In an unexpected move, many Starbucks locations in New York have decided to convert their restrooms from "public" to “employees only."
It's not a company-wide change and has only been implemented in a few New York locations so far.
“Starbucks cannot be the public bathroom in the city anymore,” one source told the New York Post.
The stated reason for closing the bathrooms to the public is that “Starbucks’ own employees have to wait in lines — competing with customers filled with Pumpkin Spice Latte and other trendy drinks — when they take a bathroom break.”
The alternative is that they can cut in line, but one can only guess how well that would go over with customers.
Therefore the solution has been to make the bathrooms "employees only."
A Starbucks on 45th Street and Sixth Avenue has already implemented the change while some other Starbucks have opted to reduce their restrooms from two to one.
“They are not eliminating bathrooms, but feeling the pressure of more people,” the source said.
Good luck if you’re a tourist.
“If you are a tourist, you will not know which Starbucks has a bathroom,” the source said.
How can they do this?
Although it is a citywide policy that any food establishment with more than 19 seats is required by law to have a public restroom, the typical Starbucks in New York City has fewer than 20 seats.
But one can’t help but think there’s more to this story.
At one particular Starbucks, which closed a public bathroom this year, a worker told the Post that the cost of fixing it two or three times a week wasn't worth it.
“We closed off the public bathroom because it was just too messy,” the worker said.
What in the world could possibly be causing that kind of mess? Do they really have that many customers that having a public restroom has become a financial burden?
What sudden spike in foot traffic would cause these Starbucks to implement what can only be described as an incredibly inconvenient policy?
Oh wait, guess what else is going on in lower Manhattan (green markers represent Starbucks locations):
Recall that since the occupy movement began in September, it has cost local stores and restaurants nearly half a million dollars in lost business.
But worst yet is the fact that local businesses have been forced to spend extra on extra toilet paper, cleaning supplies and repairs because “the tent dwellers turn bathrooms into personal washrooms.”
Although the source that spoke to the Post did not explicitly state that OWS protesters were one of the reasons for closing off the bathrooms to the public, one can’t help but speculate.
Many -- if not all -- of these stores existed well before the demonstrations began. It seems odd that, all of a sudden, Starbucks' business has picked up so much that they cannot possible accommodate public restrooms any longer.