The mega coffee brand recently changed its policies so that almost anyone can hang out in the store or use its bathroom without buying a thing. The change, along with anti-bias training for all employees this week, was in response to the arrest of two black men waiting for a friend inside a Philadelphia Starbucks.
I am a 6-foot-3, 245-pound black man in my early 30s -- not unlike Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two 23-year-olds arrested and released in April in an incident that led to a firestorm of controversy.
So, a day after more than 8,000 Starbucks locations across the country closed for training, I went to the location in Woodbridge to conduct an experiment: Would they really let me walk in, use their bathrooms and sit at their tables free of charge?
I would keep to myself and not do anything against store policy, which bans things like taking a nap. I was going to act like the two gentlemen did that day and see what happened.