Starbucks has quietly walked back their "all inclusive" bathroom policy, perhaps after realizing that their employees and customers alike weren't responding well to the prospect of vagrants using their stores as a homeless shelter.
As part of their new "Third Place Policy" which the company shuttered 8,000 stores to pound into employees heads on Tuesday, Starbucks says "We want our stores to be the third place, a warm and welcoming environment where customers can gather and connect. Any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase."
Ok - so far so good for homeless people looking to catch some free air conditioning this summer or simply drop that massive cabbage dump that's been brewing.
But wait - what's this? Starbucks' new Third Place Policy also reads:
When using a Starbucks space, we respectfully request that customers behave in a manner that maintains a warm and welcoming environment by:
Using spaces as intended
Being considerate of others
Communicating with respect
Uh oh, this isn't looking good for those looking to take a sink-bath while breathing in freshly brewed coffee...
On occasion, the circumstances of a customer’s disruptive behavior may make it necessary to prohibit that customer from returning to our stores.
In these situations, Starbucks partners should follow “Requesting A Customer Restriction” procedure for U.S. company-operated stores.
Starbucks Executive Vice President Rossann Williams gave an example of how an employee should approach a "disruptive" customer using foul language:
“You are in our store every day, and we love that this is your third place, but from one human to another human, the language that you are using is making other customers uncomfortable. So either you have to change your behavior, and stay and be a part of our third place, or I’m going to have to ask you to leave, and you can come back at a later time, when you feel like you can be a part of our third place. And in fact if you want to go have a seat, I’ll bring you over a cup of water, just to make sure that it’s a great rest of your day."
Not so inclusive now, are we Starbucks? Sure, the marginally diverse group of well dressed customers pictured below might be able to enjoy using the facilities at Starbucks, but what about the differently housed? What constitutes a "disruption?"
The new 68-page employee guidebook and over a dozen videos shown during the Tuesday training session included racial bias training, with much of the coffee seller's new ethos focused on teaching employees to be "color brave" - reminding everyone that institutional racism permeates society.
“Here’s my belief: Growing up, there was a term called ‘color blind,’ which described a learning behavior of pretending not to notice race — that doesn’t even make sense,” said CEO Kevin Johnson. “So today we are starting a new journey, talking about race directly — what my friend and Starbucks board member Mellody Hobson calls being ‘color brave.’”
The training also focuses on prejudices in public spaces, complete with a documentary which focuses on the history of prejudice. Employees were given little notebooks to record their "private thoughts," and were instructed to keep a diary about how they feel about such things as "what makes me, me? And you, you?" and "In your life, where do you feel a sense of belonging?"
All this because one manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called the cops on two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, who were waiting for a friend without having ordered anything.
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
The manager was fired, and Starbucks then committed to this "homeless shelter" outreach in a desperate act of damage control... which they've now just walked back.