Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Starbucks Opens its Bathrooms

The policy has officially changed
So there might be a silver lining to that racist scene involving two Black men in a Philadelphia franchise who tried to use the bathroom while waiting for a business colleague and wound up in police custody. Starbucks has now announced that, unlike other capitalist enterprises, it will officially make their bathrooms available to anyone who enters their premises, whether or not they purchase anything at all. 

It's about time as far as I'm concerned. Why should libraries and hospitals be the only institutions that cater to the public biological needs? Those of us in the tiny bladder brigade salute them.

Restroom philosophy varies depending on the country and culture. Public markets and spaces in Mexico usually have bathrooms available for a small fee. They are run as a business enterprise, kept clean and waiting for customers. It can be a drag to always have change available but it's well worth it for the easy access.

However, sometimes paying to pee is a slap in the whatever. In Peru, at Machu Picchu you have to pay an arm and a leg for admission and then pay extra to use the pisser. This is an unfair tax on women and old people. If you spend, say six hours, there (and it's a big place where it's easy to spend the day) you might, if you're like me, have to go three times. In that case you should be able to purchase an express pass or something. But if you're like my partner Deborah, who is a woman with a super-sized bladder, you may only have to go once. It's simply unfair.

Then, there's Paris. Well, it's different everywhere but in Paris most cafe/restaurant owners were not thrilled if I snuck in to find a toilette. I had to be single focused and pretend I didn't understand them when they used that francophone logic in a futile attempt to deter me. It's not that I'm cheap, well maybe a little, but ordering another drink of something because you have to pee too often is counterproductive, to say the least.

Ah, but Madrid, my beloved city. Any haven for drinkers of wine and beer will inevitably be heaven for perpetual seekers of the aseos, their name for the old servicios where you aseo belongs.  Spanish bathrooms are plentiful and easy to find. They have a lot of small rooms with full walls for privacy. In fact, most espanoles find the type of public restrooms in the US, that consist of a row of stalls, disgusting and invasive, a kind of TMI of bodily functions. In Spain, even in hotel lobbies, people will kindly point you to your destination, even if you are not a guest.

So Starbucks is making its mark on US restroom history finally providing all Americans that proverbial pot to piss in. We have lost so much of late, it's the least they can do.