Starbucks Thinks You're Homeless, Tosses You And Your Coffee Out On The Street

A woman was tossed out of a Glen Ellyn, IL Starbucks after being mistaken for homeless. From the Daily Herald:

The 70-year-old Lisle woman was kicked out of the Starbucks in downtown Glen Ellyn a few weeks ago. She claims it was because employees mistook her as a homeless person, part of a purge the store waged to mollify customers who complained that the coffee shop was overrun with the homeless.

Despite an apology from the Seattle-based coffee giant, Kilborn says she isn’t looking for one. She wants something done to address the circumstances that prompted her removal in the first place.

“The issue here is not that I was asked to leave Starbucks,” Kilborn said. “It is the treatment of the homeless who are singled out.”

Some downtown merchants, though, are defending Starbucks, saying many homeless people linger around the business district waiting for nearby overnight shelters to open.

More inside…

Louise was singled out because she had been talking to a homeless person whom she recognized from her volunteer work. Louise used to be homeless herself, but now spends her time helping others.

Kilborn knows what the homeless are going through; she used to be one of them.

Since finding a place to live in September, she’s devoted Sunday afternoons volunteering at Glen Ellyn’s Welcome Center, a site offered by First United Methodist Church.

About 1:15 p.m. Feb. 25, she prepared for her shift in the same way she’s done many Sundays before: enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

“I cannot tell you how much I love Starbucks,” she said. “It’s the world’s greatest coffee.”

But on that particular Sunday, Kilborn broke from her usual routine. Instead of sitting alone, she went to sit with a homeless man she knew from the Welcome Center.

The man immediately told her he wasn’t staying – that he had been told to leave.

Kilborn was trying to ask the man why he had to go when a Starbucks employee tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to leave.

She wasn’t given a reason.

But Kilborn believes it was because the employee mistook her as being homeless. Several homeless people have been told to leave the Starbucks in recent weeks, she says. In some cases, police were called.

When Kilborn refused to leave, police officers responded to make sure she left.

By the time it was over, Kilborn recalls standing outside the Starbucks – fuming.

“I had my coffee in my hand,” she said. “It’s still too hot to drink – that’s how little time passed.”

Starbucks has apologized for the incident. —MEGHANN MARCO

Booted from Starbucks [Daily Herald via BoingBoing]

Comments

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  1. zibby says:

    Hell, if this keeps up Starbucks bathrooms may actually be usable in the near future.

  2. Greeper says:

    Sorry, but I’m behind Starbucks 100% on this one. OK, 99%. I deduct 5% for getting it wrong. And then award them another bonus 4% for “their treatment of the homeless.” I want my triple fatfree mocha latte stench free, thanks.

  3. Seacub says:

    Every Starbucks in my neighborhood (3 of them) is where the heroin users go to shoot up. It keeps me from going there. :-/

  4. Gasface says:

    The Consumerist: We Hate Lawyers AND The Homeless

    Print that on a t-shirt. (This is a reflection of current comments and does not reflect the editorial content of The Consumerist)

  5. Pelagius says:

    Last time I checked a business had a right to limit access to its premises to paying customers, and has an overwhelming interest in doing so when the presense of non-paying loiterers -whether they be homeless, bored suburban teens, or wifi hogging bloggers- is deterring paying customers from patronizing the store.

  6. vanilla-fro says:

    How does one go from being homeless to being able to go to starbucks every sunday? Hell I actually own a home and I won’t spend that much on coffee that apparently McDonalds can beat.

    I think she may end up being homeless again if she keeps going there.

  7. JRuiz47 says:

    @vanilla-fro:

    Four bucks every Sunday.

    I’ll be making that addition to my mansion now.

  8. I live in Lisle and visit that Starbucks occasionally…

    I kind of feel bad for Starbucks in this case because I know the sort of crap the employees have to deal with, but on the same note, I feel bad for the homeless for getting singled out as the “easy” group to kick out.

    For example: There are often certain… recently arrived Eastern European teenagers that hang out at area Starbucks in large numbers and one kid will buy some gum every few hours… meanwhile theres 15 or so teens tearing apart the store and being complete assclowns.

