Starbucks Corporation has prided itself on its self-consciously woke atmosphere and its welcoming spirit. But some Starbucks stores have turned into gang hangouts and become dangerous havens for drug dealers and other criminals.
Starbucks has decided to close 16 stores over the next few weeks because workers are reporting criminal activity and open drug use. The company said it will shutter six stores each in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas, two in Portland, Ore., and single locations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. by the end of the month.
After an incident in 2018 that went viral involving two black customers who were asked to leave when they didn’t purchase anything, the company closed all 4,000 stores in the U.S. for a day of “racial bias training.” The company also opened their restrooms to all — customers or not. The result was predictable.
Starbucks also said that it would give store managers leeway to close restrooms, limit seating or reduce operations in response to safety concerns. The moves are part of policies aimed at addressing workers’ concerns, including about their safety on the job, the company said.
Managers can continue to change store layouts if needed, including limiting seating to customers, the spokeswoman said. The company said it would provide additional guidance to baristas in how to deal with active shooter scenarios and conflict de-escalation at work.
“Like so much of the world right now, the Starbucks business as it is built today is not set up to fully satisfy the evolving behaviors, needs and expectations of our partners or customers,” CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a letter to employees Monday. In fact, most of the complaints were from employees who felt that Starbucks had become unsafe.
In Seattle, where six stores will be closed, the reasons are self-evident to residents.
For neighbors it’s yet another wake-up call for the city to keep communities and businesses safe.
“Get some better leadership and do something about this,” [resident Serena] Law said. “City ordinances: let’s enforce them. Let’s give the police their power back. Let’s get the city back together because right now it’s sad.”
KOMO News reached out to Mayor Bruce Harrell’s Office about the closures. His office sent a statement to KOMO News saying: “Mayor Harrell is committed to making Seattle a safe and welcoming place for workers, employers, and residents. While longstanding issues cannot be solved overnight, the mayor will continue to drive innovative public safety improvements by addressing crime, restoring SPD staffing, investing in community-based solutions, and activating neighborhoods and business districts. Whether a business has 400,000 employees or four employees, Mayor Harrell believes they deserve to feel safe, heard, and supported as part of a vibrant and thriving Seattle economy.”
“Restoring staffing” for the police department? Who cut that staff in the first place, moron? Mayor Harrell is an expert at doublespeak (“activating neighborhoods and business districts”) but as far as doing what’s necessary to keep residents safe — not a chance.