From The Morton Blog

Are You Being Watched on Camera in Public Bathrooms?

Truly scary discoveries in multiple Starbucks locations.

By , Columnist


Here's reason enough to scare you and your children from using public restrooms ever again: William Yockey, a man from Virginia, is suing Starbucks Coffee after his 5-year-old daughter found a hidden camera pointed at the toilet in the unisex restroom of a Washington, D.C. Starbucks.

Yockey and his daughter entered the cafe in order to use the restroom during a sightseeing trip last April. His daughter discovered a digital video camera hidden in the U-shaped drain pipe beneath the sink; it was pointing straight at the toilet and was recording.

Unfortunately, this is not the only hidden camera incident to plague Starbucks -- two other discoveries have been made in the past year. In May, a man was arrested for placing a camera in a California Starbucks and recording at least forty women. Another man was arrested in June for putting a camera in a Florida Starbucks. It is unclear whether or not the perpetrators were Starbucks employees... or simply random perverts.

Though a Starbucks spokesperson pledged their commitment to providing a safe environment for their customers, they assure the public that these are "rare" events -- given that this has only occurred in three out of approximately 17,000 U.S. Starbucks locations.

Somehow, I'm not reassured by that "statistic." It's inaccurate to claim that this only happened at three Starbucks locations. It would be much more accurate to state that this has only happened at three that they know of.

And if this is happening at Starbucks, where couldn't it be happening?! It's a sad day in America when all of us, particularly women, are too afraid to stop at a Starbucks, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell (take your pick of chain!) to use the restroom. And, of course, this doesn't necessarily have to apply to food chains -- it could be happening at any public restroom you venture into.

It makes me wonder: How many of us may have been taken advantage of and never knew? Looks like I'm going to be holding it from now on.

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Rachel East is a freelance writer specializing in relationships and relationship advice. In addition to her regular column on TMR, Rachel contributes relationship content to the Levo League, formerly known as Pretty Young Professional, a website for young, professional and ambitious women. Her writing…

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