Starbucks customers skeptical racial bias training will result in real change

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Starbucks is following through on its promise to close more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the U.S. for racial bias and diversity training on Tuesday afternoon.

A sign posted at a San Francisco store said the store would close at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and reopen at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

RELATED: Which Starbucks locations are closed for bias training?

The half-day closure was announced after video of police arresting two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks in April, caused outrage. The staff at the Philadelphia Starbucks called 911 after the men, who didn't buy anything, asked to use the restroom while they waited for a friend.

Those two men told ABC's Robin Roberts they want to see long-term change. "It's not just a black people thing. This is a people thing. And that's exactly what we want to see out of this and that's true change," said Rashon Nelson.

"How far can they change that after one afternoon of training," asked Marzia George, who is visiting San Francisco from London and says news about the Philly arrests made its way across the pond. "I guess it's a good thing that they're trying to change people's attitudes, but then how far can you change the attitudes of every single person."

"The respect should always be there," said Michelle Nunez-Armenta who is a student at Treasure Island Job Corps Center where she took implicit bias training.

RELATED: Starbucks apologizes after video of Philly arrest goes viral

She hopes the same valuable lessons will be passed onto Starbucks employees. "Even though that you have a preference or a bias towards something within your own political views or any type of views, you should keep that really out of the workforce."

Because of the incident in Philadelphia, Starbucks now says anyone can use its spaces without making a purchase, including their restrooms. Starbucks posted a preview of the May 29th curriculum and a statement on their website.

For more information on the Starbucks bias training and the controversy that led to it, visit this page.
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