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April 17, 2018

On Starbucks and "Racism"

1. Restaurants/coffee shops like Starbucks exist, in case the Social Justice Warriors weren't aware of this, to sell things to paying customers.

2. These shops usually have chairs and tables. These are not "free" for anyone to use. They are provided as an included benefit, a lagniappe, for those who actually do pay for food or coffee.

3. Indeed, as businesses don't give anything away for "free," the cost of space, and of air conditioning, and the costs of furniture, etc., is actually included in the cost of the food and drink they sell to paying customers (there's that phrase again).

4. Ergo, if you do not buy anything in the shop, you are not paying your share of the cost of space, the air conditioning, the lighting, the furniture, etc.

5. And, in fact, by using the limited resource of available chairs and tables, a nonpaying noncustomer is actually preventing paying customers from using them.

6. The individuals here were not paying customers. They were free riders, permitted in the store only due to the indulgence of the manager and his desire to not make a scene.

7. Rather than accepting that their presence was merely tolerated as an indulgence, they decided to take it up another notch by asking for the bathroom code, despite (I'm pretty sure) signage indicating that bathrooms were for paying customers only.

8. This is the standard way these shops operate. They do not wish to become private unfunded homeless shelters, providing indoor chairs and bathroom facilities for transients.

9. After being told they could not use the bathrooms unless they were paying customers, instead of doing the obvious thing of laying down a buck and a half for the smallest size tea, thus complying with Starbucks' rules and becoming a minimum-level paying customer, they apparently refused.

10. They were then told to leave, which is Starbucks' right -- again, the table and chairs and space are provided as a courtesy to paying customers, not anyone who just wants to get off the street and use the business as an office-away-from-home as they wait for another party, who would probably also be a nonpaying noncustomer. I say that because if they planned on staying at Starbucks, they shouldn't have been so resistant to just paying for a tea.

Unless they intended to be briefed on real estate opportunities by this friend for a few hours, also without ever paying for anything in the shop.

11. Black people often claim that white people don't listen to them or don't believe them about cops and businesses hassling them. Well, let me note that goes in the other direction: I and most white people here can attest that this rule -- no bathroom use for nonpaying noncustomers-- also applies to white people, and I've been denied the code or the key most of the times I've asked to use the bathroom without first paying. Sometimes I'll say "I have to go to the bathroom, but I'll order as soon as I'm out," and they give up the code, and then I order.

This is not a Black People Only rule.

This rule is so omnipresent I'm frankly shocked these people were surprised by it. I understand the rule and the exchange (my purchase for the accommodation of a seat or use of the bathroom) implicitly. Usually, if I have to use the bathroom, I don't even ask for the key without making at least a small purpose. I don't want then to tell me "No, it's against store policy" so I just buy something to avoid that tiny indignity.

Why was this such an outrage to these guys? Do they never get out?

And again: Why not just shell out the buck and a half for a small tea?

If you're going to deny the lived experience of members of an entire race as false and made-up, then you're a racist.

And pretty much all white people can tell you: Yes, this is standard. If someone gives you the key without a purpose you have won the day and should count yourself lucky, or count the clerk as kind, because that's not very common.

12. Having now gone from one indulgence to asking for another, the manager thought it was time to inform these gentlemen that Starbucks is not, in fact, a public convenience, but a private business engaged in the business of actual business, and asked them to leave.

Once again, they seemed to have ignored the possibility of just ordering a small tea as a way to gain the right to sit and use the bathrooms.

13. They refused to leave, now announcing themselves as squatters, and so the manager called the cops to escort them out -- which is what any business would do when their quite lawful and understandable rule that you either buy something or leave is ignored.

14. The cops came and also told the gentlemen it was time to move on, given that they had no legal right to be in the store, and were continuing to refuse the trivial gesture of paying $1.50 for a small tea that would make this situation all copacetic, and then they apparently told the cops they weren't going anywhere. They apparently believed they had/have the right to sit in someone else's private property uninvited and unwanted until they feel like leaving.

15. They also apparently believe that the claim "I'm waiting for a friend" somehow gives them the right to remain uninvited and unpaying in someone else's establishment. They also seem to not realize that if they just went outside and waited for their friend there, their friend would of course see them as he approached the doors to enter.

16. Now having refused the cops' reasonable request to leave -- and therefore now in defiance of a cops' lawful order to stop trespassing on someone else's private property when you have been lawfully asked to leave -- they were arrested.

17. And no, I don't agree with Ed Morrissey's claim that the manager should have expected them to be arrested when he called the cops. That's absurd. Most cops do not arrest homeless people laying on a blanket outside a restaurant when the restaurant calls the cops. Nor do they usually arrest drunks who refuse to leave a bar at closing time. They simply tell the person it's time to move on to go bother another business, or call a cab and go home.

