On solutions – a debate.

Like most human beings, I like to complain every now and again. However, after a brief moment of anger and frustration, I embark on a journey to find a solution. By no means are all my ideas perfect, but I do try and think them through before implementing them.

In my professional life, I have found that businesses have many problems, but often times they either ignore them, or come up with solutions that are not really solutions. A business is mainly just that – a money-making-machine, where various humans are on different layers of importance.

Picture this:

You decide to work for Starbucks, because you love their overpriced coffee, and would like to wear a beanie at work. They hire you. You are happy as can be preparing a “Tall, Half-Caff, Soy Latte At 120 Degrees”, or a “Grande Chai Tea Latte, 3 Pump, Skim Milk, Lite Water, No Foam, Extra Hot”.

But then…

you realize it is your turn to clean the bathroom.

(I would like to digress and appreciate the people who clean public toilets. Thank you.)

OK, so back to imagining working at Starbucks.

You enter the bathroom, which is so generously available to (most) anybody, and you notice a syringe laying on the floor. You blink twice, and decide to pull out the trash from the can first. As you are doing that, something pricks your finger. You look down and see a drop of blood forming on your index finger. And then you see a needle sticking out of the trash bag. You sigh, but you decide to finish your job first, before getting a band-aid. So, you glove up, and you carefully pick up the syringe from the floor, but it slips out of your hand, and in your attempt to catch it before it pierces your bare feet (because maybe you are wearing flip flops?), you spread open your left hand. The syringe lands needle first in your palm, goes through the glove, and pierces your skin, causing you to bleed. What an unlucky day. Is it not?

Apparently, that happens quite often at Starbucks, because they came up with a solution – syringe disposal boxes.

If you followed my above “picture this” scenario, you know the reason for such a solution – employees accidentally sticking themselves with needles found in the bathroom where they work. To me, that is a very serious matter. You do not know where the syringes come from. As a precaution, you HAVE TO take. Not only do you have to worry about patching up the wound, but also about notifying proper channels, filling out incident reports, and going through a rough course of medication to prevent HIV. Such medicine chews you up and spits you out. And then, of course, you have to get tested. What if you were to find out that you were infected?

All of the above costs Starbucks a ton of money. I am not sure if anyone actually contracted the virus as a result, or not, but imagine the lawsuits against such a dangerous work-place.

Yes, you read that right. There are people coming in to Starbucks’ bathrooms to do drugs, leaving some of their equipment behind, and all we can come up with is “disposal boxes”. The Harm Reduction Coalition states: ““Acknowledging that drug use is inevitable and choosing to reduce the harms of drug use instead of disregarding them,” and “understanding that drug use is a complicated phenomenon and that some methods of drug use are safer than others.” Some will say that it is better to do something than nothing, and I will not protest. However, I feel like measures such as installation of disposal boxes just says: “Drugs are OK. Do them wherever and whenever. Just dispose of your paraphernalia.” Will Starbucks some up with a disposal box for people who overdose in their bathrooms?

Here is my problem with Starbucks – they are trying SO hard to be inclusive. Back in the day, if you did not buy something, you had no business “chilling” at a cafe. Why was that so bad? Back in April, there was a huge scene made because two black males were arrested. They came in and asked to use the bathroom, but since they did not buy anything, they were refused. So what did they do? They decided to sit down. They were asked to leave, but they would not. All of a sudden, it was racist to arrest these two. Because of that, Starbucks changed their policy and everyone is allowed to use their bathrooms (at least in some locations). Why is keeping people out such a bad thing? What if we did not allow random people off the street to shoot up at Starbucks? Maybe that would save some innocent employee’s life?!

I hope that their solution will lower the amount of needle related incidents at Starbucks. However, to me, it just screams: “Come do drugs here! It’s safe.” No, I do not visit Starbucks often, but all these examples of inclusion are keeping me away even more. I do not want to grab coffee in a place filled with gang members (true story), and infected needles.

When you encounter a problem, do you seek a solution, or do you wait for others to find it for you?

When coming up with a solution, what/ whom do you take into account?

Do you consider what effect the solution will have on other things related to the problem?

