Stop Making Everything Political, Please (cc: Starbucks)

 

On Tuesday, Starbucks unveiled their new #RaceTogether campaign.  From the press release:

“Each story, each voice, offered insight into the divisive role unconscious bias plays in our society and the role empathy can play to bridge those divides,” said Starbucks chairman and ceo Howard Schultz, in a free USA TODAY newspaper section that will be distributed in Starbucks stores beginning Friday and through the weekend.

The compendium called “Race Together” is the first installment in a year-long effort designed to stimulate conversation, compassion and positive action regarding race in America. The title of the publication mirrors the words Starbucks baristas have been voluntarily writing on cups this week in support of diversity and dialog.

Immediately, Twitter exploded with near-universal disapproval from all sides and points-of-view.  By early Tuesday afternoon, Starbucks’ senior vice president of communications deleted his Twitter account.  #RaceTogether is looking to be a “New Coke” level of marketing failure.

But that’s not my biggest issue. Yes, Starbucks is a crunchy, socially-conscious company that likes to throw around phrases like “free-trade” and “environmental sustainability,” but really, does anyone pay attention? Patrons walk into a Starbucks, expect to pay $5 for a cup of over-brewed coffee, and either hide behind their laptops for a few hours or leave. This new in-your-face politics is too much even for Starbucks — and seemingly for Starbucks consumers.

Coffee isn’t the only place where politics have been injected recently. The holidays have sadly become a time to push agendas. This past Christmas, for example. Organizing for Action (formerly Obama for America) recommended “Conversation Tips” for pushing Obamacare:

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An article in Think Progress How To Talk To Your Tea Party Uncle About Obamacare This Thanksgiving was even rebutted here on Ricochet with How To Talk to Your Progressive Niece about Obamacare This Thanksgiving.

How about sports? Who can forget this picture of the St. Louis Rams entering the field with their hands up during the early days of Ferguson?

nfl

Or the MSM’s obsession with Michael Sam, not because of his playing ability, but because he was the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL. Sam was drafted then released by the St. Louis Rams. Then he was picked up and released by the Dallas Cowboys. Today, he’s a contestant on the latest season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

There is a lesson to be learned here: The market usually wins out. Michael Sam didn’t make it in the NFL, and he’s out of the NFL. Obamacare is many Ricochet posts worth of failure. Starbucks is in the middle of an absolute PR nightmare for a program I predict will be cancelled well before its original end date.

Please, unless it’s politics, keep it politics-free.

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  1. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    #vomitonbarista

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    • #2
  3. user_7742 Member
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    If Starbucks baristas want to talk with me about race relations in America then I also want to talk with them about Hillary Clinton’s possible felonious activity in concealing and destroying government property; whether Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to solicit contributions to the Clinton Foundation; Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress citation for withholding evidence on the Fast and Furious investigation; Lois Lerner’s contempt of Congress citation and the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS; the cover-up of the Benghazi attack, Obama’s missing college transcripts; Obama’s Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis; and so much more.

    If Starbucks wants to kickoff a conversation with its customers then why limit what their customers can talk about – why limit our freedom of speech?

    C’mon Starbucks – Let’s have at it.

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @DougWatt

    Brian Watt:If Starbucks baristas want to talk with me about race relations in America then I also talk with them about Hillary Clinton’s possible felonious activity in concealing and destroying government property; whether Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to solicit contributions to the Clinton Foundation; Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress citation for withholding evidence on the Fast and Furious investigation; Lois Lerner’s contempt of Congress citation and the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS; the cover-up of the Benghazi attack, Obama’s missing college transcripts; Obama’s Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis; and so much more.

    If Starbucks wants to kickoff a conversation with its customers then why limit what their customers can talk about – why limit our freedom of speech?

    C’mon Starbucks – Let’s have at it.

    You might want to start the conversation by offering to compare tattoos and piercings.

    • #4
  5. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Exactly what subject would you want to talk to a barista about?  Maybe a comment about the weather, the success of a local sports team or a holiday greeting when appropriate.  I don’t want to talk about race.  I don’t want medical advice.  I don’t want tax tips or a hot lead for the winner at Keeneland in the 4th.

    If they have time to have a conversation, either the shop is empty or they are dawdling.  If I were three or four back in line and couldn’t get my hot chocolate because the baristas were weighing the pros and cons of affirmative action, I would complain to the manager for the slow service.

    I imagine the person who came up with this promotion was desperately lonely to think that people want to interact with the coffee server beyond placing an order and polite pleasantries.

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    People who claim to love dialogue are often shocked to discover that there are actually different views out there. My favorite story about dialogue was a college gathering many years ago to share on the horrors of the Biafran civil war then underway in Nigeria. I guess it was a change-of-pace event instead of the usual anti-VietNam war shtick. It was a discovered that an actual Nigerian exchange student was present and he was asked to opine. He proceeded to explain the Ibo deserved to be crushed, that his father “owned” some Ibo workers who were lazy, useless and dishonest. There was shocked silence except for my buddy’s guffaws (he was politically incorrect before the phrase was in use) at the collapse of yet another Kumbaya moment.

