Another In Stall-ment of the first annual Bathroom Blogfest ..
It’s early morning, and I’m running late for a meeting with a Big Deal Designer downtown. I’ve had too much coffee, with predictable results.
The last thing I want to do on meeting this guy is to say, “Hi, how-are-ya, can I use your restroom?” It’s a mortifying way to begin a conversation.
But what to do? This is Manhattan. Public restrooms are in short supply. No pissoirs here, pal.
I bolt up the subway stairs, and there, on the corner, like a beacon in a storm, I see before me….Starbucks! Lord knows, I don’t need another Ethiopian Sidamo, but I sure could use a friendly facility. I duck in, do what I need to do, move on to the interview, cool as a cucumber.
Much has been written about Starbucks’ reinvention of the coffee shop, about its forays into the music and book businesses, about its strategy around the concept of the “third place.’ But why has the chain been given so little in the way of props for its civic mindedness on the restroom front? Sure, the price of entry is supposed to be at least a tall (that would be small) house blend. But in the city, where gas stations are as hard to find as cheap parking, it’s often the only option. And for that, we tip our hats.
By way of thanks, I made sure to stop in later for a grande skim extra foamy chai latte. Good thing there are Starbucks on every block on the route home.
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