Starbucks implements unfair policy


Reilly Blum


Cartoon by Anna Poznyak

No amount of coffee is worth braving the Midtown Promenade Starbucks’ chaotic atmosphere.
The hordes of students who loiter outside the coffee shop are an unwelcome distraction. Most attend Inman, but some, unfortunately, come from Grady. These students congregate near the Starbucks’ patio, occupying the seating area, while never purchasing a single beverage. It was remarkably unpleasant to sit with my friends and try to enjoy my drink while a gaggle of girls to my left screeched with laughter, and two boys to my right wrestled. On the Starbucks’ patio  at 4 p.m., personal space is a luxury, and common courtesy is an anomaly. As I chatted with my friends, a group of students loudly interrupted our conversation and asked for some of our food. Starbucks is a coffee shop, not a playground, but as I sat there, I felt like I had returned to elementary school.
I was relieved when a Starbucks employee walked onto the patio and started asking the students to leave — relieved, that is, until he approached my table.
“Students aren’t allowed on the patio after school,” he coldly told us.
We stood there for a minute, surprised that we had just been kicked out of Starbucks, of all places. We debated whether or not to leave — we knew that we weren’t contributing to the disruption, and thought (rightly so) that because we had purchased beverages, we ought to remain. Eventually, however, we gathered ourselves and moved to a sad little patch of dirt approximately nine inches from the edge of the Starbucks’ property.
The Starbucks’ policy, which prevents anyone who looks remotely like a student from enjoying a drink on the patio after school, has good intentions at its core. An outstanding majority of students at Starbucks do not purchase beverages; they instead expend their energy on screams, tussles and mindless chatter. Put simply, the Starbucks’ patio is not a pleasant place to enjoy a beverage after school. Disruptive students almost certainly turn away more mature customers.
Yet not all students mooch; those who actually buy drinks should not be treated poorly. Starbucks’ policy shows disregard for paying high school patrons.
The policy is both ineffective and unfair. Just like the Inman students, it too drives away customers — I certainly have no intentions of ever returning to the Midtown Starbucks. By not allowing students to enjoy their drinks on the patio, Starbucks turns away an entire market. Those of us snubbed by the Starbucks staff will probably go out of our ways to take our business elsewhere.
It is important to remember, however, that the Midtown Starbucks has long been supportive of Grady, sponsoring a cleanup day in 2013 and backing a number of Grady events. It is ungrateful, to say the least, that students disrespect a local franchise that has done so many good things for Grady in the past.
I urge the Midtown Starbucks: please treat Grady students like customers, not delinquents. My afternoon at Starbucks ended when a police officer told my group — all of us talking serenely while sipping drinks clearly purchased from the coffee shop — that it would be in our best interests to leave. I felt like I had done something wrong, and I was embarrassed to be the subject of such a scene. I understood, however, why Starbucks has created such a harsh policy –– the students behave with no regard for others.
I therefore urge my fellow students: please remain respectful of customers when congregating at Starbucks. Represent our school well. Don’t make the franchise owners regret their ongoing support of Grady.