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Syringes and Pipes at Downtown SF Whole Foods Force New Bathroom Rules

Written by Garrett LeahyPublished Nov. 18, 2022 • 2:21pm
A Whole Foods customer shops at the Mid-Market location in San Francisco on June 17, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

The bathroom at a Downtown San Francisco Whole Foods is now only open to customers after syringes and drug pipes were found inside.

From now on, visitors must show security guards a receipt before they can use the bathroom. Customers will then be given a QR code for entry.

The Mid-Market store had already slashed its opening hours after "high theft" and hostile people.

Whole Foods staff say the bathrooms were often used by people in the area to use drugs and pointed out that the store is close to the Tenderloin Center, a safe drug use site.

One worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the change was made to stop thieves who "fill up suitcases" with merchandise before going into the bathroom.

Hard Liquor, Ice Cream and Kombucha

People shop at the Whole Foods located in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood on Nov. 18, 2022. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Another anonymous worker said thieves often use the store's elevator to steal hard liquor, ice cream and kombucha.

"That's kind of their escape route," they said.

A security guard who spoke anonymously said he would see often syringes and pipes left in the restrooms, as well as graffiti that staff would have to clean.

"It's already cleaner," the guard said of the new policy.

The new restroom policy is posted at a San Francisco Whole Foods. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A third anonymous worker said they were sympathetic to homeless people who need bathrooms.

"It's like the only restroom for a few blocks," the worker said.

Whole Foods did not respond to requests for comment.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at

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