For many people, stopping at a Starbucks is a natural instinct, but don't bother doing that in the face of a disaster. After the steam pipe exploded on Lexington Avenue in July, one woman turned to Starbucks to escape the chaos and find safety. Unfortunately for her, she was denied entrance to the Starbucks on 42nd and 6th, which reportedly turned people away with locked doors due to a company policy. The woman said that things were similar to September 11th, except businesses in Lower Manhattan opened their doors for people.

A Starbucks spokesperson told WABC that the company listens to officials during emergencies but "in times when that guidance may not be available due to rapidly developing situations where details may not be immediately available, Starbucks employees have responded by locking down and securing our store locations to ensure people do not enter or exit the building." While that seems like a good policy to prevent looting (people go crazy for expensive coffee), it doesn't make too much sense when people are fleeing from falling debris. WABC spoke to some other franchised businesses in the area and were told that each store sets its own policy.

What do you think of the actions of Starbucks during the incident?

Photograph police officers walking from the scene of the Midtown Steam Pipe Explosion by ~Raymond on Flickr