Are ‘Bikini Baristas’ Something to get Steamed About?May 27th, 2008 by josh farley
The south sound communities of Auburn, Lakewood and now Bonney Lake have each been stirred up by the scantily-clad fashion statements made by local coffee stands, the Tacoma News Tribune has reported.
This is nothing new for us in Kitsap, whose residents have already confronted “pastie Tuesdays,” at Espresso Gone Wild in Gorst and the hot pink pants of Natte Latte nearby. Other stands around here have also featured promotional “bikini” days.
But are these kinds of stands, where “bikini baristas” foam your double tall lattes wearing next to nothing, breaking the law? So wondered the News Tribune, who was told that the three cities who had complaints did look into the law-breaking aspect.
There appear to be three areas of law that cities have examined: one that protects the barista (labor laws), and two that protect the consumer — criminal indecent exposure laws, and health code violations.
So far, city and county governments have found no clear violations on any front. But just in case you’re curious, take a look at the statute on indecent exposure in Washington:
“A person is guilty of indecent exposure if he or she intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.”
Regardless of how this law looks, it is possible that critics of the stands might find a lawmaker to take up the cause — and pass a new law. A somewhat similar situation occurred in Texas a few years back when state legislators attempted to pass guidelines in an effort to cover up cheerleaders.
Here in Kitsap, there’s been no such controversy quite like those of the south sound. When asked about the stand for a February Kitsap Sun story, Kitsap County Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said this:
“I’m sure a lot of people consider this titillating. Unless we get a complaint or we physically view it ourselves and say, ‘This is over the line,’ we’re not going to do anything about it.”