Starbucks recently opened its bathrooms to non-paying customers, and now the company has announced that anyone is welcome to hang out at the coffee shop even if they haven’t made a purchase. An official statement sent to employees said that “any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes, and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer,” according to USA Today.
Some parts of the internet are reacting negatively to the news. Many think stores will become squatting spots for the homeless and other loiterers, but the policy indicates that if people are caught acting inappropriately — which includes sleeping, smoking, drinking, or abusing bathroom privileges — they will be asked to leave.
If such a problem arises, managers and baristas are urged to ask another employee if the behavior is disruptive. If it is, they are then to simply ask the customer to stop. Police are to be called only if someone becomes a threat to a worker or customer, according to Starbucks' website.
This new policy comes slightly more than one month after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were at a table waiting for a third party to arrive when they were arrested for trespassing. The manager on duty called 911 on them because they hadn’t purchased anything and refused to leave.
Starbucks CEO Steve Johnson has since apologized for the incident, and Starbucks will close down all 8,000-plus of its company-owned U.S. stores and corporate offices on the afternoon of May 29 so that 175,000 employees can partake in “racial-bias education” in an effort to prevent any future discrimination. For more on the Seattle-based coffee chain, here are 20 things you didn’t know about Starbucks.