet in sweats like this. This is not to say they are not developers but this is odd. Perhaps they are contractors? In addition, he could have simply told the barista they were waiting for a friend and they planned on buying something when he asked for the code.
I use a Starbucks in LA to get work done and can honestly say that if I am there working for two hours, at least 100 people come in from off the street, of all colors and incomes, and ask for the code to use the bathroom. The code box is put there for a reason, Starbucks is policing their bathrooms and they have a right to do that. The employees just give them the code, it’s probably a lot easier than causing a scene. I’ve seen a LOT of homeless people go in there and take their luggage to bathe and others just randomly using the bathroom without buying coffee. I’ve also seen homeless people and mentally ill people ask customers for money and cause problems. When any business allows anyone to use their bathroom, the bathrooms are often left disgusting and the employees have to keep cleaning them and it is unfair to paying customers, the employees, AND the business.
These are mostly kids working in Starbucks and yes there are a LOT of people who come in there to charge their phones and don’t buy anything too but the bathroom issue and the charging issue is a HUGE problem for the entire corporation and the customers who want to use the facility for meetings and work. The only reason Starbucks has probably not done more about the problem is that most of their customers are in and out during peak hours and they have a drive-thru at many locations which helps the paying customers.
Starbucks Arrests: Possessive Starbucks Customers
There is another Starbucks in Studio City, CA where the people who come in there every day and BUY coffee have gotten so possessive they will tell you “That’s my seat” when they come in and they bring their desktop (not laptop) computers and lounge chairs to sit around like they are in their backyard or home office. I’m not sure how Coffee Bean and other coffee shops avoid this problem but Starbucks has a HUGE problem on their hands and they have to address it. People ARE taking advantage of the business from ALL walks of life. I’ve seen homeless people come in and have their luggage stashed next to them while they sleep and Starbucks doesn’t say anything.
The Need is for More Public Bathroom Facilities
At the end of the day, it’s up to the city to have more public facilities as bathrooms but once again, people will take advantage and how can this be policed.
As a Business Owner, what would you do?
Out of curiosity, If you owned a coffee shop and people constantly came in off the street to mess up your bathroom and use the toilet paper and other supplies along with using your electricity to charge their phones AND took up your table space while people who have purchased coffee stand there with no place to sit, what would you do?