Stay golden,



Did you enjoy reading this post? Hit LIKE.
Have some thoughts on the topic? Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog? Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader? Try SUBSCRIBING.

86 thoughts on “On solutions – a debate.

Add yours

  1. This is ridiculous.
    Isn’t drugs illegal? So SB is promoting the use of drugs?!

    Second, I am against public toilets. I hate the thought that someone preparing my sandwich cleaned the toilet two minutes earlier.
    I only go to toilet in very fancy hotels.

    As for the questions you asked, If it’s my own problem, I fix it immediately.
    If it’s someone’s else’s problem affecting me, I would probably fix it too.
    But someone else’s problem not affecting me, is not for me to fix. Unless they ask me to help.

    If I would find a needle at my own work, I wouldn’t touch it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you see how insane this is. Many “solutions” in today’s world just seem like enabling to me. We’ve become too delicate, and too worried about every little feeling that we lost the ability to cut the things that harm us.

      Totally. I was shocked when I found out that restaurants and cafes don’t employ a separate cleaning crew. It is disgusting.

      I read that Starbucks allows their employees to say: “I’m not comfortable with x,y,z”, and the company respects it. Now, in reality, I do not know what that means. I think I’d be fired if I said anything like that about the job I was hired to do.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I did not make a connection, but good catch. I was at a bar yesterday and all of a sudden I smelled cigarette smoke, and EVERYONE turned around to see where it was coming from. The doors were open, so it was from someone walking by, but it was funny to see how everyone was so shook up about something that was normal not too many years ago.

      Liked by 2 people

                  1. Oh, gotcha. I rarely get angry to be honest. I might fly off the handle from time to time. But really once I do, it’s over with and out of my system.

                    I’m generally a balanced guy and don’t really experience that many highs or lows.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. It’s a work in progress everyday. I’m trying to remain deliberate and conscious.

                      I used to be a hot head and I’d like to blame it on all the stuff I experienced overseas. I was in combat from 2004-2005-2006-2006-2008-2009, caught a break in 2010, then it was back to the sand box in 2011-2012.

                      So, I’m still growing and learning. If I want people to talk with me then I need to learn to be a better communicator and that includes being approachable and down to earth.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Your deployments make me even more surprised that you are able to remain calm. Kudos to you for continuously working on yourself.

                      Was there an “Aha!” moment, that made you want to temper the hot head down?

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a modern problem, reaction instead of thinking things through. Reaction rather than actually looking into effective long term solutions are why the south is overrun with kudzu and the northern lakes with zebra mussels.
    All to often quick solutions end up causing more harm than good. Starbucks is an excellent example of react first, think later, if ever.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. I get that. All my rich friends would get a daily dose of Starbucks, which made me believe it’s just for the creme de la creme. So I finally went to “splurge”, and was not impressed. Wealthy will sometimes throw their money anywhere.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I think Starbucks is a bit of an ‘impression’ thing rather than ‘best coffee’
            People love Instagramming their silly drinks and Starbucks is laughing all the way to the bank. I think it also makes people feel ..special? That they’re ‘sophisticated’ enough to go through their ridiculous ordering process with ever more petty demands. These folks would probably spontaneously combust if they had to drink plebeian filter coffee!!

            Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m so disgusted with things lately and this is a great example! I agree that a business should not have to accommodate illegal drug users ~ that’s effing ridiculous. But it’s also true that you can’t tell by looking at someone what’s going on… a shivering person might just be cold, while a well-dressed glam person could be the drug user. You don’t know. Someone can look like a bum and not be one, but businesses used to have the right to refuse service to anyone. Now people will yell that their rights are being violated, but that’s Starbucks’ own fault (and places like them) for providing WiFi and allowing people to hang out for hours without buying anything. What did they expect?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right? Ridiculous is a perfect word to sum up the state of affairs.

