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Starbucks Hawaii: Rotten food from the garbage and warm leftover coffee


Starbucks is not the only one to blame when human decency in America is under attack. Pearlridge Mall on the island of Oahu is the second largest shopping mall in the State of Hawaii.  It’s far enough from the resort hotels, so visitors taking a bus or renting a car to explore the rest of Oahu don’t really find a lot of desire to visit Pearlridge Mall. This business center remains a very popular place for locals to shop, eat and to get entertained.

Tourism stakeholders love for homeless people to remain on this part of the island. After all, hungry, dirty, and mentally-challenged people are bad for Waikiki, bad for white sandy beaches, and terrible for tourism business.

Starbucks is a popular place not only in Waikiki but also in Pearlridge.

This afternoon, a well-groomed and well-dressed lady is sitting on a chair outside and by the entrance of Pearlridge Starbucks asking everyone walking by for a dollar. She is very polite, humbled and obviously desperate.

Right in front of the Starbucks entrance is a not-so-well-dressed local homeless man searching through the garbage can Starbucks customers fill up. After checking 3 or 4 thrown-away cups, he gets lucky and finds some leftover coffee to drink and even a once delicious frappuccino drink with some whipped cream left. The coffee may be lukewarm, but no complaints here.

It’s 3 pm now, and the obviously hungry homeless man found a container with leftover breakfast someone threw away hours before. It appears to be hash browns and eggs. The man tried to eat it but had to spit it out. Apparently, it was already bad.

Welcome to the State of Hawaii, welcome to where America needs to be great again urgently. This is a part of the Aloha State today in the midst of a homeless emergency.

As long as homeless people stay away from Waikiki and the tourist beaches, the world is okay. It enables hotels and resorts to charge $500 – $1000 for a room night, pay minimum wages to staff, and later wire all the profits to their mainland-based headquarters.

Laws and city ordinances give the police power to make it illegal to remain on beaches at night, sleep in cars or on public land. Homeless are turned into vagabonds having to move their shopping cart belongings constantly. They have no friends, they feel no Aloha.

On the other hand, tourism business is good.

Unfortunately, minimum wages are not living wages and cannot buy a roof over someone’s head in Hawaii.

Hotels sometimes donate to the food bank or to other charity, but overall the attitude remains, “It’s not the problem of the Hawaii tourist industry to take care of the homeless and drug users.”

The state is wasting billions for a rail system that has been in the making for years. There is no money to fix the thousands of potholes everywhere on the island, and there certainly is no money to seriously address the homeless problem.

In 2015, homeless people had a solution: Get naked! 

WRONG, it’s everyone’s problem. It includes Starbucks, of course.
Tourism is everyone’s business in a place like Hawaii where this is the number one money earner and business. Where is the Aloha that Hawaii is so famous for?


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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.