Those who have been through the bathroom wars are warning that Starbucks baristas will have to monitor for drug use and keep tabs on the homeless under a new customer service policy that may also require beefed-up security.
Starbucks announced the new policy earlier this week in the wake of a national outcry following the March arrest of two black men who were sitting in a Philadelphia cafe and had not purchased anything.
The chain announced it will shut all stores May 29 for sensitivity training, but has already released guidelines telling employees to let anyone who enters the store use the cafe and bathrooms, even if they don’t purchase anything.
But Marleen Nienhuis, president of the Friends of the South End Library, said an open-door edict can mean dealing with unruly behavior — or worse.
The Boston Public Library hired an outreach manager last year to deal with problems stemming from homeless patrons using the facilities — including fights and needles left in the restrooms — and Nienhuis said rules and enforcement are necessary to prevent difficulties.
“The library has a mandate of being free to all, but also has guidelines — no suitcases, you can’t disturb other people or behave inappropriately. It is really important to have clearly stated guidelines about what needs to be followed, the same thing needs to happen in Starbucks,” Nienhuis said.
Guidelines released by Starbucks outline behavior that won’t be allowed — including using drugs and improperly using restrooms — and gives some procedures for employees to follow, including asking other employees to watch as a worker deals with a problem situation and calling 911 if someone is using or selling drugs.
by Dan Atkinson