Taking a break from other news of the day, we turn to Starbucks.

If you didn’t think that Starbucks going woke was bad enough, becoming a homeless shelter that sells overpriced coffee is now literally risking the lives of employees and customers.

Starbucks baristas poked by discarded needles

Image after image provided to KIRO 7 reveal what three baristas claim they dispose of nearly every day while on the job at Starbucks: hypodermic needles they say were left behind by drug users.

All three employees also produced hospital, pharmacy and insurance receipts that show they took anti-viral medications to protect them from AIDS and hepatitis — after all three were poked by needles while on the job.

“(Needle users) put them in the tampon disposal boxes in the bathrooms, and we have to dig them out,” one barista recently said.


Look, I’ve worked around a lot of dangerous things in my life, hydrofluoric acid, sulfur dioxide, various explosives.

If my boss asked me to stick my hand into a bin full of used tampons to fish out needed used by junkies to shoot up, my only response would be “fuck you, I’m out” and then walk out the door.

I can’t imagine asking a barista to do something like that.

Only one was willing to be interviewed on-camera, as long as her identity was hidden.

“I don’t want to lose my job for being the only one willing to say, ‘Someone listen to me. Do something about this. My friends are at risk,'” she said.

At the employees’ North Seattle-area Starbucks, co-workers document when needles are found, leave notes asking “How many more baristas have to get poked before we get disposals in bathrooms?”

I get a restaurant having a sharps disposal for diabetics to use (I have diabetics in my family so am sympathetic to this need).  But providing a place for junkies to shoot up?  No.

For a while, they even shared medication to avoid illness if pricked because in the past 12 months, three baristas have been, according to medical documents provided to KIRO 7.

That practice was abandoned as soon as the employees learned sharing medication could get their manager in trouble.

Great move Starbucks.  Not just are your employees getting needle sticks but you are not even giving them enough anti-HIV drugs to keep up with the occurrences.

However, the frustration remains.

“That’s three of us now, in one location,” the barista who spoke on camera said.

She and the two other baristas would like Starbucks to install locked needle disposal boxes in all restrooms, especially in cafes where drug use is more common.

How about giving the baristas batons to beat the junkies until they leave?

I can’t imagine there are many paying customers in a cafe in which the guy on the couch shoots up and then passes out and shits himself.

“I’m pretty sure it looks worse to have your baristas continuously exposed to HIV and hep C and hep B” than to have locked boxes for needle disposal in areas open to the public, the barista said.

How have they not sued the ever-loving-living-fuck out of corporate?

Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges confirmed to KIRO 7 that at least two Seattle-area baristas have been poked by hypodermic needles while on the job, but Borges claims that since early 2017, all employees have been retrained on what steps to take when hypodermic needles are found.

Burn the store to the ground.

He also disputed baristas’ claims they must “dig” needles out of trash bins. If an employee is “ever in a position where they don’t feel comfortable completing a task, they are empowered to remove themselves from the situation and alert a manager,” according to Borges, who would not agree to an on-camera interview.

Says the guy who works for the company that sided with the people yelling at one of their employees with a bullhorn inside.

With intravenous drug use on the rise, locked needle disposal boxes are widely sold online.

Many Seattle parks now have them to protect parkgoers.

Note to civilized people: don’t use the parks in Seattle.

However, L&I’s Church admits, even when the public has access to locked needle boxes inside bathrooms, employee safety is not guaranteed.

Just ask the people getting poked on public transportation in San Francisco.

Such boxes “deal with some of the issue, but I don’t think they deal with the entire issue,” Church told KIRO 7. “You’re still going to have a certain number of folks who are going to take that needle and throw it in the trash, so you can’t take a sharps box and assume the problem has been solved and not teach your employees to handle garbage safely,” Church said.

“How to empty the trash without getting poked by a heroin needle” shouldn’t be part of the job training for a barista making $15/hour.

According to Borges, all Starbucks cafes already have sharps boxes in employee-only areas so baristas can safely dispose of any needles using gloves and tongs.

So he admits to the needle fishing.

That development is welcome news to the baristas KIRO 7 interviewed, who all said the needle problem has grown since Starbucks opened its restrooms to everyone — even nonpaying customers — this past May.

“Because you don’t have to bother with purchasing anything, needles have definitely increased,” one said.

No shit.

In response, Borges told KIRO 7 that Starbucks’ Third Place Policy — which opened its restrooms to all — still has rules that must be followed.

The baristas, however, claim it’s difficult to enforce those rules behind a locked door.

So someone who is wiling to break the law and do heroin is willing to violate a corporate policy?  I’m shocked.

It’s not going to be long before the baristas ask you “So you want a [coffee beverage], would you like HIV or Hepatitis C with that?”

Ladies, don’t go to Starbucks.  Do not risk getting stabbed with a hypodermic needle when doing your lady business in a Starbucks restroom.

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By J. Kb

3 thoughts on “Ladies, avoid Starbucks”
  1. Even in Houston, we’re starting to see Starbucks locations built without interior spaces accessible by customers. The buildings have a drive through loop and a walk-up ordering window. There are a few chairs and tables with umbrellas on a concrete deck but it’s HOUSTON; it’s 100 degrees and 100% humidity most of the year. The design works. Folks buy their overpriced beverages and leave.

  2. This is an OSHA violation. Since the employees are required to dispose of needles as a part of their working duties, their employer is now required to train the workers in blood-borne pathogens. The employer MUST use engineering controls to prevent the workers from being exposed to contaminated sharps. Each Starbucks location must have an infection control plan and a trained infection control officer. There is an entire list of things Starbucks must do.

    First barista to get a lawyer will be able to retire.

    1. Yup, this case is begging for the hammer of OSHA. That is if OSHA actually gets around to adressing the situation. The employees and customers should also get the State health depts involved. But you know the Dems don’t care one bit. Just look at what they’ve turned their home cities into.

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