In Season 5 of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard lies to Sheldon about using the bathroom at their neighborhood Chevron. Noticing his empty-handed roommate, Sheldon gives him two dollars to walk back across the street and return to the gas station convenience store to buy beef jerky. "After you used the facilities at the gas station, did you make a purchase? It is customary when using the restroom at a retail establishment to make a small purchase," he says.
Customary, but not necessary. In Starbucks U.S., however, such customs have been eradicated. One no longers needs to purchase anything to secure a seat or use the restrooms at their coffee shops.
The policy comes at the heels of controversy—when staff called the cops on two African-American customers in April. Rashon Nelson asked the store manager if he could use the restroom but was denied because he was not a "paying customer." He and a friend Donte Robinson then sat at a table when the manager asked if they were ordering. Both declined as they were waiting for a third companion. Moments later, however, the police came in and cuffed them.
Immediately after their arrest, Starbucks adopted an open-bathroom policy, but just last week, the rules were relaxed further to extend to the entire store. In a statement, Starbucks said: "We are committed to creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome." The new rule states that anyone can sit in the store without purchasing anything but managers still have the right to make the call if they perceive someone as a safety threat. New guidelines regarding what constitutes danger were also issued.
The policy, however, is technically limited to company-owned Starbucks in the United States. The new policies are not enforced by the parent company elsewhere in the world, including the Philippines.
I mean, too many non-customers already use the facilities at commercial establishments here, so our local Starbucks stores are just being pragmatic. According to a Starbucks Philippines insider, they just want to balance that welcoming environment while still providing that Starbucks experience for the actual customers.
So if you're wondering whether you can mooch off your neighborhood Starbucks' airconditioning without ordering so much as a lollipop, the answer is: Grow up. Remember your manners. Starbucks is a business, so you and your friends should really buy a Frappuccino. Each.