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Old 04-14-2018, 07:12 PM   #1
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Waiting In Starbucks While Black

Is now apparently a crime. The two black men were arrested, a barista called police because the men were sitting there for however long without ordering. They could have faced charges of "defiant trespass", but were released for lack of evidence.


https://www.marketwatch.com/story/wa...hia-2018-04-14
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:39 PM   #2
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I haven't addressed this on social media, since this is my employer. I have thoughts but am avoiding getting into it online.

So, uh ...Thoughts and prayers to my friends in PR and working the social accounts this weekend.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:38 PM   #3
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I saw all sorts of stuff about this incident over the weekend but only just now learned that it not only occurred in Philadelphia, but happened at the Starbucks three blocks from my house. Now I know why there was commotion and news cameras there when I walked by on Saturday.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:18 PM   #4
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We had an open forum with the head of HR and the old CEO today (current CEO is of course in Philly). The company is taking this *very* seriously.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:24 PM   #5
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Word on the street here is that they brought in minority workers from another Starbucks in the city to put them behind the counter at the one at 18th and Spruce knowing there'd be a lot of cameras there today.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:25 PM   #6
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*wince*
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:35 PM   #7
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So I see there's apparently now a campaign to boycott Starbucks because of this. The social media blunt instrument strikes again.

I'm not sure what Starbucks, as a corporation, could have done differently after the fact. They apologised for what the employee did, and apparently are taking disciplinary action. What else are they supposed to do? Starbucks actually has a reputations as a fairly progressive company.

As far as the police go, there's not much differently they could have done. Starbucks is a private business, and a Starbucks cafe is private property. If they ask you to leave, you leave. If you don't leave, you're trespassing. Once the police showed up, they again apparently asked these guys to leave, they refused, and at this point the cops had little choice but to make an arrest.

What this employee did in calling the cops on a couple guys who were doing nothing but sitting there talking, was of course, wrong. I don't know about this particular Starbucks, but in every one I've ever been in there are always people hanging out using the wifi without ordering. So if these guys were specifically targeted for their race, that's a problem. But until I see evidence that this is some kind of problem nationwide with Starbucks (and get more facts as to what happened in this particular instance), I think the calls for boycotts are a bit premature.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:40 PM   #8
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It would be interesting to see if Starbucks has an official loitering policy or whether staff are trained on how to deal with non-paying customers who are occupying space. There are 3 Starbucks within walking distance of my house and I spend a lot of time there during mat leave. In the spring/summer months, I would say that easily half if not more of the people sitting out on the patio haven't ordered a thing. Usually the people inside tend to order and keep ordering things but often I see students sitting with laptops out like all day long, some with their own bagged lunches for heaven's sake. But I've never seen anybody asked to leave or anything of the sort which makes me think this doesn't pass the smell test in the slightest. In fact I kind of wish they would sometimes do that so that those of us who actually just want to come in for 20 mins could, you know, find a seat.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick66 View Post
So I see there's apparently now a campaign to boycott Starbucks because of this. The social media blunt instrument strikes again.

I'm not sure what Starbucks, as a corporation, could have done differently after the fact. They apologised for what the employee did, and apparently are taking disciplinary action. What else are they supposed to do? Starbucks actually has a reputations as a fairly progressive company.

As far as the police go, there's not much differently they could have done. Starbucks is a private business, and a Starbucks cafe is private property. If they ask you to leave, you leave. If you don't leave, you're trespassing. Once the police showed up, they again apparently asked these guys to leave, they refused, and at this point the cops had little choice but to make an arrest.

