Thursday, June 1, 2023

Notes From Court Ordered Settlement Conference

Starbucks' Imaginative New Business Model

Yes, I answered the Magistrate Judge, I have accused Starbucks and their former employee Freddy Ambriz, in a time (May 2021 by) of large scale public agitation against Israel and Jews in the neighborhood of the Starbucks store I visited daily, of acting on the basis of anti-Semitism in their claiming to be instituting a new policy of a ninety minute stay limit, twice in two days running threatening to call to the police and have me thrown out if I didn't immediately leave.

Starbucks Corp. claims that it allows its local stores to individually and orally only (no written records) set policy without the knowledge and approval of the corporate leadership. This is why neither Starbucks Corporate office that responded to my immediate emails asking for clarification, nor the West L.A. regional manager, responsible for the Beverly Hills store where the events at issue took place, knew anything about this store policy made pursuant to a corporate policy to allow individually determined new store policy without written record or notification of regional and higher level corporate management.

However, neither the corporate office nor the West L.A. Regional manager were aware of this claimed permission for stores to separately institute novel policy, without record or report to higher level management. The corporate office did not say to me when I asked them if there was a stay limit policy that they couldn't possibly know for sure because stores set their own policy. Rather categorically both the corporate office contacted by email and the West L.A. Regional manager spoken with by telephone confirmed to me that there was no such policy.

This so-called single store "experimental" policy Starbucks Corp. now claims was in effect at that store for only two days, the two days that I was told there was a ninety minute stay limit. According to Starbucks Corp. this ending of the policy was in response to my complaint. In other words, Starbucks Corp claims they allow their lowest level employees to make unreported, unrecorded (verbal only) policy, and claims that an ordinary customer is allowed to invalidate that policy merely by making a complaint. Starbucks Corp. claims this two day policy was to allow more patrons to sit down in the face of limited seating mandated by COVID-19 restrictions, this claim made despite the fact that I was usually the only customer in the store when I visited. It seems that Starbucks' concern with limited seating vanished when I made a complaint -- or was the 90 minute rule in fact an all-purpose tool to hide illegal discrimination to be kept in reserve, ready-made to be brought out to be used against the next customer Starbucks didn't like?*

According to Starbucks, acting in the pursuit of implementing this oral, non-reported, free of management supervision policy, two people in two days were told to leave. The two persons were me, and a severely mentally ill woman living on the streets and sleeping on the porch of the nearby Good Shepherd Church, who, I know from her communication with me, had already for a long time previously been forbidden from staying even one minute inside the store. There therefore could not be implementing of a new policy with regard to her (and even if there were, clearly it would be motivated by discrimination against someone mentally ill.) Starbucks kept no record of customer entrance times, therefore unless customers arrived exactly at opening there was no way to know how long they had stayed; that Starbucks posted no notice that a new 90 minute stay rule was in effect indicates they had no real interest in limiting customers' stay.

I have spoken to three people who also were daily customers at this Beverly Hills Starbucks and who all usually stayed more than ninety minutes, all of whom said they were not told of a ninety minute rule. One of these people, a tenured professor at UCLA, has put in writing a statement that he was a daily visitor who stayed hours writing a book every day during the period in question and was never told of any 90 minutes stay limit. The selective enforcement of the rule provides evidence of discriminatory conduct; the large unprecedented agitations going on at this time and place show by context the specific form of discrimination involved: anti-Semitism.

P.S. And then what happened? The assigned magistrate judge dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that no juror could possibly think a case had been made.
* A customer of the nearby South Beverly Drive Starbucks has put on record he was told to leave, and others there with him not told who also stayed over 90 minutes, with no notice posted by Starbucks of a new policy and no history being kept of customer entrance times.