Starbucks is supporting the deaf and hard of hearing community in a huge way. The company confirmed on Thursday that they will be converting a location in Washington D.C. into a “Signing Store.” USA Today reported that the store will be hiring 20 to 25 people who know American Sign Language for this location.
— Starbucks News (@Starbucksnews) July 19, 2018
While this is not their first ASL store, it is the first in the U.S. The original is located in Malaysia and opened in 2016.
The reactions to the news have been seen as positive and that Starbucks is taking an important step into making their stores inclusive for everyone.
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) July 19, 2018
First U.S. Starbucks where all workers speak ASL set to open near @gallaudetu in October. It’ll have a display to walk customers through their orders, in place of baristas calling out a name
— Andrew Heining (@andrewjh) July 19, 2018
But every announcement will bring someone with a different opinion.
This is a horrible idea! The #ADA28 is based on community integration! Why only 1 store! #Deaf people live and work all over #DC! With the resources @Starbucks has this should be done in at least 1 store in each Ward! PLEASE! DO BETTER!
— Dara Baldwin (@NJDC07) July 19, 2018
Wouldn’t it be better to at least have one or two ASL fluent Starbucks employees available at all times at as many locations as possible, rather than fill a full store them all into only a few locations?
— That Fluffy Snow Mew 🐾 (@landandskygirl) July 20, 2018
A project such as this is sure to take some time. This is not the first ASL store that Starbucks has opened, it just happens to be the first in the United States. In 2015, a video was captured in the drive-thru of a Florida Starbucks of a woman communicating through sign language with an employee.
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Posted by Rebecca King on Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Starbucks has shown how their business is inclusive and may only grow in the future, possibly expanding on the idea of “signing stores.”
The development of this new inclusive store is coming after Starbucks was criticized for discrimination when two African-American males were arrested while waiting for another member of their party to arrive. The issue was settled and several weeks later, Starbucks closed their stores for racial-bias training.
This is also just one of many announcements Starbucks has made over the past few months. Starbucks also announced last week that they would be fazing out plastic straws in their stores by 2020. They will be replaced with a strawless lid and will also have a straw alternative made from recyclable materials. This has already gone into effect in some areas of the United States.
— Starbucks News (@Starbucksnews) July 9, 2018
The new ASL store is scheduled to open in October near Gallaudet University.
Featured image: jack johnson:better together by visualpanic (CC BY)