Just how bad are America's cities doing under the watch of their Democrat leaders? Even ultra-woke Starbucks is pulling up stakes in Democrat-run cities where drug use, homelessness, and crime have made staying in business untenable.
"After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate, to open new locations with safer conditions," Starbucks announced this week. That is, lawlessness has made it impossible to continue operating as a coffee shop rather than a mix of homeless shelter and drug injection site.
Unsurprisingly, the coming store closures are all in hellish cities that Democrats pretend are leftist utopias: Los Angeles, Washington, Portland, Seattle, and Philadelphia. The locations being closed, according to Business Insider, include:
- Santa Monica & Westmount, West Hollywood, California
- Hollywood & Western, Los Angeles, California
- 1st & Los Angeles (Doubletree), Los Angeles, California
- Hollywood & Vine, Hollywood, California
- Ocean Front Walk & Moss, Santa Monica, California
- 2nd & San Pedro, Los Angeles, California
- 10th & Chestnut, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 4th & Morrison, Portland, Oregon
- Gateway, Portland, Oregon
- 23rd & Jackson, Seattle, Washington
- Roosevelt Square, Seattle, Washington
- E. Olive Way, Seattle, Washington
- 505 Union Stn, Seattle, Washington
- Westlake Center, Seattle, Washington
- Hwy 99 & Airport Rd, Everett, Washington
- Union Station Train Concourse, Washington, DC
Perhaps most notably, the Union Station location in the nation's capital is a main commuter hub for congressional staffers and just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building. But that location, like the others, has seen full-blown homeless encampments, rampant drug use in broad daylight, and frequent harassment of travelers and employees.
It's a telling sign that even Starbucks has found such conditions in the nation's capital and elsewhere inhospitable to its business, given they have pursued an image as a woke corporation that does little if anything to push back against the Democrat policies that have now caused them to close 16 locations.
Of course, Starbucks can afford to shutter more than one dozen stores and expend the capital necessary to open new ones, but they're a massive corporation. Countless small businesses have been forced out of business as crime makes running a profitable shop more and more difficult.
In addition to bungling its response to the marxist Black Lives Matter movement, Starbucks enacted an "open bathrooms policy" in 2018 that stated anyone in their stores — whether they purchase anything or not — is a customer who is welcome to avail themselves of facilities and stay as long as they please. Presciently, our friend Jazz Shaw wrote about the predictable end to Starbuck's woke policy in HotAir when the new policy was announced:
This “woke” policy is an invitation to abuse, and history has shown us that when you roll out such an invitation, there will be someone coming along to take advantage of it soon enough. This is particularly true in larger cities where business owners regularly have to deal with individuals looking for a place to pass the time, either to escape the heat or the cold or to find a free bathroom. If the word gets out that Starbucks can’t stop anyone from hanging out there, some of the stores are going to turn into impromptu homeless shelters and that’s not going to do much for the store’s prospects in terms of paying customers.
Starbucks may believe that they’re going to get the SJW crowd off their backs with this policy change. And for a short time they might. But I would wager that many of their outlets will come to regret the new policy in short order.
Now, Starbucks' policy of supposed "tolerance" has paired with the lawlessness allowed by Democrat mayors and prosecutors cities to force the closure of 16 stores — costing jobs in the communities where opportunities continue to disappear due to spiking crime.