Homeless Kicked out of Illinois Starbucks
Thwarted in her attempt to enjoy a cup of a
coffee at her favorite spot, Louise Kilborn unwittingly found herself
at the center of a social debate that’s been brewing for years.
70-year-old Lisle woman was kicked out of the Starbucks in downtown
Glen Ellyn a few weeks ago. She claims it was because employees mistook
her as a homeless person, part of a purge the store waged to mollify
customers who complained that the coffee shop was overrun with the
Despite an apology from the
Seattle-based coffee giant, Kilborn says she isn’t looking for one. She
wants something done to address the circumstances that prompted her
removal in the first place.
here is not that I was asked to leave Starbucks,” Kilborn said. “It is
the treatment of the homeless who are singled out.”
This story reminds me of an excellent law review article by Jeremy Waldron from a few years ago about the particularly acute problem faced by homeless people within a society structured around private property protected by a robust right to exclude. In recent years, the problem has become even more oppressive as public property has become increasingly hostile to their presence, as evinced by the growing popularity of laws prohibiting loitering, sleeping in public, etc.. (Interestingly, a number of courts have held the enforcement of such laws unconstitutional because they result in cruel and unusual punishment since the homeless simply cannot avoid the practices from which they are prohibited in engaging if they are to remain living, physically embodied human beings.) The homeless need to be somewhere, in a very literal sense of that word, but they have no place to go.