    The employees can’t kick these kids out… but I guess if someone who can’t afford coffee takes up a seat they can get the boot… It looks like the employee just made a mistake and it got put in the news.

  9. timmus says:

    Luci@vanilla-fro: Lucid point… but it seems people on the bottom rung always have a vice to help make life easier. If it’s coffee instead of smokes or lottery tickets, so much the better.

  10. not_seth_brundle says:

    @Pelagius: The woman who was booted was drinking a Starbucks coffee. I would hope that if she’d stolen it, that would have made it into the article.

  11. falconree says:

    I back business 100%. Kicking the homeless out is smart.

    ~ But ~, ya, they made a mistake. They acknowledged, apologized and this lady needs
    to get on with life.

    Has she asked herself yet, while standing in front of a mirror, “Why do so many think I am homeless? I’m a good person, I look good, I smell good and gosh darnit, people LIKE me.”

    ha ha ha

  12. faust1200 says:

    Being tossed out of a Starbucks for being homeless? I think it’s….TIME FOR A MAKEOOOOVVVEEEERRR!!!!

  13. Kornkob says:

    @vanilla-fro: By getting a fricken JOB. You make it sound like once someone’s homelss they can never amount to anything.

  14. @timmus: I know you aren’t calling coffee drinkers bottom rung junkies…

  15. peejaybee says:

    @: Like I tell my wife whenever she frets about whether or not she should spend some small amount of money — we spend more than that each month on phone service.

  16. Kornkob says:

    I’d be on the business’ side if they had a clearly stated policy like: Stinky people not allowed. But something as vague and judgemental as ‘you look homeless and you are sitting near him so get out’ is not a fair and reasonable thing to do.

    Besides, some stinky people live in houses.

  17. shiftless says:

    Last time I saw a homeless person in a Starbucks they started eating sugar packets, peed their pants, got it all over the floor and ran out.

  18. JRuiz47 says:

    @falconree:

    I’m no meteorologist, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say it might have been cold at some point in the past few weeks in Illinois.

  19. Rajio says:

    Wow, I’m not homeless but I can’t afford starbucks even remotely. I must be doing it wrong. I’m sure there was a sign (as there is in most establishments here) that patrons are only permited to sit at 20 minutes, and only if they are customers. if the lady wasn’t allowed to loiter, well whooopee, its private property … get over it. A business dosn’t like people hanging around without them buying product? thats a shocker! unless she was physically kicked out, or they threw out the coffee which she’d paid for then she has no grounds for gripe here. suck it up. Starbucks isn’t your living room.

  20. JRuiz47 says:

    By the way, the whole article:

    http://tinyurl.com/25avrp

  21. ChiSoxFan says:

    It sounds like this was a one off situation and the employee made an honest mistake. I live in Chicago and there are a ton of businesses I don’t want to buy from because they are overrun with homeless people. It sucks but I don’t see how you can blame them.

    @kornkob, sure she could get a job but you’d think that when she did, buying overpriced coffee would be pretty low on the list of regular purchases.

  22. B says:

    Starbucks should just enact a policy like “No Shirt, No Shower, No Service” and kick out all the stinky people. Of course, that might entail kicking out the smelly hippies, too. I understand Seattle is filled with them.

  23. niccernicus says:

    @Pelagius:

    I thought that was a given as well. If you are not supporting a business, why should it be assumed that you should be given the same accomodations as a paying customer? Granted, I sympathize for anyone without somewhere to go, but when did a coffee shop become a rent-free temporary dwelling.

    And to Starbucks, coffee in hand equals paying customer. Even your trendy-ass hipster baristas should know that.

  24. pinafore says:

    but meanwhile, if you are blond and dressed in khakis you can take up a whole table typing at your Mac for several hours straight

  25. Pelagius says:

    @not_seth_brundle: I was addressing the situation of people “camping out” in general, not this woman’s particular case. If the homeless guy on the corner wants to use his money to buy a $2 coffee and sit there to drink it, he has as much right as the soccer mom with her frappuccino.

  26. questionthemark says:

    @Greeper:

    your convenience > their convenience/being able to rest in a place of warmth

    why?

  27. questionthemark says:

    @Pelagius:

    Read. The woman was a paying customer.