      No, you don’t know who is who, but imposing a “you have to buy something” policy helps. I remember back in the day skipping school (to study!!!), and my friends and I would hang out at convenient place – every now and again (an hour or so) we had to BUY something in order to not be kicked out. Why was that so bad?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad someone else thought of this. I thought it was just me, and I almost felt bad for thinking so negatively about that specific population. Ain’t that funny?
      Another question – aside from needles, what else is going to land there?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Makes total sense to me. Here in the US, so many people buy coffee every day. I’d rather spend money on something else. How difficult is it to make your own? And if done well, it doesn’t take that much time, either.


  4. For other reasons, I have not been to a Starbucks in years. But on this note …. A few years ago, in a different fast-food restaurant, my brother and I both desperately needed to use the restroom. I went into the women’s and he to the men’s. The restroom only had 1 stall, with a closed door and someone else was using the facility at the time. So I was dancing that uncomfortable dance while waiting. When the door opened, I was shocked to find a man coming out of the women’s stall. But the real shocking part was the whole time, I heard what was going on, and the business he was taking care of was “shooting up”. He came out of the stall with a backpack and his belt was belted around his arm, making his veins more prominent and accepting of the needle. When he came out, he was very definitely out of it, and had no idea where he was or what was going on. This whole incident made me so sick to my stomach. If i hadn’t had to go the restroom so bad, i would have turned around and run. I thin our society is lost and has completely lost any sense of what’s right and what’s wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So what would be a better solution? I would start by training employees how to protect themselves and providing what they need to do so. Maybe what is needed is some type of vacuum with an orifice that can accommodate a syringe and has a sharps container as a receptacle. Also trash cans that could be wheeled to the dumpster and could be dumped automatically rather than having to pull the plastic bag out and carry it.. I am not an engineer so I can’t explain how to go about designing these so if you or any of your readers want to take the ball and run with it feel free. Perhaps there is money to be made. LOL.
    That being said I don’t have a problem with seeing sharps containers in public restrooms because (I may be naïve) but I assume they are there for diabetics who require insulin injections. Apparently this is not always the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Teaching employees safety is very noble. However, being on the same side of the fence (employees having problems and employers just coming up with the most ridiculous “solutions” that don’t fix anything), I don’t think the employees are very much appreciative. In the end, yes, they have to be careful and protect themselves, but by allowing this behavior, Starbucks is sending a “We care more about the customers than we care about you” message, which can be very demotivating. And these people might not even be paying customers!

      I do like your vacuum idea. I hereby announce a contest. I will advertise your product on my blog for … some time if you come up with a proper design, patent it, etc. Message me through the Contact page, y’all!

      Seeing the container is not the problem. I just sympathize with the employees, and disapprove of them being treated like they are less worthy.

      I might be wrong on this, but I don’t think a lot of diabetics shoot up in the bathroom of a cafe. Also, I think they have their own disposal methods.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, but the syringe could have been someone who needed an insulin shot, or an allergy shot too. I went into one restaurant and they had to tell people with syringes not to throw them in the trash, even though the syringe drop (clearly marked!) was right next to the trash!

    As for employees having to clean bathrooms, they have to be done like once every 2 hours in some places and once during each shift in others. Yes, they wear gloves. No, most don’t use a toothbrush on the under rim of the toilet. Yes, they have to change gloves after handling money which, by the way, is much dirtier than toilets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have personal experience, so, correct me if this isn’t right, but are there really that many diabetics that need to shoot up in a Starbucks bathroom? I’d imagine they have proper cases where they can put the syringe back and take it home and THEN dispose it? Funny you mention people throwing needles into the trash when there IS a container next to it. Another reader mentioned that he wondered if people would obey the disposal box. You just proved that the “solution” is not as foolproof as some may think it to be.

      I know there are procedures in place (i.e. signs reminding employees to wash hands), but we’ve seen too many articles about employees violating those. And yes, money is dirty for sure. Literally. But with the use of credit cards, hopefully that risk diminishes. Plus, I see it as MY responsibility to sanitize my hands after handling money.