    Inviting people to opine about race in your commercial setting is insane. While you are at it, why not designate different latte flavors as pro-choice or pro-life so customers can express a preference? Pick cappuccino all next week if you think OJ Simpson was guilty…

    As the educational system leaves us less able to engage in rational discourse and instead fosters tribalism, all political issues become toxic even as malignant idiots try to make everything political. Make good coffee, provide a nice environment, try to keep prices down and don’t annoy your customers, Starbucks. Why complicate things?

    • #6
  7. user_958625 Thatcher
    user_958625
    @Inutile

    Starbucks business model was “to offer a good coffee experience”, it seems whenever they step away from that they get in trouble. They did a great job developing a culture that provides them a 90% profit margin…are they determined to be self-destrustive?

    • #7
  8. user_7742 Member
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    Announcement: Starbucks has decided that the current interior design of their coffee shopes is inadequate for their new customer conversation initiative and so will be transitioning each store to a design that will be more suitable.

    NewStarbucksInterior

    • #8
  9. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    The only upside I can think of is that the baristas with college degrees in Peace Studies and such might think they are putting the education to good use.  Unless they are heard acknowledging that there are problems with the whole “hands up” thing – in which case they will be subject to more indoctrination or fired.

    • #9
  10. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Brian Watt:

    Hillary Clinton’s possible felonious activity in concealing and destroying government property; whether Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to solicit contributions to the Clinton Foundation; Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress citation for withholding evidence on the Fast and Furious investigation; Lois Lerner’s contempt of Congress citation and the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS; the cover-up of the Benghazi attack, Obama’s missing college transcripts; Obama’s Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis; and so much more.

    I’m tempted to get a job at Starbucks just to write that on a coffee cup:

    “C’mon, let’s go!”

    “What’s taking so long?!”

    “Hold on… ‘felonious activity…’ I’m almost done.”

    “Gawd! I’ve been waiting for ever!”

    “‘…Eric Holder’s contempt…’ Pipe down, I’m wrapping it up.”

    “I want to see the manager!”

    “‘…mentor, Frank Marshall Davis.’ Here’s Yer tall black coffee.”

    “Jimmy. Yer fired.”

    “My job here is done.”

    • #10
  11. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    A lot of the backlash against Starbucks’s campaign is exactly the wrong sort of criticism to lodge. I see equal doses about the Starbucks corporate staff not being diverse enough, and another decrying the fact that capitalism is involved in this, because, you know, trying to make money is evil.

    • #11
  12. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    ^ But to the broader point, Cameron is right. The left has politicized EVERYTHING. This, I assume, is because politics is their religion replacement. And so in the same way that we Christians strive to see God as omnipresent, his handiwork everywhere, the left imbues everything with a political view.

    • #12
  13. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    “Do you have a minute to talk about race? ”

    “I have a minute to tell your bosses to go *&^% themselves. Now pour my coffee and don’t forget my receipt”.

    • #13
  14. Boots on the Table Member
    Boots on the Table
    @BootsontheTable

    A barista is a bartender that makes coffee.  Most of them couldn’t make a drink known as “Scotch – Neat”. let alone a martini.  Just try ordering a “black coffee” sometime.  The first thing they say is “would you like room for cream?” For what reason would I want to discuss politics with a person who can’t figure out that black coffee doesn’t take cream?

    Besides, if I want to discuss politics I go online to Ricochet.

    • #14
  15. Indaba Member
    Indaba
    @

    Brian Watt:If Starbucks baristas want to talk with me about race relations in America then I also want to talk with them about Hillary Clinton’s possible felonious activity in concealing and destroying government property; whether Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to solicit contributions to the Clinton Foundation; Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress citation for withholding evidence on the Fast and Furious investigation; Lois Lerner’s contempt of Congress citation and the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS; the cover-up of the Benghazi attack, Obama’s missing college transcripts; Obama’s Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis; and so much more.

    If Starbucks wants to kickoff a conversation with its customers then why limit what their customers can talk about – why limit our freedom of speech?

    C’mon Starbucks – Let’s have at it.

    You have an excellent point.

    • #15
  16. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Brian Watt:Announcement: Starbucks has decided that the current interior design of their coffee shopes is inadequate for their new customer conversation initiative and so will be transitioning each store to a design that will be more suitable.