  28. Mr_Human says:

    Off topic: I hate Starbucks coffee

  29. LawyerontheDL says:

    Whoa “A business has a right to limit access to their premises to their paying customers”? The woman had a cup of coffee in her hand – FOR WHICH SHE HAD JUST PAID STARBUCKS. Starbucks isn’t kicking out the homeless – they’re apparently kicking out people whom they feel are not the kind of clients they want. In other words, if you’re poor and your one enjoyment is a ridiculously expensive cup of coffee, you’d better put on your Sunday best or Starbucks won’t let you sit to enjoy your coffee at their premises. I can understand requiring that people actually purchase coffee, etc. But this is out of line – what’s next, no blacks, no disabled, a requirement that you be wearing Jimmy Choo’s?

  30. @Rajio: Except Starbucks’s well-publicized goal is to be customers’ “third place,” i.e., a place to spend pleasurable time. Ejecting a paying customer (whose coffee wasn’t even cool enough to drink yet, according to her statements) undercuts that policy, I’d say.

    And who knows what she’s getting at Starbucks? I’m thinking it was plain old coffee, not triple-shot caramel macchiatos with extra whatever. Does anyone seriously think that $10 a month spent on drip coffee and a pleasant place to sit is going to break the bank?

    Another thing: I’m not a regular Starbucks patron, but I’m often there sitting at a table with someone who has purchased a drink. I’ve never been asked to leave. Shouldn’t Ms. Kilborn’s friend similarly have enjoyed the protection of her paying-customer aegis?

  31. revmatty says:

    In regards to all the people who seem to be saying that homeless people have an inalienable right to go wherever they want no matter what: private property. As has been noted, if a theoretical homeless person were to purchase a coffee and site for an hour drinking it then Starbucks would have no cause to kick them out. As is more often the case I’ve seen, they don’t buy anything but rather make the rounds of everyone in the store pestering them for money. And those are just the well behaved ones.

    I have tremendous sympathy for the plight of the homeless, and I donate to the local shelter both time and goods. But their condition doesn’t grant them the right to interfere with other people’s rights (e.g. the business, who has paid for the property, staff, supplies, etc etc and most importantly a license which grants them the right to conduct their business in that location).

  32. Greeper says:

    @questionthemark: It must be tough going through life with no sense of humor whatsoever. Waaaaaaaaaahhhh

  33. niccernicus says:

    @LawyerontheDL:

    “Starbucks isn’t kicking out the homeless – they’re apparently kicking out people whom they feel are not the kind of clients they want.”

    Therefore an apology was issued for their mistake. A stupid mistake, but something they did apologize for.

    “In other words, if you’re poor and your one enjoyment is a ridiculously expensive cup of coffee, you’d better put on your Sunday best…”

    A bit of an overgeneralization on a mistake, wouldn’t you say?

  34. zibby says:

    @Greeper: Hoooooooo boy. Now you’ve done it.

  35. Scuba Steve says:

    @Rajio

    Sit 20 minutes? What kind of joke is that? If I’m paying 4 dollars for a coffee, they can go to hell if they’re only allowing me to sit for 20 minutes to let it cool and drink it.

    That being said, you’re at least right in the fact that a business should want to look out for paying customers. However, I’m sure that in this case she was paying, as the lady had a coffee in her hands that wasn’t even cooled off yet.

    Lastly, I’m sure we’re all aware that most businesses can refuse patrons due to any non-racist reason, including gender and sexuality. However, it’s nice to see a business treat people like human beings once in a while instead of walking wallets.

  36. vanilla-fro says:

    Ok, I’m with the people that are reminding me that $10 dollars a month won’t break the bank, but that’s still more than a recently homed person should be spending.

    I don’t think, she should have been kicked out if she truly did just purchase the coffee (I know she said she did, but that doesn’t really mean it).
    If there was no purchase then….out you go.

  37. DeeJayQueue says:

    If you’re homeless and didn’t buy anything, you don’t have any business hanging around in the starbucks. They have a right to ask you to leave. If you’re a paying customer, like the person in the article, and they provide tables and chairs, you’re allowed to sit and drink your coffee… that’s why starbucks pays for the extra real-estate, and furniture. They made a mistake with her, but it didn’t say if the guy she sat next to had bought anything or not, or if the homeless people that were being kicked out were buying anything or not.

