Starbucks Stores Close For Anti-Bias Training

Steve Miller
May 29, 2018 - 7:51 am

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Starbucks closed 8,000 stores Tuesday afternoon for anti-bias training, the result of a racially charged incident in Philadelphia last month.

At about 2:20 p.m., the staff at the Starbucks at Michigan and Lake came around to talk to customers.

"We're closing in 10 minutes."

Customers knew it would be closing and shared mixed feelings about the closures.

"I think it's a good thing.  I think the training they're doing is really important.  And the only way they can guarantee that everyone participates is by closing.  And two hours won't kill anyone,” one customer said.

Others questioned whether the training would do much good:

"I think it's necessary.  However, this form of training - it would do some good in some people but for the majority I don't believe it will do any good. Because it's a behavior that's learned. And it's a behavior that has to be changed from the heart."

In last month's incident, Philadelphia police arrested two black men who were waiting at a Starbucks without buying anything. The officers were called by an employee.

The backlash was immediate, and Starbucks apologized and set May 29 as a national day of training. The coffee-store chain also said people can hang out at their shops and use the restrooms -- no strings attached.