    NewStarbucksInterior

    What’s that thing on the table that looks like a giant abacus…..it’s so cool

    • #16
  17. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Let’s see here. Coffee at Dunkin Donuts for about a dollar a cup(and they have donuts!) vs. Coffee at Starbuck’s for five dollars a cup AND the possibility of an argument(if I disagree with them) with the baristas or other customers about race relations. Where should I take my business? Decisions,decisions…;)

    • #17
  18. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    DrewInWisconsin:^ But to the broader point, Cameron is right. The left has politicized EVERYTHING. This, I assume, is because politics is their religion replacement. And so in the same way that we Christians strive to see God as omnipresent, his handiwork everywhere, the left imbues everything with a political view.

    Well, I think there is also a bigger issue than even that.  The left doesn’t really understand that the right exists.  I honestly wonder if Starbucks sees this as actually appealing to its customer base.  They probably aren’t even thinking that starbucks customers need to talk about race, but that those other people will see such progressive, post-racial starbucks customers and … um … oh, yes, that those customers will feel superior.  If starbucks is like a liberal club, its members will be ever more loyal.

    • #18
  19. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    aardo vozz:Let’s see here. Coffee at Dunkin Donuts for about a dollar a cup(and they have donuts!) vs. Coffee at Starbuck’s for five dollars a cup AND the possibility of an argument(if I disagree with them) with the baristas or other customers about race relations. Where should I take my business? Decisions,decisions…;)

    If you know how to brew a cup of coffee, and you still want good discussion, I think the decision is obvious.

    mugdownload

    • #19
  20. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Starbucksux.

    • #20
  21. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    And should any punk barista dare to lecture me about race, I’ll share some of my Hispanic heritage with him:

    • #21
  22. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @RobertMcReynolds

    This Starbucks issue is actually a huge opportunity for us Conservatives.  What are some of the tactics that the Left uses?  Well one of them is that they gather in groups, quietly wait for the person they are trying to shout down to start speaking, and then they create such a ruckus that you never hear what it is the speaker wants to say, and they do this whether they are on public or private property.  Find groups of Conservative friends, go to Starbucks, and wait for your opportunity.  Design clever chants about how Obama has created more strife in the black neighborhood or how Obama has overseen an increase in black unemployment.  Disrupt this crap with their own tactics.  They won’t know what hit them.

    • #22
  23. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Where else can I buy my CDs? (They need to start offering the CDs of Obama’s speeches that the Queen so loved.)

    • #23
  24. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    My brother and his wife gave me a gift card to Starbucks last Christmas.  I went in yesterday to spend a bit of  it on some (gasp!) coffee.

    Had the guy behind the counter started to engage me in political conversation, I would have tossed the gift card at him and asked him to keep his *&^*&%*^ coffee, forever.

    I noticed recently that there is no Starbucks in the small town I live in, but there’s certainly plenty of commercial space and population to support one.  I was thinking of places to put one, we have a Lowe’s in town, and I thought “Hey, a coffee shop next to a place where contractors run in and out all day”, and then I thought “No contractor is going to go into a Starbucks to buy coffee or fill a thermos”.

    There’s a reason those shops are located where they’re located.  They’re not targeting everyone for their coffee.  They’re actually targeting the right people for their coffee.

    It seems, then, that all others are unwelcome.  And this is a business that relies on volume?

    • #24
  25. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    DocJay:#vomitonbarista

    #BlackCoffeeMatters

    • #25
  26. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Chris Campion:I noticed recently that there is no Starbucks in the small town I live in, but there’s certainly plenty of commercial space and population to support one. I was thinking of places to put one, we have a Lowe’s in town, and I thought “Hey, a coffee shop next to a place where contractors run in and out all day”, and then I thought “No contractor is going to go into a Starbucks to buy coffee or fill a thermos”.

    The Menards* here experimented with a coffee shop INSIDE the store. Not Starbucks, though. Great idea. Didn’t actually work.

    ——–

    * We live at Menards Ground Zero. We’re not allowed to have a Lowe’s or a Home Depot.

    • #26
  27. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    DrewInWisconsin:

    The Menards* here experimented with a coffee shop INSIDE the store. Not Starbucks, though. Great idea. Didn’t actually work.

    ——–

    * We live at Menards Ground Zero. We’re not allowed to have a Lowe’s or a Home Depot.

    I wouldn’t want to spend more time in a Menards than was absolutely necessary.  Hearing their jingle played over the loudspeakers every three minutes is bearable if I’m only in the store for 10 minutes.  Spending half an hour there would really get on my nerves.

    • #27
  28. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Mike LaRoche:And should any punk barista dare to lecture me about race, I’ll share some of my Hispanic heritage with him:

    While that sounded pretty awesome, I haven’t the slightest idea what it means.  I’d think that tu madre is your mom, but we’re operating on a pretty rudimentary spanish over here.

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Douglas:“Do you have a minute to talk about race? ”

    “Do you have a minute to talk about Jesus Christ?”

    • #29
  30. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Kozak:

    DocJay:#vomitonbarista

    #BlackCoffeeMatters

    #theresnothingwrongwithfolgers

    • #30

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