    Matter of fact, it shouldn’t make a bit of difference if you’re homeless or not, the only thing that should matter is whether you’re a customer or a loiterer. She obviously had a cup of coffee, so she was definitely a customer, and they made a huge mistake asking her to leave. It’s discrimination to single out homeless people over the other non-paying people in starbucks like those who sit and play solitaire while they nurse a small icewater all day, and if it’s not illegal it should be.

  38. ikes says:

    has the consumerist given away a bunch of logins to the local middle school or what? seems as if the intelligence quotient has dropped quite a bit here…

  39. Jess A. says:

    I used to manage a coffee shop (not a Starbucks, but yeah..) and although this was rarely an issue at my location, I did help out at other stores where it was.

    As long as someone came in, ordered & paid, and was behaving reasonably, they were welcome to spend their money with us and sit in a comfortable seat. This included homeless people & panhandlers. I don’t see any reason whatsoever why a -paying customer- can’t enjoy a seat and a cup of coffee, regardless of what other customers may think of them, personally.

    As to “being stinky” and “taking up a table” — hell, lots of upper-middle class paying customers took up a table for hours using their laptops and reading their papers & socializing. Sometimes, they even wore too much perfume or smelled like cigarette smoke. It’s not your job to judge people on a personal basis, or to try to determine if they “should” be buying coffee or not — it’s your job to make & serve coffee, and collect money for the business. And it’s in your job description to be courteous.

    It’s pretty easy to sit at your keyboard reading hip blogs and make all kinds of judgements and decisions about other people’s money & lives… but is anyone else smelling a little elitism and entitlement in the comment section?

  40. Gasface says:

    Gonna have to agree with ikes. Could just be a slow day pulling the trolls out of the woodwork though.

  41. niccernicus says:

    @Jess A.: Best post so far here!

  42. Motor_Head says:

    Listen, when I am at a starbucks (and I usually am, drinking my coffee daily) and strike up conversation with someone who is not drinking coffee, then it is a BAD IDEA to kick us out. Unless either of us was doing something disruptive. The owner has a right to do so, but it is still a bad idea.

    The point I am making is, “when did simply being homeless become disruptive?” Is it too “real” for the soccer mom who will have to explain to her kids that some people don’t have homes? Some people don’t have nice clothes or bathe every day. They are called Germans. I keed, I keed. Try the veal, folks.

    The problem that we, as a society, need to fight against is being so complacent in our own little world that the mere sight of someone from the outside is disruptive. Talk to the homeless, you might learn something (like are they homeless cuz of psychotic problems, religion problems, or temporary money problems).

  43. Rajio says:

    @englishmajormoney: just because they don’t always ask everyone to leave doesnm’t mean that by extension everyone always has the right to loitre. if they want you to leave; you leave. its a private property and a business. you’re not paying for the pleasure to sit there. you’re paying for your coffee. we’ll you have your coffee. consider yourself lucky they let you sit around at all.

    they provide an area to relax but that doesn’t mean they have to let you relax there. Starbucks in this case didn’t really do anythign wrong; it doesn’t matter who this lady is or what shes like.

    ok, maybe its not ‘nice’ that they asked her to leave, but if its niceness you’re looking for, simply take your business elsewhere like any other good consumer.

    At the end of the day, she got what she paid for so no harm, no foul and if shes still unhappy then she should pay for it somewhere else instead.

  44. zibby says:

    Eh, I wouldn’t say there’s any out and out trolling, just the usual “spirited” debate one sees whenever the ol’ The-homeless-can-do-whatever-they-want/No-they-can’t disagreement plays out on the internet.

    I’d be bent if I was that woman, though. Surprised there’s no lawsuit (uh, yet?), but good for her.

  45. LeopardSeal says:

    @Motor_Head: I actually laughed out loud at the German joke, didn’t see that coming.

  46. superlayne says:

    I am scared of the homeless! I also like coffee!

    It was wrong of them to kick her out, yes, but Starbucks is, considered, in a sense, private property.

    It’s like what happened to the library in California….

