By the time the reporter contacted the Starbucks, the person who answered had no knowledge of the sign.
  • By the time the reporter contacted the Starbucks, the person who answered had no knowledge of the sign.
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The Starbucks on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach recently posted a sign that directed non-customers to use restrooms at nearby businesses.

When the sign was posted on the restroom door earlier this week, someone asked them to remove it; after they refused, someone took it down for them.

“I didn’t even know about it,” Sal, the owner of OB Kabob, told me. “A customer told me about it and I said, ‘No, it’s not okay.’ I think he went and took it down, but that was not okay for them to post it.”

Tyler, a manager at Pizza Port was totally surprised.

“I was not aware that they did that,” he said. “Especially in this area, you know, we’re not okay with this. But with that said, I haven’t noticed an influx of people coming in to use our restroom; but then again, we get really busy, but I will go talk to them today and see what’s up.”

When I called Starbucks, Kelly, the employee who answered the phone, said they don’t have any such sign. “It says, ‘For customers only.’” I explained that it has since been taken down and she said she didn’t know anything about it. The manager was unavailable for comment, as was anyone from Starbucks' corporate office.

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Visduh Feb. 18, 2017 @ 1:36 p.m.

This is really funny, and it is no coincidence that it happened in OB, with all of its street denizens and their often-obnoxious behavior. Who put up the sign? I'd guess it was the Starbucks employee who has to clean those facilities, and clean up after some users who can be clueless about basic sanitation.

But to identify other local businesses as the places to go was really over the top. This could get a small war going between local retailers.


AlexClarke Feb. 19, 2017 @ 6:56 a.m.

My first job was working at a gas station and my first duty was to clean the restrooms. It is not an easy job and it costs the employer to furnish water, towels, soap and to keep the restrooms clean. It is not unreasonable to discourage non-customers use of the restrooms. If people are so concerned about the street people in OB not being able to use restrooms in businesses then maybe they would volunteer to clean up after the street trash.


Visduh Feb. 19, 2017 @ 9:14 a.m.

I too worked in a gas station and had to clean the restrooms. While it usually wasn't a really nasty task, there were a few occasions . . . That's why I concluded that this was the work of the employee lowest on the totem pole.


Ponzi Feb. 18, 2017 @ 4:46 p.m.

It could be a lawsuit against the coffee giant. In the absence of an agreement, directing people to a nearby business specifically to use their restroom facilities is harassment.


Visduh Feb. 18, 2017 @ 5:08 p.m.

That sign looks as if it was produced by Starbucks to steer people to "public" restrooms. That would be a valid use of the sign, if it told folks where to go to the nearest true public facilities. Not knowing much of the layout of OB, I can't say where that would be, whether it is near or far, and whether anyone would be willing to use them. I agree with you that it was improper and could be seen as a tort. But prior to filing a lawsuit, the appropriate action would be a documented demand that it be removed immediately. I really doubt that the manager of the Starbucks was behind that use of the sign, and if he/she was, would persist with it once challenged. As it is, the question now is moot, since the sign is gone, and it is not clear just who removed it.


Ponzi Feb. 18, 2017 @ 5:45 p.m.

The sign in the photo says "Public restrooms are available at: OB Kabob | Pizza Port" I would assume they were steering people to those businesses facilities. The only public restrooms (that I know of) in OB are restrooms on the pier and behind the lifeguard station.


iblonginob Feb. 18, 2017 @ 4:59 p.m.

Try examining their very liberal refill policy including refilling of random cardboard cups found in the trash.

They are a prime reason why that corner is a sh*t show with transients


dwbat Feb. 18, 2017 @ 7:23 p.m.

Friends don't let friends patronize Starbucks. There are so many better places for coffee.


Visduh Feb. 18, 2017 @ 8:39 p.m.

There are so many places for better coffee than Charbucks.


swell Feb. 19, 2017 @ 11:01 a.m.

Lots of money pours into OB. Businesses are fat with paying customers and rentals are expensive but always full. Some of that money should be reinvested in the community to provide a clean beach, clean streets and well maintained public toilets.


artandtulips Feb. 20, 2017 @ 12:56 p.m.

Ridiculous comments re Starbucks. I doubt very much that Starbucks posted that sign, but I'm sure they're tired, as are customers, of having their bathrooms used by those on the street. This is NOT going to result in a lawsuit against Starbucks. My guess is that somebody on the street or a social services person posted the sign. It wasn't a good idea, either way, but Starbucks is not responsible for providing bathrooms for everybody on the streets of Ocean Beach. OB leaders should be responsible for providing some public toilets along with working to clean up some of what happens on Newport Avenue. Laissez-faire is great, but only goes so far. Even in sunny San Diego.


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