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Inside The “New” Starbucks: Blood-Spattered Walls, Workers Pricked By Needles And More

Starbucks is having a terrible time adapting to its new “inclusive” public restroom policy, as employees contend with blood spattered walls, used drug needles, and face-melting waftings from deuce-dropping vagrants filling the store. 

Oh, and all that was happening before the new homeless shelter bathroom policy

One current barista in New York City said drug use in the bathrooms is a frequent occurrence.

employees often found small drops of blood splattered across the toilet and walls WSJ

As the Wall Street Journal notes, “Managers and baristas regularly deal with a range of problems in the restrooms, from drug use to defecation outside the toilets, according to some current and former employees.”

“Drug use wasn’t happening in the bathroom every day, but it was definitely something that was happening once a week. The cops were called a lot,” said 21-year-old Darrion Sjoquist, a former Seattle Starbucks barista.

Once, when he was taking out the bathroom trash, he said he was pricked by a hypodermic needle. He said he and other Seattle baristas asked Starbucks to install Sharps containers—the kind of locked boxes found in doctors’ offices—in the bathrooms, to encourage drug users to properly dispose of their needles. –WSJ

As Starbucks transitions to their all-inclusive bathroom policy following an embarrassing incident in which the police were called on two black customers who asked to use the bathroom without purchasing anything, the company faces sagging sales and unhappy customers.

Maintaining clean and safe bathrooms is particularly important now for Starbucks. The company is facing slowing retail sales and has decided to focus largely on its cafe business after agreeing earlier this month to sell to Nestlé SA the rights to distribute most of its packaged drinks in grocery stores.

“Everything is tied together. If the restaurant management doesn’t keep the restroom clean, things could slip in the kitchen, too,” said 70-year-old Apple Valley, CA Starbucks customer, Donald Whittemore.

According to foodservice research firm Tachomic Inc., bathroom cleanliness is among the top factors for consumers choosing whether or not to use a restaurant. In their most recent quarterly ranking of fast-food customers, Starbucks ranked 20th in terms of bathroom cleanliness. Let’s see how they rank next quarter.


A Starbucks spokesman said that the health and safety of employees is a top priority and that trash cans have been removed from some bathrooms. 

The spokesman said the company’s new policy requires people to be respectful, and to use the cafes and bathrooms properly—and that there are guidelines to handle situations when they don’t. Employees should provide a welcoming environment for all guests, he said, and “customers have an equal responsibility to use the spaces as intended.”

Wait, what’s this about customers? Last we checked, Starbucks bathrooms can now be used by anyone.

A former Starbucks facilities manager who oversaw several urban stores on the East Coast said those cafes had special kits on hand with rubber gloves, tongs and a box that store employees could use to dispose of needles… -WSJ

As we reported on Thursday, Starbucks’ new “inclusiveness” policy is sparking outrage in customers who just want to get a $6 latte without running into the new bathroom inhabitants. 

“It sounds like Starbucks is turning their stores into homeless shelters. Their coffee is strong but their management is weak,” said Ron Raduechel, a 64-year-old retired supply chain executive from Waukesha, Wis., who said he would no longer go to Starbucks. WSJ

As the reactions from viewers of CBS LA’s recent story about Starbucks’ new policy suggest, customers are fed up…

“If you go into a business and you just sit there and you don’t buy anything you are taking up space at the table,” said Melrose Larry Green.

You could end up having a squatters problem where you just have people coming and staying. I mean if they are going to do that they need to limit how long people can stay in there,” said Joe Selva.