  47. arcticJKL says:

    @Jess A.:
    I agree with everything you said. But still if a store wants to kick you out because your shoelaces are untied, or whatever they feel like, they should be allowed to.

    Don’t spend money there and tell everyone else not to as well. If they still make money the store wins if not you do.

    The store was right, the customer is right. Let’s see who wins.

  48. acambras says:

    Not my personal opinion, but…

    I imagine this may be a bit like AirTran kicking the unruly toddler and her family off the plane — some people will be outraged and some will be grateful.

    I agree with one of the above commenters that if I bought coffee at Starbucks every day, I might become homeless pretty quickly.

  49. Motor_Head says:

    @onrampofframp: I am glad to see someone shares my sense of humor!

  50. Jess A. says:

    @arcticJKL:

    I agree that a privately owned business has a right to kick out whoever they feel like kicking out. I think that what bugs me about this situation (and some of the Consumerist commenter responses) is this notion that some people are not worthy of spending their money at Starbucks because of some perceived difference.

    Add to this the fact that Starbucks talks a good talk about being community oriented, and even has in their corporate mission statement a “guiding principle” about treating people with respect and dignity, and it just seems kind of, you know, wrong for floor staff to be deciding on the spot who gets to stay and who has to leave.

  51. ZonzoMaster says:

    @Jess A.:
    I agree to what you say.

    Even if a store has the right to kick you out, they shouldn’t just abuse the right because you don’t “look profitable”. And altough the store did make an honest mistake, or so they say, there are places where they do abuse the right, and i find that unfair.

    And yes, if they are bothering other customers or not paying, then kicking out is fair.

  52. Jess A. says:

    @Jess A.: Oh.. and I hit “submit” too soon, because I meant to mention that I do feel that if people disagree with Starbucks’ stance on this, then they should vote with their pocketbook and go elsewhere. I don’t go to Starbucks, and I don’t drink their coffee — in part because I don’t like the product, and in part because I find some of their business practices to be… eh… let’s just say that I value the independents.

  53. alicetheowl says:

    A business has a right to do whatever they damn well please to their customers, including refusing to cancel an account without running you through a ridiculous spiel, putting Nazi symbols on t-shirts and charging ridiculous fees for “early termination.” Does that mean that we, as consumers, have to just sit down and shut up about it?

    I think making a policy to kick out “the homeless and anyone who looks like them” is a grave mistake on Starbucks’ part. I can think of many reasons why a homeless person may be disruptive of paying customers, but shouldn’t that be dealt with on a case-by-case basis? If they’re disruptively panhandling, escort them out for bothering paying customers. If the place is overcrowded and paying customers want to sit, ask them to clear the space for paying customers. But pre-emptively shooing them out because “people complained” and “they MIGHT cause a problem” seems like excessive snobbery on their part.

    People don’t lose their dignity as human beings based on economic bracket. At least, they bloody well shouldn’t.

  54. synergy says:

    @Jess A.: hear hear

  55. juri squared says:

    @AngrySicilian:

    My husband’s from Lisle and works in Glen Ellyn, so I’m in that area frequently too. It’s a small world!

    In any case, the Glen Ellyn shelter is one of a very few permanent shelters in DuPage county, so of course there are going to be more homeless people around there. Maybe that Starbucks manager should poke his/her outside the doors and take a good look at everyone around – not just the yuppies.

  56. Techguy1138 says:

    I agree that in general people who loiter should be dealt with on a case by case basis. However; specifically this is indicitive of a much larger issue.

    There simply is not enough support apparatus for the homeless. I live in LA and even though there are less visible homeless here than there was in Boston it seems to be a much bigger issue. Any place that becomes ‘Homeless friendly’ can kiss some business good by from affulent customers. They become mini shelters. Then from the homeless the beggars move in. Beggars will sit around all day asking your paying customers for cash with some kind of sad story. They are also bad for business. I understand there is tragety in life, some people are telling stright stories of trouble. Then sometimes I spot katrina refugee driving to or away from the begging spot in a Lexus.I can’t afford a car.

    I do not want to be in the position to potentially turn away another human who may need help. I also don’t want to have to figure of if I’m just being scammed when I go to buy coffee.

