Back in October my friend @trufflepotamus was refused entry to a disabled toilet in a Norwich Starbucks as she wasn't in a wheelchair. As soon as Starbucks were tweeted this information they responsed promptly with an apology, investigation and staff retraining. We were impressed and yesterday Truffle and I had a tweet up in Liverpool One to enjoy the free coffee Starbucks gave us as an apology.
To be fair, I did enjoy my coffee, well caramel hot chocolate actually. It was delicious. But I made the mistake of going to the toilet before I'd finished my drink, after which it just didn't taste so good. The toilet was so disgusting, I felt sick. Having worked in restaurants I know only too well that the state of the toilets is a good general indicator of the condition of the food preparing facilities and hand hygeine of the staff. This toilet was so smelly and disgusting that I had to have a bath when I got home as I still felt contaminated. There were urine soaked tissues behind the cistern, urine splashed across the seat and thick dust coating the grab rails indicating a long term lack of cleaning rather than the more forgivable overwhelmed by the Christmas rush problem.
|Dark Blue toilet seat with visible urine splashes|
|Toilet with seat lifted and urine soaked toilet paper visible behind it|
|Sink with surrounding grab rails in contrasting dark blue and mirror above, too high to be visible from a wheelchair|
|Dark blue lower down grab rail directly adjacent to toilet, coated with a thick layer of dust|
|Full length mirror. Nappy bin obstructing access to sanitary dispoal bin from toilet area|
|Help cord adjacent to soiled toilet area, cord too short to be reached from floor|
The big question is not will Starbucks apologise for this smelly, sorrowful disabled toilet, but will they lead the way in improving their staff training and accessible facilities nationwide? I'm willing to drink alot of coffee to find out...
The managing director of Starbucks UK can be contacted via twitter
Update 03/01/2011 The following email was received from Starbucks on 31/12/2010
Our ref: 334909 31 December 2010 Dear BendyGirl
I have recently read your blog following your visit to the Liverpool One - Paradise Street Store and I am very sorry, and disappointed to hear about the appearance of the toilets. We endeavour to provide a clean and comfortable environment that is accessible to all customers, in which you can relax and enjoy your favourite beverage, so we appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention. I have shared your feedback with my district management team for their attention and investigation, to ensure no such situation arises in the future. I have also instructed immediate deep cleaning in the store today to ensure the issues you have raised are addressed. I am sorry that you have had to bring this issue to our attention and I can assure you that your thoughts will be acted upon. I understand we have already tried to restore your faith in Starbucks once, however I hope we can continue to welcome you into our stores. So that we can do this I would like to send you a Starbucks Card for you to continue to use in Starbucks. We have your address on file already please let me now if this is the right address to send it to Once again, thank you very much for sharing your feedback with us and for giving us the opportunity to improve our operations. Yours sincerely Jane Coleman Regional Director of Operations