Earlier this week, onanism aficionados poured out a cold one for the Starbucks masturbator when they heard rumors that some of the 196 Starbucks locations across the city had begun closing their restrooms to the public. Starbucks told us that the controversial new "policy" was completely untrue, but that hasn't stopped the NY Times from trying to dig up some potential new pee policies—such as bathroom attendants and receipt-only restrooms.

Gawker points out that reporter Anne Barnard has been soliciting input from Jim Romenesko's Starbucks Gossip blog, asking readers, "do you agree that Starbucks has in some sense become the de facto become the go-to public bathroom in NYC?" Most seemed to agree that McDonalds and Starbucks are the two go-to bathroom spots when visiting foreign cities.

One person who identified themselves as a former barista at a Times Square location went one further, and said they had heard their branch has been considering hiring a bathroom attendant:

I recently left Starbucks in Times Square after two years of working there. Before I left the company, that location did not have a bathroom. The location was recently remodeled to include a public restroom. I visited my former co-workers who say it has become the most disgusting place in the store—people have sex in there and homeless people use the bathroom as their personal shower. That being said, I know that location will not close their bathrooms but in preparing for Thanksgiving are considering hiring a bathroom attendant for the location. There are talks of hiring a full time attendant there.

The cost of maintenance—especially for busy Midtown stores—is something I'm sure most stores consider before closing the restrooms to the public. There is not a policy on letting the public use the restrooms. It is at the discrepancy of the store and district managers.

I do know of some stores in the Times Square area that have closed their restrooms to the public. They have complied with the 19 seats or more rule by removing some of the seats.

While one person was optimistic Starbucks won't radically change any of their bathroom policies ("At the end of the day, Starbucks is more concerned about pleasing the masses, which includes leaving the restrooms available."), two others offered another potential change. They said that certain Boston locations have begun a new receipt code policy for using their bathrooms—if you don't buy at least a $3 item, you can't use the bathroom.

I live in Boston and they just put a brand-new Starbucks in Harvard Square. In order to use the restrooms, you need to use an elevator that only opens to a code printed on your receipt. I have heard the baristas politely but firmly telling people they could not "just" use the restroom, and I think it's a great system and policy. Too bad the cost of implementing it will prevent that from becoming Starbucks-wide anytime soon.

We've written Starbucks to inquire whether either of those policies have been, or would be, considered for NYC branches. Perhaps instead of bathroom attendants, they could just hire someone to make a big store-wide announcement about your bladder:

Update: Starbucks got back to us, and reiterated that "we aren't closing our bathrooms in NYC or other markets." A spokesman said he didn't have any information about the receipt-code policy, but did address the possibility of bathroom attendants:

If a store is considering adding partners (employees) to their team to support the business, that is up to the management of the store and their district manager. What role that additional team member would play, I don’t have any information on.