  57. zibby says:

    @Techguy1138: Unfortunately, I know what you mean. Every once in a while I take my kid to whatever animated trainwreck is in the theater and we sometimes go to McDonald’s after (yeah, I know – but it’s a very occasional thing and on the plus side I get my coffee from a guy in a cart). Well, the McSpew a block away from the theater was apparently close to shelter/center/clinic of some sort, and there were a lot of people in there with big problems. Homeless? Don’t know. Let’s call them “cool people” and I’ll call everybody else “squares”. The cool people asked for money and food, slept or passed out at tables, argued (this involved saying “motherfucker” and using racial epithets a lot), jabbered to themselves, left messes at the tables when they did leave (big pet peeve, as I used to be the dude that got to clean that mess up) and yeah, rendered the can pretty much unusable. I should note that some of the cool people were polite enough. The squares pretty much just wanted to eat their craptastic meal and split. Ya know what? After a few visits, I caught on that the joint was always like that. I also found another McD’s 5 blocks away that was pretty mellow so I just started going there. Did the franchisee care? Tough to say. Cool people obviously made up a really good chunk of his clientele. If that weren’t the case, would squares make up the difference and then some? Maybe, maybe not. He or she has no doubt done the math.

    Hey I know someone will likely pipe up to the effect that such a gritty experience is something to be valued, good for the soul, whatever. And if that’s your cup of tea, totally fine with me. But my standards are different when I got the kid with me, so I had to walk.

    Sorry for the long post, got a bit carried away.

  58. biggeek says:

    That woman needs to stop dressing like a bag lady if she doesn’t want to be treated like one.

  59. derherzeleid says:

    Yes, the Partner made a mistake asking her to leave, but they had grounds to. In my experience, what people will do is get a cup of ice water, and grab tons of sugar and fall asleep on the couches. There isn’t much of a problem with this, except it affects the other guests who wanted to sit there. Arguably, anyone who walks into starbucks, uses supplies, and doesn’t pay for anything should be asked to leave. Regardless of if they’re homeless or not. Anyone who creates an unpleasant environment in starbucks should be asked to leave. Unpleasant as defined by the other customers, not by the corporation. This should be Especially true in an environment where people have been complaining about starbucks not being like their goal of the third place. Out here, a tall cup of coffee is 1.50, so 6 bucks a month isn’t that much, she probably saves that on gas alone. -This point doesn’t matter, we should not be judging the lady.

  60. juniper says:

    As someone who works at a homeless shelter in Illinois (though not in Lisle), this story is hard to read, emotionally. Yes, there are problems everywhere with the homeless loitering in businesses – and business owners are entitled to ask them to leave. But when someone buys a drink, regardless of whether they are homeless or not, they are entitled to all that comes with it – in the case of Starbucks, a cushy seat at the shop.

    What I’m seeing is that there are a lot of people who say it’s ok to kick a homeless person out of a business because they’re stinky or look to be the wrong store demographic. Well, sorry. Homeless people are responsible for the choices they make, but society is responsible for the choices they have. The fact that someone who “looks homeless” can get kicked out of a store when she is a paying customer means that we as a society have a serious problem addressing perceptions of class and wealth.

    The homeless are, by and large, trying to get by. When I have a bad day and need to treat myself, maybe I’ll get a manicure. Maybe a homeless person will get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. That’s ok. You do what you have to do to get by.

    If you’re feeling a little miffed about a homeless person buying coffee in your Starbucks with the dollar you just gave him, maybe you should consider contributing to your local non-profit organization serving the homeless so they can emerge from the trauma of homelessness and afford their own coffee one day, just like you.

  61. fairywench says:

    @superlayne: Scared of the homeless? WTF?!? If you are that sheltered and narrow minded, then haul yourself over to the local homeless shelter immediately and do some volunteer work! Because you need a heavy dose of reality, quickly. Scared? They’re people! People JUST like you! If you’re going to be scared of something, be scared of our McPresident and his cronies, who are doing their best to make sure that even more Americans become homeless.

    And back on topic – it seems really strange to me that here in Houston (which everyone knows is the boil on the butt of America), I have seen Starbucks employees giving homeless people free water and coffee, and smiling and being courteous while they do it. And in return, the homeless go outside and drink their drinks, and are careful not to disturb anyone else.

