t’s not uncommon for restaurants and gas stations to ask customers to make a purchase before using the bathroom. But Ilana Scheinker of north Phoenix, more than eight months pregnant, claims she was denied multiple times at a local Starbucks Tuesday morning, even after she said she would buy something.
“The urge hit me as it does many women who have two weeks to go,” she said.
Scheinker had to use the restroom, so she went inside the Starbucks at 7th Avenue and Camelback Road. She asked the barista working the counter for the code required to access the restroom, but she says he refused and said Scheinker needed to buy something.
“I said, ‘I’m pregnant, I really have to use the bathroom now,’ ” Scheinker told AZCentral.com.
Scheinker says the barista still said no, so she left and told her husband, who was waiting outside.
“My husband went up and again reiterated that, ‘My wife is very pregnant,’ ” Scheinker said. “Again he said no. Went back and forth. The man was unrelenting. My husband gave him his credit card and said, ‘Charge me for anything.’ The man refused. A woman standing behind said, ‘I’m about to make a purchase, give me the code and I’ll give it to her.’ ”
According to Scheinker, the Starbucks worker still said no and told them to leave. “Said that we should leave, go to the Fry’s grocery store and use their bathroom. If we don’t leave, he’s calling the police.”
We contacted the coffee giant and got this response:
“We failed to meet this customer’s 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.”
Scheinker and her husband walked out and she used the bathroom at a nearby Subway restaurant.
The Starbucks manager, who did not see the incident, called Scheinker today.
“She was shocked,” Scheinker said. “Said that she would communicate that this is completely unacceptable to her employee.”
Now Scheinker is boycotting Starbucks and speaking out to mothers’ groups, hoping to prevent this from happening again.
“It does affect my outlook of them as a whole, and I don’t see myself going back in,” she said.