Quick! Look at this picture and tell us what is missing from this overly popular hangout?
You know, besides the tweed, waxed facial hair, and the random beatnik guitarist picking a Bob Dylan classic sung completely out of tune.
Think about it: When was the last time you went into a Starbucks searching for a Grande, Quad, Nonfat, One-Pump, No-Whip, Mocha, and didn’t see one woman? Even the cat lady who sits in the corner nibbling on a scone?
Never. That’s your answer… never.
Except that this is a Starbucks in Saudi Arabia. And in that neck of the woods, men don’t look too kindly on a female barista serving them up skinny lattes. Or pumpkin bread. Or breathing the same air as they do.
Let’s start with when Starbucks opened up its location in Riyadh. The coffee siren is the face of Starbucks.
Her flowing locks of java love strike those brand affinity chords nationwide and across the pond, so why not in the Middle East?
Because boobies or some such.
The logo was considered a bit too randy for the locals, so Starbucks completely caved and came up with a falling star on the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
That story didn’t gain a lot of traction, but this more recent one is definitely approaching #PRFail territory.
Women have been officially “barred” from entering Starbucks. In fact, if you are female and thirsty for a cup of joe, “send in your driver.”
According to Emirates 24/7, the nation’s religious police made this decision following a routine inspection revealed that the coffee shop’s “gender wall” — an actual wooden barrier intended to keep men and women separate — had collapsed.
So, this happened:
Unreal. Starbucks in Saudi Arabia refused to serve women. Note on their door, plus official response from company. pic.twitter.com/d4tCSqqQOv
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) February 3, 2016
Side-by-side, we have the misogynistic, neanderthal statement followed by the other one from Saudi Arabian Starbucks. (Yes, Howard Schultz, we see you.)
The notice, in Arabic as well as English, reads:
“On order by the Commission, please no entry for ladies, only send your driver to order. Thank you.”
And now, for Starbucks official statement, in English — and from America:
Starbucks in Saudi Arabia adheres to the local customs by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people. All our stores provide equal amenities, service, menu, and seating to men, women and families. We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store, so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs.
In other words, if those dudes want to keep that up, it’s okay as long as they keep buying our coffee. Not good PR, people. Not good at all.