One of the upshots of Starbucks’ consciousness-raising over who gets to sit in their coffee houses without drawing the attention of the constabulary is that they will make it their official policy that you don’t actually have to buy something to earn a place to sit there.
That’s good to know; I’ve been doing it for years (although I usually do buy something; after all, those blueberry scones are pretty good), and the local Starbucks was my go-to place for WiFi last September after Hurricane Irma, free or otherwise. Now I won’t have that tickling feeling of guilt when I stop in and boot up without buying a scone or a tall plain cuppajoe.
But that’s upsetting to some conservatives. Megyn Kelly, for instance.
“They’re allowing anyone to stay and use the bathroom even if they don’t buy anything, which has a lot of Starbucks’ customers saying, ‘Really?’” Kelly remarked on her Today Show program. “Because now the Starbucks are going to get overwhelmed with people and is it really just a public space or is it not?”
“For the paying customers who go in with their kids, do you really want to deal with a mass of homeless people or whoever is in there — could be drug addicted, you don’t know when you’re there with your kids paying for the services of the place.”
For those of you who are numb to dog whistles, what she’s really saying is that Starbucks is now the equivalent of the Port Authority bus terminal and their bathrooms are open to just anyone, not just rich white people paying five bucks for a latte. Oh, how we’ve all caved to political correctness and now she has to sit next to someone who is undeserving of being in her presence.
Or maybe she’d rather see what I saw yesterday morning when I got to the office before dawn. It’s located in downtown Miami and there are a number of homeless people who spend the night in sheltered areas until the building opens. As I approached the entrance, I saw a man standing outside on the wheelchair ramp where he’d spent the night. From his stance and the fact that I’m a man who knows what a certain stance means, I knew he was taking a leak against the side of our building. As I got near the door, he tried to mop it up with the newspapers he’d just used as his bed. I didn’t say anything to him, but I did inform the security guard who was arriving of what I’d seen so they could get someone to hose the ramp down. I didn’t call the cops, and if the man had asked, I’m pretty sure the guard would have let him in to use the rest room on the first floor instead of peeing on the ramp.
I’ve often said it would be nice if there was a Starbucks in the neighborhood, and there’s another reason now; to show a little bit of kindness and accommodation to people who don’t have multi-million dollar contracts to sneer at others on TV.