Used hypodermic needles found inside Starbucks stores
Employees at unnamed Starbucks locations reported having to regularly clean up hypodermic needles in bathrooms.
Three baristas have provided KIRO 7 with photos of needles that are cleaned up and disposed of on a daily basis. The needles typically turn up “in the tampon disposal boxes in the bathrooms, and we have to dig them out.”
The employees all wished to keep their identities anonymous, but cited a need for someone to “do something about this.” All three have hospital and pharmacy paperwork proving that they’ve had to take anti-viral medication after being poked by needles on the job while cleaning.
This all comes after a controversial new bathroom policy unveiled by Starbucks this last May. The policy states that any and everyone can use the coffee chain’s facilities, whether or not they’re a customer.
The change initially occurred after two black men were denied use of a Starbucks bathroom in Philadelphia. “We don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are less than,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
It doesn’t seem at all coincidental that employees are now finding used hypodermic needles following this policy shift, as drug users take advantage of the loosened restrictions.
Calling it, way back in May, was KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill. “People are going to do heroin in that bathroom, too. That is the fear of a lot of businesses,” he predicted when the new policy was announced.
What were seeing now has Starbucks’ staffers more than a little concerned both for themselves and others. “My friends are at risk,” said one of the anonymous employees.
Story written with information from KIRO 7’s Amy Clancy.