      1. Yes, it is surprising how many put $7 charge on a credit card to buy fast food. How ridiculous it is to get charged interest on lunch. Use cash! But then the people that use the debit card say, “Why carry cash when you got this magic piece of plastic that works just as good as cash?” and we get into a financial debate. If you’d seen the bathrooms I’ve seen, employees don’t have to be told twice to wear gloves when cleaning the bathroom. The trash doesn’t require you put your hand into the receptacle and pull stuff out. In fact, if you do, you’re risking a lot…needles yes (not so much actually) but dirty diapers, full tissues, used feminine hygiene products, nah you don’t want to reach your hand in there. You take the whole bag out. The danger is in the needles poking out of the bag and accidentally sticking you before you can get it into the big dumpster.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have to admit I am a little embarrassed about that. Back in the day I used to watch people swipe their cards for a bottle of water. I thought it was silly. And now it happens to me. I just got annoyed with the change being too heavy and ringing in my pocket. Also, since I don’t get paid with cash (or a check), I would have to go to the bank to withdraw and then spend. Therefore, I don’t always have cash on me. I think I will try and change it back to how it was.
          But here’s the thing – if you use a debit card, you don’t pay interest. If you use a credit card and pay it off, you don’t pay interest, either. And on top of that, you get CASH BACK for using your credit card.


          1. Using your credit/debit card to make purchases adds a cost to the merchant. He raises the price to cover it, or he makes less money because the card issuer charges a processing fee.

            If you are paying off your credit card every month, you are in the minority. The average credit card debt is about $9000 per household. When you consider the rates for these cards are about 21-25%, that’s a staggering amount of interest.

            Those cash-back cards you must be careful with! Check how they charge their interest. Most of those do a 2-cycle billing. If you carry a balance, they charge you this month for last month’s balance and then they charge you for this month’s balance (which includes last month’s) so instead of the 16% they say they’re charging, it’s more like 32%. So yes, they can give you cash back, they made a ton on your money. They give you 1-2% and keep the 30%. There are actually 6 ways that credit cards charge interest. If you do carry a balance, take a look at the principle and interest you paid and do the math.

            Take the amount you pay and subtract it from the balance. Compare balances. The difference is the amount of interest you paid. Divide the amount of interest by the amount you owe and that’s your interest charge for this month. Now multiply that by 12.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Indeed. I don’t think many people know that. I remember I was so shocked when I found out that it is on the merchant to cover the fees, etc.

              Praise the lord that I don’t carry balances. I don’t buy things I cannot afford. Very interesting point you make there. I’m not surprised about all the surprise %s, Thanks for the tips.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. This is shocking for me. I haven’t heard anything like it in the Philippines, and I’ve been to many Starbucks branches here. Here people don’t even dare to enter Starbucks if they’re not buying anything. And people here don’t do drugs in public places because they can get killed anytime. Our president’s war on drugs is really effective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, it seems like the US is leading the pack in all the worst things recently…

      I was watching a show not too long ago, and basically there was a discussion between two people. They were talking about punishments. And the conclusion was that those are not strong enough nowadays. And you prove that very well by using the war on drugs/ the President example. We are TOO lenient.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m trying to decide what I think about this. I hear you, but I don’t think the answer is not to let people use their bathrooms unless they are customers. I for one am really grateful for all the nice cafes that when I ask – do you have a bathroom I can use – point me to one. I would be paying a fortune for drinks otherwise – which in some places I have to end up doing. Plus, anyone who wants to use starbucks for drug use will just buy a latte or something if they had to.


    1. I’d go ahead with the disposal boxes, but I would also revert back to bathrooms being for paid customers only. I would make it a policy that “hanging out” is not something that can be done, unless you are buying something.


        1. It does not solve it 100%. But then again, I’m not sure if such a solution exists. This one would make it more difficult, and I think today’s society is all about doing the easy thing, so maybe.


          1. I completely agree with the concept of toilets only for customers as it helps to reduce the scope of people who come just to get a shoot. However, even if disposal boxes protect the stuff, they invite drug users to do it more openly. I cannot imagine my child visiting such toilet and asking what are disposal boxes for. I cannot imagine bringing my baby to such a toilet to change a diaper…

            Liked by 1 person

Hmm? What did you say? I did not hear ya.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑

A Prolific Potpourri...

The Artistic Endeavors of Matt Snyder

Darlene Foster's Blog

dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

Emotion Doodles

Children's book illustrator & writer

%d bloggers like this: