NY Starbucks: “The City’s Bathroom”

(Headline Health) The CEO of Starbucks recently announced that the coffee chain’s bathrooms will literally be a free-for-all – not only in New York, but worldwide.

Chairman Howard Schultz said people will be given the bathroom key “hundred percent of the time.” Which leaves one to wonder, what’s the point have even having keys if anyone and everyone can have access?

New Yorkers now call Starbucks “the City’s bathroom”

(Mother Nature Network) A year ago we wrote about how the United States needed a major infrastructure investment in public washrooms, noting that “a place to pee is a human need, as much as a place to walk …”

“The reality is that everyone should have access to a toilet.”

The events of the last few weeks have shown this to be true, once again.

In their 2010 book “Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing,” Harvey Molotch and Laura Noren wrote:

In New York City, Starbucks has been called “the City’s bathroom.”

According to one study of Manhattan Starbucks’ restroom use, the great majority who go into the restroom are not customers; they come and go without buying anything.

Company policy gives Starbucks discretion over who they will allow to use the restroom.

The problem — as we recently saw in Philadelphia when two African-American men were arrested after asking to use the bathroom — is that discretion doesn’t always work. Molotch and Noren noted the problem:

… we have in the toilet an instrument and institution that both reflects how people and societies operation and also reinforces the existing pattern. Precisely because the toilet operates somewhat in hiding, those who plan, manage and control its use often act on their own, without a public to which they must provide detailed and explicit accounts of what they are doing. The toilet thus operates irresponsibly.

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz noted that managers will no longer have this discretion. He is quoted in the Washington Post:

“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision a hundred percent 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 because you are less than.”

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

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