The first American sign language Starbucks in the US officially opened this week in the nation's capital, Washington DC.
When going about our day, it's highly likely that we take little things for granted. Stuff we do so often that we don't even give it a second thought, or think about how hard it would be for certain people trying to perform the same tasks. Driving our cars, hopping on a bus, or ordering a coffee.
Some of you might currently be questioning what could possibly be so hard about ordering a coffee. Well, what if you're in a country where you don't speak the language of those taking the coffee orders? Even worse, what if you can't even hear the baristas at all? That's an issue higher-ups at Starbucks have clearly been thinking about judging by the opening of their latest store in the US.
The newest Starbucks in Washington DC is the company's first 'signing store' in the US, as reported by USA Today. It opened on October 23th and has a number of different aspects that make it accessible and easy to use for deaf customers. It is even staffed with 25 people from across the US who can speak American Sign Language. Those who can sign ASL have pins on their aprons informing customers of such.
Speaking of the aprons, as you can see in the photo above, not only do they say Starbucks in English, but they also say it in ASL. You'll find exactly the same on the umbrellas outside of the store. ASL-signing staff isn't the only thing that will make deaf customers feel comfortable. There are also tablets at the till points which allow customers and staff to type to each other.
Starbucks has come under fire a lot in 2018 for not being an inclusive company, so this is a big step toward a more inclusive brand. The placement of its first US signing store is no accident either. Gallaudet University is nearby, the world's only liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing, according to CNN. There are already students from the university working in the store and many of its customers will probably be students from Gallaudet.