I guess I must lead a sheltered life. Or maybe I’ve been going to the wrong coffee shops. All I know is that when I heard that bikini baristas in Everett, Washington — a suburb of Seattle — were suing the city for violation of their right to free expression, I wanted to know more. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a bikini barista.
For those of you who are also new to this novel concept, the idea is this. Female employees at a variety of Seattle-area coffee stands have decided that they can give their businesses an edge against the competition by wearing bikinis on the job. I assume this marketing revelation does not apply to their male cohorts, but I don’t really know the details.
Anyway, the city of Everett, Washington — concerned about “a proliferation of crimes of a sexual nature occurring at bikini barista stands throughout the City,” and also that this marketing gimmick might soon spread to “fast-food restaurants, deli, food trucks” and other casual food services — recently passed an ordinance prohibiting the wearing of bikinis by workers in “quick service facilities.” This ordinance effectively banned bikini baristas from working within the city limits. Violators would be subject to fines, and for repeated violations of the ordinance, the city would revoke the coffee stand’s license to operate.
The city went one step further, however, prescribing a dress code that covers certain “minimum body areas.” You can probably guess which ones those are. Here’s an illustration of the minimum dress code suggested by the Everett city government.
— Edmonds Patch (@EdmondsPatch) September 14, 2017
Of course, this threw owners of the many Everett-based bikini barista coffee stands in a tizzy, along with the (presumably) hundreds of bikini baristas themselves whose jobs depended at least in part on their ability to utilize every single marketing asset at their disposal. As a result, the owner of the Hillbilly Hotties chain of coffee stands — along with seven bikini baristas employed by the chain — just filed a lawsuit against the city of Everett, claiming that the ordinance that bans bikinis on the job violates their Constitutional rights.
According to the lawsuit,
“The Baristas express messages of freedom, empowerment, openness, acceptance, approachability, vulnerability, and individuality. Wearing a bikini at work allows the Baristas to open conversations with customers about body image and self-confidence that would not be possible in other attire.”
Hard to deny that logic.
I don’t know how this is all going to turn out, but I do know one thing. I’m personally more concerned about the quality of the coffee I drink in the morning at my local coffee shop than the clothes the baristas are wearing (or not wearing). Call me square.
More Info: www.inc.com