Category Archives: Death & Taxes

Starbucks Not Quite Home to the Homeless

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Three Starbucks outlets in Los Angeles, California have closed their restrooms even to paying customers as a result of homeless people using their facilities and leaving them in worse conditions than what the facilities were like before they were used as “public shower stalls.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wants each of his stores to feel the same for every customer who walks in. Wouldn’t you think so?

But our world’s number one coffee roasting, WiFi-connected home away from home is not home, but still an outlet for those who wish to enjoy the humble beginnings of a new day by sipping a fresh cup of coffee before, during or after work.

One Starbucks near Santa Monica Beach, California was visited by David Rodriguez Ordunez, one of 44 thousand homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles, recorded by NPR’s Food For Thought writer Anna Scott in May 3, 2016.

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“In a statement, the company said the closures are because of unspecified safety concerns. But former Starbucks supervisor Lester Monzon says the chain has had a long-standing struggle with the homeless relying on its bathrooms,” said Scott.

 

One has to wonder how the rest of the homeless community will feel when word reaches out that Starbucks is shutting its restrooms down because of homeless people.

“And then a lot of times if you’re homeless, you’ve got to get up at a certain time ’cause if not, they’ll give you a ticket,” Ordunez adds. “That’s totally inhumane. I’m like, give me a place to live or somewhere to go or something,” said Ordunez.

Baristas working at Starbucks are comfortable with communicating with customers who speak their lingo, but how can Starbucks employees practice good employee-customer relations when “20-25 percent of the homeless population in the U.S. suffers from some form of severe mental illness — and many baristas aren’t sure how to interact with homeless customers showing signs of mental distress,” said Scott.

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This crisis between Starbucks and its homeless customers may have had its share of attention being located in the entertainment capital of the world–Los Angeles–but can something be done to prevent further crises between Starbucks employees and customers everywhere who don’t speak the ‘StarNacular’ (vernacular) of Starbucks? TheWallTweetJNL and TheWallStreetJacob thinks so.

With proper training and communication skills, Starbucks employees can minimize threats to its industry by preparing for the unexpected with both homeless people and residents in order to maintain its reputation as the world’s number one coffee roaster, not a business that refuses to serve paying customers.