In a reverse of policy undoubtedly inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests, caused by two black men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks for simply waiting for a friend, Starbucks will now allow visitors to use the bathrooms without having to purchase anything.
According to BuzzFeed, CEO Howard Schultz announced this new, breathtakingly inspired idea at the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. last night. “We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision 100 percent of the time and give people the key,” he said.
The two Philadelphia men who were wronged and became a public symbol for corporate racism and racial profiling, settled with the city for $1, and a $200,000 fund to nurture young entrepreneurs. While admirable, we’re glad they separately settled with Starbucks, as well, for an undisclosed yet hopefully substantial sum.
As for the ubiquitous coffee shop franchise and this seemingly isolated incident, Starbucks announced it would close over 8,000 stores on May 29 to hold anti-racial bias training. This entire series of events was initiated when a store manager saw two black men idly waiting for a friend—and profiled them as dangerous, as vagrants, as people to be removed. Clearly, people hang out in coffee shops all the time, sometimes even (gasp) near the bathrooms—which brings us to this new policy.
“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,’” said Schultz. “We want you to be ‘more than.’”
While this incredibly corny rhetoric is probably rooted in a complete sense of self-preservation, and the policy itself a mere a preventative measure against further protests or public backlash, it is, of course, good to see this behemoth of a corporation take steps toward normal, sane behavior. Who knows? Schultz could be a warm-hearted, reasonable man, critical of the behavior of the aforementioned store manager himself, and simply trying to salvage things.
“We must do more for our employees, more for the communities we serve,” said Schultz in a press release. “And, regardless of the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, your ethnic background, your station in life, we want to welcome you as a customer and we want to welcome you as an employee.”