PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Starbucks closed more than 8,000 stores nationwide on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training, the next of many steps the company is taking to try to restore its tarnished image as a hangout where all are welcome.
Our cameras captured Starbucks employees from stores around the city as they left the Loews Hotel after 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. It's where they attended racial bias training while the company closed stores for the day. Many are still disgusted by the incident that led to the training.
"I feel like it pretty much wasn't needed. You're teaching something that they should grow up knowing about already," said Erica Elrod. She remembers seeing the cellphone video of two black men being arrested at the 18th and Spruce store after a manager called the police. Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were just sitting inside waiting on a business partner. Starbucks later apologized saying this shouldn't have happened and that the worker no longer worked at the store.
"People in this day and time should have a little bit more common sense, a little bit more respect and a little bit more courtesy for other people," said Elrod.
On Tuesday, stores had signs posted on the door telling customers “We’ll see you tomorrow" and that "The team is reconnecting with its mission to make everyone feel that they belong.”
"I think that the opening up the subject and talking about things is a great idea," said Bobbi Moskow.
A spokesperson for Starbucks would only tell us that employees were in various locations and were paid for their time while training.
"It should be better training on how to handle those situations if somebody is sitting there and is just not purchasing anything," said Quaran Smith.
Executive Chairman Howard Schultz posted an open letter on the company's website thanking customers for their patience and support. It also details how he says they’re getting back to what he envisioned Starbucks to be 40 years ago. Read the open letter here.