I’ll just say it: I’m a fan of the open-bathroom policy. So should be, it seems to me, anyone who’s ever had a full bladder.
Or…other experiences of urgency.
Sometimes, ya gotta go.
Sometimes, you’re going to go. Now. It’s just a matter of where it’s gonna end up.
And in those instances, there’s no time to stand in line for an iced 10-shot breve Ristretto, Venti, with 5 pumps of vanilla, 7 pumps of caramel, and 4 Splendas — poured, not shaken.
Although that does sound good.
Regardless, unfortunate biological mandates aren’t why Starbucks adopted an open bathroom policy.
There was, in the words of The Daily Wire, “a racially-tinged incident” in May of 2018; and it prompted the chain, for political reasons, to stop requiring that people buy something in order to use the facilities.
From USA Today at the time:
Last month, two African-American men were arrested for trespassing at a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia. One had asked to use the bathroom and was told restrooms were only for paying customers. He demurred and sat down to wait with his friend for their business associate to join them for a real-estate meeting.
The episode sparked a national uproar — and a public-relations nightmare for the Seattle-based chain.
Subsequently, this happened:
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the victims, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, and the company reached a settlement with them. Starbucks is temporarily closing all of its 8,000-plus company-owned stores in the U.S. along with its corporate offices on the afternoon of May 29 for racial-bias training for staff members.
Hence, there erupted a toilet revolution — as explained by Executive Chairman Howard Schultz:
“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision 100% of the time and give people the key, because we don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom. We want you to be more than.”
But a new report by Forbes suggests the inviting policy could be hurting SB’s biz:
Some 18 months after a racial incident in Philadelphia led Starbucks to institute an official policy to open its U.S. coffeehouses and bathrooms to anyone, regardless of whether they make a purchase, a study finds the Seattle giant may be paying a big price for its pledge to be a third place for all people.
Did they mean to say “third,” or was the addition of the “h” an added casualty of the misspelling?
Either way, the coffee joint’s losing money:
Monthly visits to Starbucks dropped 6.8% compared with other nearby coffee shops after the open-bathroom policy was put in place in May 2018, according to a joint study released Tuesday by academics from the business schools at the University of Texas at Dallas and Boston College. The study, conducted in collaboration with the data company SafeGraph, examines aggregate and anonymous cellphone location data from more than 10 million devices between January 2017 and October 2018.
The 43-page report buttons it up:
The decline in visits to Starbucks is large and significant.
However, it should be noted that Dr. Evil’s favorite Seattle company disputes the findings:
“As evidenced by our earnings reports, customers are visiting us in record numbers,” spokesman Reggie Borges said. “The study focuses on cell phone user data. What we are seeing is real customers.”
I suppose one line of possible optimism is that an open restroom brings people in, and maybe they’ll stay for a muffin.
Either way, I’m thankful for the opportunity to relieve myself every 1.2 miles in every major city.
That’s worth drinking to. But only after I’m a gallon lighter.
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