- Closed Starbucks squatters, NYC. [Photo: @MicahMcCain]
- Closed Starbucks, NYC. [Photo: chadwil30/Instagram]
- Closed Starbucks, Harlem. [Photo: TobySalKC/Twitter]
- Closed Starbucks, McLean, VA. [Photo: shawnakel/Instagram]
- Closed Starbucks, Philadelphia. [Photo: @JamesHallinan/Twitter]
- Closed Starbucks, NYC. [Photo: mariamenounos78/Instagram]
- Closed Starbucks, NYC. [Photo: @Anon4justice/Twitter]
Time to panic: Hurricane Sandy has forced Starbucks to close many of its East Coast locations, denying the good people of the Eastern seaboard their essential caffeine and free Wi-Fi fix. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday afternoon that Starbucks closed all of its New York City and Long Island locations with the shutdown of the local public transportation system. Now the panic is spreading across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with stores in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and more all shutting down.
New York: All stores are closed, though one open Starbucks has been located in the Marriott Marquis on West 45th Street.
Boston: Boston outposts were mostly up and running Monday morning, but began shutting down around noon with the impending closure of the city's transit system at 2 p.m. But stores that were opening this morning at least had a sense of humor, per Twitter's David Chau:
Philadelphia: A number of stores in Philly are not answering their phones, while David Hallinin provides photographic evidence on Twitter of a closed location in Center City.
Baltimore: Stores are set to close at 2 p.m., according to an employee who answered at the North Charles Street location.
Washington, DC: Several stores in Washington, DC, did not answer their phones and an employee at one open location in Dupont Circle tells Eater that some outposts are already closed and this particular location had plans to close at 2 p.m. Another open location in downtown DC was also identified by Washington Post reporter J. Freedom du Lac:
So how are the caffeine addicts of the East Coast dealing with this whole thing? Panic, duh, crying out on Twitter: "SANDY, PLEASE DON'T DESTROY STARBUCKS." Some Starbucks locations are apparently offering a "Hurricane Supply Kit" that is actually just their instant coffee packets. Desperate laptop squatters are now squatting outside of Starbucks to use the still-connected WiFi at one shuttered New York City Starbucks location. Even the official Twitter hurricane parody account acknowledges the Starbucks panic:
Meanwhile, several employees and their family members are lashing out at Starbucks on Facebook for not closing all the stores early enough. One man called out as "two faced" a Starbucks Facebook post wishing everyone to remain safe, explaining that his wife and sister-in-law were still at work in their Glen Burnie, MD stores — though apparently the manager had a conference call about possibly closing. Starbucks hasn't returned request for comment, but stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE 2:15 EST: A spokesperson for Starbucks tells Eater that as of 4 p.m. "We're going to have nearly 1,000 stores that will be closed and we're going to continue to evaluate that store closure on a case-by-case basis. And the store closures will be in neighborhoods between Virginia and Maine." The company will continue to monitor the situation, so it seems more stores could close after 4 p.m. These closures are only applicable for Monday, as Starbucks promises additional updates tomorrow. On how these shutter decisions are being made, the spokesperson explains: "The number one thing we evaluate is our employee and customer safety. That's our first criteria."