(Natural News) Last month a local Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia caused a national ruckus when employees at the business called police because two black men had been sitting at a table for 15 minutes without ordering anything.
According to some reports, one of the men attempted to use the bathroom at the store but was told that restroom facilities were for paying customers only.
As it turns out, the two men were waiting for a third man to join them before holding a meeting to discuss some business; nevertheless, they were arrested and escorted out by police in the meantime, forcing Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to issue a huge mea culpa.
But in addition to apologizing, the company made a major policy change as well. Executive Chairman Howard Schultz announced that every store in the chain would allow anyone who wanted to come in and use the bathroom — whether they were customers or not.
Now, the company is having to walk back its politically correct policy change amid new complaints that the cafes will be transformed into homeless shelters for drug users.
The Wall Street Journal noted:
At issue, in essence, is whether Starbucks views itself as a business that caters to customers, or a quasi-public place generally welcome to all. The uproar, which follows the arrest last month of two black men who wanted to use a Starbucks bathroom in Philadelphia, demonstrates the unusual spot that the nation’s biggest coffee chain holds in American culture.
Company officials told the paper that they have clarified policies to employees and have provided them with detailed instructions about how to handle people who are behaving inappropriately such as sleeping, using drugs or alcohol, or smoking.
That said, there are others who are concerned that with the announcement last month the genie has been let out of the bottle and can’t be replaced.
Political correctness is affecting business
Starbucks isn’t alone, mind you. Other restaurants and retailers have to balance the issue of serving the public even as they serve their customers. Ordinarily, in the past, paying customers have always come first, but now — with this policy change and the resulting confusion surrounding it — Starbucks appears to be putting everyone but customers first, and that’s got regular clientele of the chain in an understandable uproar.
It’s really a problem of Starbucks’ own making. The chain has long promoted itself as a “third place” between home and work, which for all intents and purposes is an open invitation for anyone to come and loiter. The expectation has always been that people who do that will buy something, but with the PC policy change, that expectation was taken off the table, so to speak.
“The whole Starbucks situation has opened up a can of worms. In most cases, restaurants leave it up to the discretion of the individual restaurant and most are too busy to enforce a policy,” Joe Pawlak, a managing principal at Technomic Inc., a restaurant consulting firm, told the WSJ.
Notes the WSJ, the chain’s “piecemeal messaging” following the April incident in Philadelphia as well as “the outpouring of commentary” it generated shows how difficult it is in today’s pervasive social media environment — and how quickly — a corporation’s actions can be scrutinized and vilified by the general public, thus leading to snap decisions based on incomplete or even false information.
“Often the people with the strongest views on either end of the spectrum will be the loudest online,” Jeremy Robinson-Leon, head of Group Gordon, a crisis communication firm, told the WSJ.
That, and there is no shortage of trolls using fake accounts to drive public opinion as well.
In its rush to placate social justice warriors, it’s possible that Starbucks may have just alienated a sizable portion of its customer base by putting them behind loiterers, drug users, and the homeless.
Read more about liberal lunacy at Leftcult.com.
J.D. Heyes is editor of The National Sentinel and a senior writer for Natural News and News Target.