The US company Starbucks is closing more than a dozen coffee shops in US inner cities out of concern for the safety of customers and employees. The affected corners of the inner cities are facing problems such as increasing drug use and the consequences of mental illness, according to a letter from the company management to the employees.
Mari Cosgrove, who works in one of the affected shops in Seattle, says on local television that she thinks the reasons are fabricated: "I was offended. The employees say we have no problems. And then they say, yes, you have problems and so we're closing."
Starbucks has denied the accusation that the company was withdrawing to avoid a rapidly growing number of works councils being set up. In Los Angeles, for example, there have been no attempts by employees to organize themselves in unions in any of the six stores that are to be closed.
Justification for store closures new
It's also not uncommon for the coffee chain to close stores. According to the annual report, over 420 shops disappeared last year and almost 450 were newly opened. With the current announcement, however, the justification for the growing crime rate is new, writes the "Washington Post".
In major US cities like New York, Detroit and Los Angeles, crime has increased again since the pandemic began. Even if the inner cities are a long way from the catastrophic conditions of the 1980s and 1990s, this is already a problem for shops and retailers.
Withdrawal "is a bad sign"
It was always assumed that the situation would improve when people went back to work, when the children went back to school, Christophe Herrmann, an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told USA Today. But that's not what you're currently experiencing.
And so it's not just the big chains that are withdrawing from parts of the city center. Retailers are also losing confidence, especially as they are still struggling with the economic consequences of the pandemic: "We have to do something now. The fact that Starbucks is withdrawing is a bad sign. Something has to be done," says Matthew Humphrey, who works in Seattle runs a barber shop. His shop has been broken into twice.