Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm just saying..

I was waiting for a large cappuccino and a large decaf hazelnut Latte Macchiato, when I saw these two young men come inside Starbucks. One of them was obviously in a hurry, trying to locate the men's room.. He was very polite but persistent when he asked the lady by the counter if he could use the bathroom. I could tell by the way he pressed his knees together, he had not much time to lose. The lady asked him if he was a customer or not. He understood where she was headed to and he put a 1 euro coin on the counter. She shook her head... He offered her 2 euro and I saw the agony in this face. But once again, she said she could not accept him going to the bathroom if he didn't make an order. Both men left the place, truly disappointed. I was appalled and irritated by this scene. How can you deny a person in need, to use the bathroom?

I grabbed my drinks and found my way back to the table (the place was packed by then), where my husband was waiting for me. I was really distressed by this incident. It occurs every now and then, that I need to go real bad and just thinking someone would deny me the use of their bathroom, really pissed me off..
Just a little later, a female person entered Starbucks. She was not the person you would expect in a place where coffee is called Café Americano and costs € 4.25 a mug. It seemed like she hadn't seen a bath in ages. Her clothes were shabby and dirty and she looked like she had been living on the street for some years. She found a spot right next to where we were sipping our creamy hot coffee (don't you just love that hazelnut syrup?). I was still upset by the men's room incident, when the lady started to scratch herself, before she laid down her head on the table to take a nap. For at least half an hour, she didn't budge and she obviously did not stand in line to order a coffee or a chocolate chip muffin.

That's it! I've had it! I went back to the counter and after standing there like a ghost (that's the feeling you get when 4 employees completely ignore you), I asked to see the manager in charge. Well, guess what? Four heads turned my way in an instant, wondering what I wanted to see the manager for. It took them some time to find out who was in charge that day. I finally got to see the manager, although she did not look like a manager at all.. In a calm way (trust me, I had a really hard time to stay calm at that stage), I told her what had been bothering me since the moment I ordered our drinks. She said she could not allow people to use the bathrooms if they weren't customers. This young man was even prepared to pay 2 euro to take a simple pee! Hello??? Did you miss something??
I asked her about the scruffy lady, who was not a paying customer but nevertheless claimed a table and a seat, for at least half an hour, while paying customers had to consume their 10 euro bill outside on the terrace in the cold. She told me there was nothing she could do, since the woman in rags came to Starbucks every day. I guess not as a paying customer..

Strange policy. Not very American-like, I would say. If it weren't for their good coffee...

PS I used their bathroom. For free. It didn't have toilet paper and I didn't flush. Suits them well.

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