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Last week I witnessed something that still bothers me a lot - an example of the stigma of homelessness. I'm so bothered by it that I need to share.

Last week I was at Starbucks. Right outside the Starbucks entrance there is a nice water fountain surrounded by couches and chairs. There is also a pizza place and an ice-cream shop. Customers who purchase at these places will lounge around the fountain with their coffee, ice-cream or pizza etc..

So my mother and I are sitting on a sofa at the fountain enjoying our coffee. A gentleman comes up on a bicycle and parks his bike. His bike is weighed down with his belongings and so it is apparent that he is probably homeless. His shirt was clean but he did have an appearance of being "down-and-out" and so his overall look was a little disheveled.

The man goes inside Starbucks and purchases a sandwich. He then gets from his bike a book and his reading glasses. He sits by the fountain enjoying his sandwich while he quietly reads his book.

Meanwhile, Starbucks is passing out free samples of a holiday coffee drink in little miniature paper cups. The first Starbucks woman comes to the fountain approaching customers and offering them the drink but she does not offer to him. THEN, 15 minutes later another Starbucks woman comes out with more samples. She walks over to the customers next to the man and offers them the drink, then she walks past him and offers the drink to the customers on the other side of him. She continues to offer everybody the drink EXCEPT HIM!!

He was a customer! He purchased a Starbucks sandwich! He was quietly reading a book. But because he looked a little disheveled and his bike confirmed his homelessness, they ignored him.

This happened a week ago and I'm still very angry. They should have offered him a sample. They should have treated him as an equal human being as everyone else there.

Needless to say, I will not be going back to that Starbucks again.

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I used to work at a 24 hr diner and the homeless would come in and try to warm up, the other waitresses would completely ignore them, or kick them out. It was sad there was nothing wrong with them they were getting coffee, they paid for the coffee. The one waitress though, Karen...I will never forget her (she passed away) she would take all the take backs and left over food and make take outs and hand them out to the homeless. The owner was even appauled by the behavior of these waitresses....now on x-mas, thanksgiving etc she has feasts for the homeless, she makes 50+ turkeys/hams etc and all this food for them and gives it for free and the waitresses serve them for free, no tips.

Its horrible how people judge, people dont understand how easy it is for us to be in the same situation, any of us could.

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In the past three years I've been on the street three times. I've been that guy. It blows. Of course, having facial hair no matter how neatly trimmed and not wearing the owning/middling class uniform (corporate-wear) usually earns me such skip-over treatment by corporados anyway. Reminds me of the many many unsuccessful job interviews for 'Bucks: "Tell us why you're so passionate about coffee..." Funny thing was some Hollywood producer thought my responses merited inclusion in more than a few scripts. Best damned pre-guild minimums I ever earned (got me into a rental the second time). But anyway, I just hate that kind of soft-anti-humanity.

ITA you should tell 'Bucks why you aren't coming back.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, just for another option.

I know when i'm studying and reading at starbucks the employees with samples will pass by me unless i look up at them and request a sample.

Sometimes i actually have to ask for one and I don't look homeless, mostly because i'm not.

Not that i don't believe that people in this society would behave that way - i know it happens and its out there and its sad to here about JackBQuick's experience, but is it possible that they just didn't want to disturb him?

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