Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

Local Starbucks Remodels Seem Aimed at Efficiency More than Comfort. Why is that?

Some question whether the redesign is intended to exclude the homeless, at the expense of comfort?

 

August 18, 2019

Starbucks on Main Street is sometimes called a homeless shelter

Is Starbucks deliberately remodeling its local coffee bars to make them less friendly to homeless people? Some on social media think so. They have noticed that the doorways to Starbucks new doublewide store on 7th and Montana Avenue, features just one entrance.

What were they thinking? To better regulate who comes and goes, perhaps?

The Starbucks in Ocean Park at Main Street and Hill features plenty of wood seating. The plush chairs that you can sit at all day, have been replaced with wooden chairs. 20 minutes in them, and I need a trip to the Relax the Back store.

Take the store at 7th and Montana. The seats were never all that plush, but at least there were cushions. Now, it looks like an elementary school in the 1970's.

Starbucks has billed itself as the "Third Place" to be, when work and home won't suffice. We have seen this struggle before, over their surprisingly clean bathrooms. There were locks with codes, then no codes, to keep out and alternatively welcome the homeless.

In a society that refuses to exclude anyone, is there room for a business that doesn't let just anyone hang out? We shall see.

Starbucks on Montana Avenue heavily emphasizes wood.

As for me, I have noticed that Primo Passo, the fancy coffee store across Montana Ave from Starbucks, sells $6 cups of "handmade" coffee that does taste a bit better.

Perhaps coffee, like other pleasures, will soon divide itself into brews for the haves and the have nots. This is America, after all. And it's only coffee. People who can afford $3, $5 and $6 cups of coffee vote with their wallets for plush or wooden chairs.

Santa Monica has no lack of Starbucks stores (22 by my count), not to mention Coffee Bean & Tea Leafs, Peets and others.

As for the homeless, lately they have no lack of places to lounge. You see them camped under every overpass in LA. All the sidewalks of Santa Monica, and all the parks and libraries, are makeshift lounges and bedrooms. They will make do without $6 cups of coffee.

 

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