It became widely publicized that Starbucks spaces, whether it be a bathroom, dining room or patio,were now open to all, even without making a purchase.
Thoughts of Armageddon surfaced, as the feeling was that it would be open season on baristas, and customers were going to take advantage of the lax new rule, causing havoc in stores.
While it took a few days, Starbucks made it clear to its baristas that they will not be left hanging out to dry, and customers will not have room to act unruly in their spaces.
If you went to Starbucks Tuesday, May 29, trying to get your usual dose of morning coffee, you probably sat at a drive-thru for 3 minutes before realizing they were closed, or forcefully jiggled the front door, wondering why the hell the baristas were all just sitting inside the store, not making you coffee.
That’s because every single one of Starbucks’ 8,000 U.S. locations locked its doors, taking the day to learn about not just racial sensitivity, but how to handle its updated “The Third Place” rules, which state that people no longer have to actually buy anything to hang out in a Starbucks store.
Every employee plopped down inside their home stores, watching culturally-mindful videos through iPads that were mailed to each store from Starbucks corporate.
If you’re wondering why this all-day training even took place, it can be attributed to a recent incident in a Philadelphia store where two black men were arrested for sitting it the Starbucks without buying anything.
Starbucks took a pretty good beating in the media, and felt they needed to do something drastic to address the backlash.
The coffee chain’s precedent-setting response to the incident was closing down for a day to remind every one of its 17,000-plus employees how to be decent human beings.
Maybe just as important in these meetings, was establishing that employees still have the power to dismiss potentially troublesome patrons.
Baristas have to deal with lots of different personalities, to say the least.
Starbucks laid out guidelines to protect its employees, pointing out that customers should still act “legally and ethically, communicating respectfully, being considerate of others, and using the spaces as ended.”
So if you think you can just walk in to Starbucks, charge your phone and tell everyone to go fuck themselves, that last part can still get you kicked out.
The training manual also said, “This is going to require true leadership from our store managers and our district managers,” further showing that employees have the power to defuse potentially difficult situations that come with everyday life at a public venue.
It seemed like Starbucks was aware that this training wasn’t going to put a Band-Aid over all its problems, so it will be hosting a leadership conference for store managers that will cover “ongoing operations, education and development” over the next 12 months.
Although a number of baristas expressed how corny the four-hour training was, at least there is a clearer picture about “The Third Place” rules.
While you can now freely use the bathrooms, hang out in the patio, and get some work done using their WiFi, if you act like an idiot and start being disrespectful, you can still be shown the door.