As a one-time 600-cup an hour barista for Starbucks on Victoria Street, I can attest to the coffee chain's attractions when it comes to homeless people, if not in this country then at least abroad. The work experience also leaves me dumbfounded, frequently, when I have to wait an hour for a local barista, here in Portland, to perfect my decaf Americano. But that's another story. The point of this post is to draw your attention to an incident in Salem yesterday that has set the Starbucks Gossip boards ablaze. From the Statesman Journal:

Man arrested after incident at Starbucks

March 10, 2009

A 56-year-old man was arrested Monday afternoon on accusations of threatening a downtown Starbucks employee with a hammer, Salem Police said.

At about 3 p.m. a man reportedly walked into a Starbucks Coffee store on Court and Liberty streets and sat down without buying anything, Salem Police Lt. Dave Okada said. When asked to leave, the man threw ice on an employee.

The man then took out a hammer and slammed it against a table, damaging it, and yelled profanities at employees and customers before leaving, Okada said. Nobody was hurt.

Shortly afterward, police arrested Edward Roehling, who has no known address, at the Straight From New York Pizza restaurant. He was charged with trespassing, harassment and criminal mischief, all misdemeanors.

Starbucks baristas are on the site talking about all the times they've had to run off homeless folks from their stores, and I was curious as to whether Starbucks is more or less attractive to homeless people than other food and beverage businesses, here in Portland. With Multnomah County facing a $45m budget hole, and services being stretched, I'm curious to hear from people in the service industry about whether they have noticed an influx of "undesirables" coming in, lately. Or whether those people have had the good sense to keep themselves to themselves.

What do you do, when a homeless person comes into your business?