    Who’da thunk?

  62. katewrath says:

    @biggeek: In Chicago, probably half the white women over 45 are wearing the same outfit as this lady. She looks exactly like the entire female staff of my elementary school.

    I’m not saying that’s a good thing. But just to give some context, the hat, the gloves, the down jacket–this is standard winter wear for the older midwestern lady. More common even than the oversized Bears jacket in Forest Park, or the full length mink on Michigan Ave.

  63. Helvetian says:

    I will refrain from deningrating homeless people, because I’ve seen specials about them and it’s a difficult life. Some are homeless due to extreme circumstances. It’s a really difficult situation, and I have no problem being around a homeless person or vagrant. However if anyone were to possess any odors, it’s difficult to enjoy a meal.

    I don’t like Starbucks, because they allow people to sit all day drinking the same four hour old cup of joe. Everytime I go in one, I can never find a seat. The same with Barnes & Noble (or any business that allows free loaders to lounge around all day). I don’t like people laying on the floors reading “new” books and magazines, it’s inconvenient whether homeless or not. I don’t bother half the time since you can never get a chair, even at the cafe.

  64. Her Grace says:

    As if I needed another reason to hate Starbucks.

  65. 5yearwinter says:

    This is sad, to me. Not only because of the woman who was a paying customer being treated with disrespect, but also because of the idea that homeless people would be treated with disrespect as well.

    I live on a college campus in Philadelphia, so I’m no stranger to the homeless. Quite a few of them I’ve encountered have mental disorders (I can imagine the stress of being homeless doesn’t help). I try to treat them with some sort of dignity, regardless of whether or not I’m going to give them any money, because the fact that they’re human trumps economic status or appearance.

  66. jesseraub says:

    I work at a Starbucks in Bloomington, IN. We have a sizable homeless population in this town, sadly. Most shelters are just day shelters, and the overnight ones fill up quick. We are a twenty-four hour Starbucks, and we have a few homeless people come in overnight. They usually buy just a cup of coffee, and we usually try give it to them for free or just the 53 cent refill price. The only problem is when a homeless person tries to sleep on one of our couches nearly every night. My manager has to let him know he can stay if he stays awake, or he has to leave. If we allow him to sleep on the couch overnight, then we have to allow everyone to sleep in Starbucks. But that’s our managers policy, and usually the overnighters just leave him be. Even the manager turns the other way when it’s really cold out.

  67. LawyerontheDL says:

    @n1ckel5: I’m overgeneralizing? I’m not the one who booted an elderly woman out of a coffee shop because she was speaking to a homeless person and was dressed for cold weather. And apologizing doesn’t cut it, either. Firing someone, issuing a company wide policy regarding under what situations a person should be asked to leave – those are appropriate reactions. Starbucks isn’t sorry that they did it – they’re sorry that the incident received so much attention.

  68. bdgbill says:

    The cup of coffee should have been a tip off that this woman was not homeless but….

    I am 100% in favor of kicking the homeless out of starbucks (and public liabrarys for that matter).

    Now if only Starbucks would start kicking out Soccer moms who bring there 3 screaming kids to run wild while they sip their coffee.

  69. hildeaux says:

    I work for starbucks, and homeless people are one of the biggest problems at my store. the story isn’t clear whether the woman or the man she was with were disturbing other customers, but if they were, then i am with starbucks on this. this woman should be more pissed at the people who ruin starbucks for everyone else (i.e., the people who come in and bother customers, take advantage of free samples, and take showers in the bathroom sinks). they shouldn’t have kicked her out if she wasn’t bothering anyone, but i can definitely understand why starbucks would have been wary of her. it’s impossible to try to weed out bothersome people without making mistakes sometimes.

  70. poornotignorant says:

    @bdgbill: Maybe the government should stop funding public libraries in your neighborhood, so they can better afford decent schools and libraries in the neighborhoods that most homeless people come out of and decent mental health treatment and affordable housing. And maybe the government should stop paying for your toys, like concert halls and sport stadiums.

    Oh, and I think Starbucks has the right to discriminate, within the law.

  71. Americana says:

    Get a job, Grouch!