Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate
The "secret" Starbucks that NBC set up in its Sochi offices is on lockdown.
Since the network's pop-up cafe was revealed by the Wall Street Journal last week, NBC has banned people from leaving the premises with Starbucks cups in hand and its baristas have been "doubling as security personnel," the Journal reports.
Starbucks isn't an official Olympic sponsor, so it's not technically allowed to have a presence on Olympic grounds.
The only brand authorized to serve coffee is McDonald's.
A sign now hangs on the 24-hour Starbucks cafe warning NBC employees against carrying their coffee outside the network's offices. Security guards are on scene to make sure everyone follows the new rule, the Journal reports. The guards are also checking to make sure everyone entering the Starbucks is an NBC employee.
From the Journal:"The same guards that won't let people in now won't let Starbucks out," one person with access to the coffee said, declining to be identified for fear of retribution. That new policy also ended a smuggling operation wherein some NBC employees had been serving as Starbucks mules for friends and acquaintances at the Games. Why not share the java, after all, since the drinks—served round the clock—cost 'customers' nothing? And with the nearest Starbucks branch in Russia over 350 miles away by car, Sochi is a kind of Siberia for Starbucks addicts.
NBC sent roughly 2,500 people to Sochi to cover the Olympics and flew in baristas from around Russia to serve them Starbucks.
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