A statement by virtue-signaling addict and Starbucks’s chief executive, Howard Schultz that the company is considering ending its open bathroom policy has provoked speculation in the conservative media and blogosphere that “The Great Stupid (my term, not theirs) is finally receding. Don’t count on it.
Before discussing Schultz’s sudden epiphany, let’s review, shall we? Ethics Alarms last visited this particularly deranged bit of progressive Kabuki four years ago under the heading, “The Tragedy Of The Commons Bites Starbucks (Good!).” I wrote in part,
Remember how Starbucks responded to being race-shamed when a Philadelphia store manager told two black men to either buy something or leave the store? It decreed that anyone could hang out at stores without having to be customers, and use the bathrooms too. Any fool could predict that this policy would be disastrous….progressive! Compassionate! But disastrous. Now we learn:
A New York Post team investigated several Manhattan bathrooms and found that there wasn’t an open stall.
…A half-dozen toilets were locked or barricaded for no clear reason. Others were closed for prolonged “cleaning,” which an insider said was needed after extreme soiling caused by drug-using, incontinent vagrants.
“Letting everybody in has resulted in nobody getting in,” an employee at one branch fumed.
“Rest Room closed,” declared signs at 399 Seventh Ave. (entrance on West 32nd Street) and at a branch at Pearl Street and Maiden Lane. At 252 W. 31st St., the road to relief was blocked by garbage cans. Furniture and boxes formed a barrier at 61 W. 56th St.
A rope and traffic cones barred the way at 38 Park Row. When a desperate visitor asked if the loo would reopen any time soon, a barista directed him to a Dunkin’ Donuts nearby.
Why would the bathrooms need “prolonged cleaning”? Perhaps the experience of the Seattle shops provides an explanation:
Several Starbucks workers in Seattle say that they’re encountering hypodermic needles on the job nearly every day and that they’ve had to take antiviral medications to protect themselves from HIV and hepatitis.
Three employees at the coffee giant in northern Seattle told the local news station KIRO 7 that visitors would dispose of the needles in store restrooms, often in tampon-disposal boxes, and that workers would then come in contact with them while cleaning and were sometimes accidentally poked.
KIRO 7 said the three employees provided hospital, pharmacy, and insurance receipts showing that they took antiviral medications to protect against HIV and hepatitis after being poked by needles at work.
Providing extra safety training and prophylactic care for employees can be expensive. The extra costs could have been a contributing factor in a spate of recent layoffs.
Starbucks will lay off 350 corporate employees amid a broader effort to revamp its global operations even as the coffeehouse chain’s former top executive gears up for a 2020 presidential bid.
Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson announced the 5 percent reduction of Starbucks’ global workforce in a staff email on Tuesday, writing that the layoffs are “a result of work that has been eliminated, de-prioritized or shifting ways of working within the company.”