In April 2018 Starbucks was threatened with boycotts and lawsuits due to its “racist” policies.
A couple of African American young businessmen were waiting to have a real estate meeting at a Starbucks. Neither of them bought anything and were just sitting at a table, waiting for their potential business partners. One of them asked for the combination to the bathroom, and the worker said they had to buy something – even a cup of coffee – to use the bathroom. They refused. Then they were asked to leave (and not have the meeting if they didn’t buy at least one cup of coffee). They again refused. Then the cops were called and they asked the two potential businessmen to leave, and again they (probably) refused. Then they were led out in handcuffs. This led to the massive boycotts and threats of lawsuits.
Starbucks buckled. The CEO of Starbucks flew down to Philly and personally apologized to the two cheapskates. National Starbucks took a day off and trained all their employees on racial sensitivity. The two men were awarded scholarships from Starbucks.
(For a more detailed description of what happened, see https://yohana.sg-host.com2018/04/25/starbucks-what-happened/.
The logical existential consequences — i.e. historical reason at work.
Now, one can go into many urban Starbucks and see “customers” laying around, some doing work, some sleeping, some charging their phones, none buying anything.
The bathrooms are now open to the public with the combination numbers pasted on the doors. Often drug users and homeless people use the bathrooms for over a half–an-hour at a time, taking sponge baths or shooting up, while paying customers stand in line, and then eventually leave.
I recently went into a Starbucks to do some writing. I bought around $10 worth of food and a cup of coffee.
Meanwhile, an African-American habitual customer was there, apparently drunk – as usual — harassing customers and workers. He was calling customers names, like “you bald-headed mother-fucker” and hitting on female customers, as well as harassing female workers. He was talking loudly and annoying everyone.
But there was nothing anyone could do about it, including the female manager, who he sexually harassed, herself. The manager ordered him to leave. He ignored her. She called the cops. They wouldn’t come. He knew his rights. ( However, he was wrong. Starbucks is a private business and the coffee shop is on private property. They have a right to demand a customer leave. However, Starbucks has given up this right, in order to stop racial boycotts of their business.)
This man was free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last.
I was having a good conversation with another regular customer, who was reading a biography of Sigmund Freud. The drunk came up to us , sat down, and loudly interrupted our conversation with an alcohol-fueled rant. I politely told him that we were having a conversation. He angrily replied, “I don’t care” and continued with his rant. Both my friend and I got up and left, with my friend vowing never to some back to this Starbucks, having had a similar experience with this guy many times. (He had written two letters to the Starbuck’s headquarters, but only got back the same form letter. The policy was set.)
(Note: 1/3/20. My friend never did come back.)
Now, this African American drunk is free to disrupt Starbucks at any time, but contributing members of society are not free to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a civilized conversation there. And the cops can’t help. Their hands are politically tied. They can protect this drunk’s right to do whatever he wants, wherever he wants, and whenever he wants, but they can’t protect law-abiding citizen’s right to have a cup of coffee, to have a conversation, and they can’t protected an employees’ right to try to run a business.
Incidentally, all the baristas were all African Americans. They were embarrassed, helpless and embarrassed.
It is very difficult to improve a society, but very easy to make it worse.