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.
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”.
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?
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