What this employee did in calling the cops on a couple guys who were doing nothing but sitting there talking, was of course, wrong. I don't know about this particular Starbucks, but in every one I've ever been in there are always people hanging out using the wifi without ordering. So if these guys were specifically targeted for their race, that's a problem. But until I see evidence that this is some kind of problem nationwide with Starbucks (and get more facts as to what happened in this particular instance), I think the calls for boycotts are a bit premature.
I agree that the protests should be directed towards the police department and not Starbucks, though I don't think they did everything right either. Their initial statement was something like, "Calling the cops was not meant to escalate things" which is on its face absurd.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:42 PM   #10
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I will say it has been a pleasant surprise how many white people were there openly stating that it was an example of white privilege. That's something that needs to happen way more.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by anitram View Post
It would be interesting to see if Starbucks has an official loitering policy or whether staff are trained on how to deal with non-paying customers who are occupying space. There are 3 Starbucks within walking distance of my house and I spend a lot of time there during mat leave. In the spring/summer months, I would say that easily half if not more of the people sitting out on the patio haven't ordered a thing. Usually the people inside tend to order and keep ordering things but often I see students sitting with laptops out like all day long, some with their own bagged lunches for heaven's sake. But I've never seen anybody asked to leave or anything of the sort which makes me think this doesn't pass the smell test in the slightest. In fact I kind of wish they would sometimes do that so that those of us who actually just want to come in for 20 mins could, you know, find a seat.
I don't know if they have a national "loitering" policy, I'd bet that it's store specific, because it's probably more of a problem in some stores than others. Obviously at a very busy Starbucks, they don't want people taking up table space who aren't ordering, and have a right to ask people to leave if they don't.

Here's the thing though....pounds to pumpkins that if you were there, a white woman dressed nicely (pregnant or not), and ordered nothing, they never would have called the cops on you. So while I'm remaining open minded about it until all the facts are in, it does look like in this case there may have been an improper motive asking these black guys to leave, even if it was an unconscious bias.

On the other hand, if it's established that this particular location has a strict (and racially blind and consistently enforced) policy on loitering, that's another matter.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:54 PM   #12
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It's my understanding (and I don't work in the stores, so I'm not close to the policy) is that there isn't a strict policy about such things, and it can vary by store. A lot of stores do have to deal with people and situations that warrant calling the police.

One of the takeaways from this morning's open forum is that they're going to take a look at that policy, as obviously it leaves a LOT to personal interpretation.

Someone this morning did speak up to say the "didn't intend for them to be arrested" part of the statement was really problematic, as was using the phrase "incident," since it implies blame on both sides. The whole initial response on social wasn't great, to be honest. The second response from the CEO was better. (I do love working for a company where you can stand up and say stuff like that to the mucky mucks.)

We do a lot of awesome stuff as a company, but people screw up. We have over 180,000 employees in the US, and that's just at the company-owned stores (stores within another location like a grocery store or an airport are not run by Starbucks). Not every employee is going to make the right decisions all the time.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:00 PM   #13
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.
Someone this morning did speak up to say the "didn't intend for them to be arrested" part of the statement was really problematic, as was using the phrase "incident," since it implies blame on both sides.
Whoever said that doesn't understand how the police work.

What the Starbucks employee probably wanted was for the cops to use their authority to get these guys to leave, not necessarily arrest them. And apparently, that's what the police did...ask them to leave. If they would have left, that almost certainly would have been the end of it. But they apparently refused, and at that point the cops had little choice but to make an arrest because it's flat out trespassing. Just dragging the guys and throwing them out on the street really isn't an option the cops had (can you imagines THAT on Youtube?).

I've seen stuff go down at Starbucks, and the police have to come and sort it, mainly homeless guys yelling at people, camping out in the bathroom, stuff like that. Never seen anyone asked to leave, much less have the cops called on them, for simply sitting there w/o ordering though.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:03 PM   #14
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Here's the thing though....pounds to pumpkins that if you were there, a white woman dressed nicely (pregnant or not), and ordered nothing, they never would have called the cops on you. So while I'm remaining open minded about it until all the facts are in, it does look like in this case there may have been an improper motive asking these black guys to leave, even if it was an unconscious bias.
No doubt.

I don't have a good sense of how the policies work when the locations are all corporate as opposed to franchises. I was always under the impression that franchises are much more at liberty to set policies about how to deal with customers (for example, some franchises put locks on bathroom doors or only give keys to paying customers) than corporately-held stores. Which is why I wondered if there was any sort of policy set from the top or whether managers can pretty much go willy-nilly.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:05 PM   #15
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They were there to meet the white guy in the video, to discuss a real estate deal. So they should have ordered something in order to not be loitering? I did read one account that claimed that the employee called the police because they used the bathroom without ordering.

I sat outside a Panera Bread last week for about 10 minutes, waiting for an Uber. No one called me out for it or called the police. How many officers were in that Starbucks? It looked like a blatant overreaction to me. Police are trained to do everything to try to deescalate such situations, no? The one officer in that video, the way he pushed the chair..I don't think he was happy about the comments from the white guy or the fact that it was being recorded.
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