Starbucks denies pregnant woman use of bathroom

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A Valley woman, who is more than eight months pregnant, had an urgent need for a bathroom but claims a Starbucks employee would not give her the code to open the door.

According to KTVK, Ilana Scheinker said she was denied access to the bathroom even after she said she would buy something.

“I don’t understand how they could have this very black and white policy,” said Scheinker.

Scheinker said she was with her husband on Tuesday near 7th Ave. and Camelback Rd. when she had to go to the bathroom.

She went in the nearby Starbucks where she said the barista refused to allow her to use the bathroom.

“He unapologetically said you have to buy something to use the bathroom and I said ‘I’m very pregnant. I really have to go now.’ and again he said ‘no’ and was completely unrelenting,” explained Scheinker.

That’s when Scheinker’s husband stepped in.

“The man said ‘you have to make a purchase’ so they went back and forth for a minute and my husband said ‘here’s my credit card charge me for anything. Give me the code.’ And the man still said ‘no’ and said ‘you can go to the Fry’s down the street if you want to go to the bathroom.'”

Scheinker said a customer in line offered to buy something so she could get the bathroom code but again the barista said “no.”

“Nothing was said that was inappropriate,” Scheinker said.

Eventually, Scheinker gave up and went to a nearby Subway restaurant.

When asked if Scheinker thought she was turned away for being pregnant she said, “I hope not. That would be very awful discrimination to be judged for being pregnant.”

Starbucks gave this statement on the incident:

“We failed to meet this customers’ expectations of us, and we have apologized and are working to make it right. This experience is unacceptable and not indicative of the welcoming and respectful service we strive to offer our customers in our stores.”

Source: KTVK

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  • Mason Sosa

    Obviously she didn’t have to go that bad if she was able to argue with the employee for awhile and still able to walk down to the Subway and still make it! ….if they gave her special treatment because she was pregnant, than every other person denied could complain that they were discriminated against for “not” being pregnant! …if that it their policy, the employee did right by sticking to it! They could have easily said they would buy something after and just walked out. I commend the employee for standing his ground and sticking to the rules. I hope their is no repercussions.

    • Erin Ann O'Brien

      The husband gave his credit card over and told them to charge him for anything just so they could get the bathroom code and they still refused. They were clearly paying for stuff upfront, according to policy, and were still denied. I am guessing something fishy was going on in the bathroom (2 employees hooking up perhaps?!?!) or the barista was on a power trip.

    • Todd Schisler

      Based on Starbucks reply, the actions taken by the barista (read: coffee ape) was not acceptable.
      And you, Mason, come off as a full-fledged doucherista.

    • Marianne

      Mason, you should re-read the article to get your facts straight, AND read the statement issued by Starbucks regarding their policies, AND learn how to use proper grammar/spelling (“THEIR IS” = there are). You’d make a more intelligent impression that way.

  • Joe

    WGN New would post something like that .I was locked up in jail for something i didn’t do and couldn’t get that post on the news..

  • Diane

    I think the barista in question should be made to drink 4 or 5 venti coffees and then denied bathroom privileges.
    Mason, your lack compassion is scary.

  • Pattie

    I am a former Starbucks barista, and no where in any of our training are we told that you must purchase anything to use the bathroom. That barista was being a jerk and will be reprimanded or fired for his actions. This is completely unacceptable no matter how “badly” the woman had to go.

  • 15$ an hour

    All these resturantuers and retailers complain complain about not being paid 15$ an hour.
    At least if I go to McD’s for a cup of coffee (and thats about it), for the most part 9 out of 10 of them I would visit . It would be reasonable to say you can easily access a bathroom unless your in a impoverished neighborhood where they are on lock down.

    Starbucks is way way over rated . Their coffee sub par at best, service worse if you dont kick them down the xtra $ in the “tips are appreciated jar” if you hand them a 5 for a 4 buck cup of coffee.

    Again a prime example of big corporate procedures and greed.

    A Proud Union Member here.
    Maybe if there where more people being paid a “living wage”
    People wouldnt be so pissed off all the time.

    • Common_sense

      When MickyD’s starts paying 15 dollars an hour is when folks will start ordering thru a kiosk and pay $4.50 for that McCafe. People have already accepted self- checkout in gas stations, grocery stores and hardware stores. Fast food is next.

  • Gary

    This is a common trend big business is calling it disposable customers if they loose some it is calculated in the business model so sad

  • Monique Thompson

    This is not typical behavior of Starbucks. This was the actions of a single person, not a franchise. I used to use our local Starbuck’s bathroom all of the time when I was pregnant and the staff was always very friendly and accommodating. I would be surprised if this employee still has a job.