Panic Erupts When Starbucks Closes, Even During a Hurricane
Weather.com wanted New Yorkers to know about three closures as they prepped for the Hurricane Sandy: subways, schools and Starbucks.
Yes, Starbucks. The coffee chain was among the three urgent bullet points listed on the site on Oct. 28 as a top notification. The site has been since updated.
Bad news come in threes, and this sealed it: Starbucks has became tantamount to a public utility. Maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising, given that there are 263 Starbucks shops in New York City, more than three times the number of New York public libraries (87). And given that the whole of New York has only 477 public restrooms, according to this crowdsourced map, it’s a fair assumption that Starbucks has more toilets than does NYC.
Indeed, people seem to feel a strong sense of entitlement when it comes to using Starbucks as library, toilet, storm shelter.
Evidence of people’s unnatural demands of Starbucks surfaced previously, amid reports that New Yorkers were miffed at the chain, following the decision of a few of the busier New York locations to close toilets to non-employees in 2011.
An unnamed “source familiar with the company’s New York plans” told the New York Post, “Starbucks cannot be the public bathroom in the city anymore.” New Yorkers also grumbled after anecdotal claims that some Manhattan stores were making it harder to access their electrical outlets.
It’s a Herculean expectation to demand of a coffeeshop chain. Starbucks could not be reached for comment (or sympathy).
What makes this dependence even stranger is that Starbucks is not the predominant coffee chain in New York in terms of sheer numbers. As of this Nov. 1 Crain’s New York report, there are 466 Dunkin’ Donuts — that’s 77% more Dunkin’ Donuts than Starbucks. (Dunkin Donuts, based in Canton, Massachusetts — part of Sandy’s scope — wasn’t answering phones at headquarters, either.) Dunkin’ Donuts followed suit with many (but not all) New York branches closing, but no one seemed to care.
Image courtesy of Flickr, bfishadow
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This article originally published at Quartz