In Boston, it’s illegal to offer shelter to people abusing substances.
There were regular vagabonds who walked into our store wanting a cup of water, a warmer (or cooler) climate and to use the bathroom. Of course, bathrooms were off limits to everyone but paying customers. And when the homeless loitered in our store and refused to leave, our friends at the fire department or police station down the road would help us escort them out.
The issue was more than just cleanliness or comfort for paying customers; the main reason we weren’t allowed to let the homeless use our bathrooms was because my manager had seen multiple instances in which homeless people had gone into the bathrooms before the codes were put into place, or when they waited outside long enough for a customer to walk out and catch the door before it closed, and then locked themselves inside for so long that we had to call the fire department.
THEY WERE USING STARBUCKS BATHROOMS FOR FOUR HOUR HEROIN SHELTERS
Substance abusers – often homeless – have ruined bathroom opportunities for everyone; businesses cannot take the chance. Those homeless people who take advantage of bathrooms in busy coffee shops and the like use the facilities to do drugs, drink, sleep and sometimes worse.
There were times when I had to give desperate-looking strangers the awkward line, “Our bathroom is for paying customers only.” There were also times, however, when a woman would rush into the store in tourist gear and ask if her child could use the bathroom in broken English and I would break the rules and give her the code. But I wouldn’t give the code to a suspicious-looking person, and by suspicious-looking I mean lacking general manners, the ability to walk in a straight line and cleanliness.
When it comes to making a decision of trust, it should go without saying that some people look more trustworthy than others. The old rules encouraged partners to deny non-paying customers access to the bathroom, regardless of race or ethnicity.
The bathroom policy changed as a continuation of attempts by Starbucks to save its reputation when, last month, a store manager at a Philadelphia branch denied two black men access to the bathroom because they hadn’t purchased anything.
The statement continues: “Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”
Now they new Starbucks is HeroinBucks… not a family place at all!