Starbucks will close bathrooms to the public, now what?
Our dearest Starbucks, the bathroom hero who saved us from holding it in for way too long, our longest and loyal companion, and the one we relied on when NYC public restrooms failed us is now...closing its bathroom doors.
Starbucks has long been known for its liberal bathroom policy, which allowed customers and non-customers alike to use its facilities without making a purchase. However, Starbucks has now decided to close all public bathrooms in its New York City stores. The decision follows a similar move made by the company last year when it closed all public restrooms in its Seattle stores.
We can't say we didn't see this coming. Starbucks has been the place everyone goes to even before checking if a public restroom is nearby...internationally!
Starbucks has been literally carrying the burden of providing accessible bathrooms globally for too long now. With no impactful government investments or public bathroom initiatives, the costs of maintaining a bathroom on every other block, among other reasons, are not working for them.
So what do we do now? For starters, we buy an Iced Caramel Macchiato and enjoy it! Because the lack of bathrooms is not going to stop us from living our best lives...and then, well, then we have to consider if we really want to go back to doing the bathroom scavenger hunt as a de-facto routine.
This hunt is not going to be easy. As said before, the lack of public bathrooms in NYC is a big problem. The ones you find are probably going to be closed, dirty, or with too long of a waiting line.
You can try asking a store or restaurant to let you use their restroom but sometimes, even if you are begging on your knees, they'll require a purchase or say no.
We know this is what happens, and there are far too many stories out there of how bad it really gets for some people when they can't find a bathroom. You may have a disability, medical condition, a child, an elderly, or even just a small bladder. But for whatever reason, not finding a toilet is not a situation any of us should find ourselves in. After all, needing and going to a restroom is a natural necessity.
The Solution For Finding a Bathroom
This is why we came up with a solution. We did not want to be in this "can't find a bathroom" position ever again and we did not want anyone else to be in it either and that's how Lulu was born.
Lulu is an app for iOS or Android that helps you find bathrooms near you. Yep, you heard that right. In the palm of your hand, you can find a toilet near you in NYC in seconds.
The app shows you the locations of every bathroom closest to you that is open. It shows pictures and a brief description of the restroom to help you find what you are looking for.
Lulu also shows the important details of the bathroom like if it's wheelchair accessible, has a mirror, a baby tray, make up-friendly and the list goes on. Lulu has been actively cataloging public and private restrooms throughout the city.
We also know that there simply aren't enough public bathrooms, and often, they are too spread out. This is why we expanded to semi-private bathrooms.
The Lulu app partners with restaurants and lounges to expand your options. For as little as $0.99 you can use the bathroom of any of our partner's locations with no explanations needed, begging, or purchases of any kind.
Some of our partners offer discounts, so if you are interested in anything they sell, you can get it at a better price. But if not, simply come in, show your Lulu pass, do your business, and continue your day. Hassle-free.
We hope that with Lulu we can collectively stop waiting for Starbucks to change their minds, or for the slow wheels of government to start considering public toilets a necessity. We have a solution for all, let's use it.
Go ahead, and download Lulu. Available for Android and iOS.