I don't believe the cops had any intent to arrest these guys; they had the intent to get them to leave, per the owner's lawful request that they do so. I think it was their refusal to do so that escalated this from a "Move on" situation to a "Now we're taking you in" situation.

It's a bizarre idea that someone should "expect" that minor interactions with the cops like this would of course result in an arrest, instead of a simple "Move on."

18. But this is of course racism because the people being asked to move on were black. Once upon a time, the civil rights movement was dedicated to ensuring that blacks were treated no differently than whites by police and businesses; now it seems dedicated to ensuring they are treated differently -- with greater latitude and indulgence.

Because yes, white people are denied the right to use bathrooms all the time, and no, white people cannot just set up shop in a private business without paying for anything without being asked to either buy something or find someplace else to go.

19. I have a small amount of expertise on this: I used to be a waiter. And I can tell you that even paying customers, who've bought a fair amount of food and drink, will be pressured to pay and leave if they overstay at their table without ordering more and more food or drink. Restaurants will give you about 30-40 minutes after coffee to wrap up -- assuming it's a sit-down restaurant -- and then, if you just continue to gab, waiters will begin conspiring to pressure you to leave. These pressure tactics include giving you the bill, even when you did not ask for it, and then repeatedly coming to the table to ask "Is there anything else you'll be needing?" If you do not take the hint, you will ultimately be told you have to clear the table to allow other patrons to sit.

And yes, I've had to do this. I was young and felt uncomfortable about it, but the owner told me: Tell them to leave. That table is worth money to me and they can't occupy it for an hour and a half after their meal as if it's their living room.

(BTW, I thought I'd lose my tip over this, which would have sucked, as they did order big meals and lots of drinks, but they were cool about. They did not start berating me about their imagined rights to occupy a table on a busy night for hours and hours. They understood that their overstay had been indulged, but ultimately, the restaurant reserved the right to end this indulgence after a reasonable time.)

(And, BTW: having been a waiter, and having experienced this a lot, if I'm out to dinner with you, and we begin to overstay, I will start getting antsy and saying "We should either go or order more food and drink or relocate to the bar" because I know that restaurants and waiters start to get very pissy about overstaying, no-longer-ordering table-squatters. The tenseness of this situation was instilled in me from my own career as a waiter.)

(If you didn't know this, you're either someone who leaves promptly, or you've been very indulged by wait-staffs, or you just don't pick up on social cues and nervous energy very well. Basically, the rule is that after 45 minutes, restaurant patrons, like unrefrigerated fish, begin to stink.)

20. Although this happens all the time to white people, no stories about it ever go viral, because, well, who gives a fuck. It's stupid to even complain about commonsensical policies.

21. Yet this is now national news because it happened to black guys.

22. Who despite the many opportunities to make all of this square by just ordering a $1.50 small tea, just continued to demand further indulgence of the manager.

23. Now Starbucks is saying this was all contrary to their policy and, presumably, anyone who wants to sit in their shops and not order anything and use the bathrooms has the right to do so as long as they like.

24. Starbucks, in other words, has just announced its stores are not stores primarily, but are now privately-funded shelters and bathroom facilities for the homeless. You don't have to spend a slim dime in the store to sit as long as you please and use the bathrooms.

25. That'll be great for Starbucks' business. Their yuppie douchebag clientele love the homeless in the abstract, but we'll see how much they appreciate their coffee shops being jammed with them, close-up-like, occupying most tables and chairs.

26. I don't even want to defend Starbucks; I want them to have the full taste of Social Justice Warrior progressivism. If this is the company's ideology, then they should live that ideology to the full.

27. I have a feeling Starbucks is just claiming this policy until the Social Justice Warrior locusts find a new business to harass, and then, when they do move on, they'll quietly shift the policy back to "Paying Customers Only," but I think it would be a hoot if conservatives monitored them to make sure they're sticking with this new, idiotic policy of letting anyone just sit and lounge without actually buying anything.

28. I think it would be funny if rightwing blogs made sure they were continuing this policy and made sure everyone knew they were backsliding when they do, inevitably, backslide into a non-insane position.

29. Because fuck them.

30. Here's Sargon of Akkad on this whole contrived, invented, made-up racial nontroversy.

BTW: Starbucks will begin implementing a new policy of instructing employees about "unconscious racism."

Soon, they'll have to start training people to avoid "unconscious desire to keep vagrants and transients from just parking themselves in their shops all damn day."


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posted by Ace of Spades at 04:15 PM

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