Tuesday, February 16, 2010

cuppa Joe

This past weekend, I was privy to an emailed back-and-forth among the gunblogger elites* concerning this Starbucks Appreciation Day. It's been suggested that gun owners (blog-reading gun owners, apparently, because who else would know really about this?) visit Starbucks, purchase a beverage and then say to the barista something like:

"Please know I'm here because firearm owners across the country want to show Starbucks our appreciation for your decision not to ostracize customers who own and carry guns."

Some think this is a great idea.

I don't.

See, I've been a barista (not at Starbucks and I was called a server, but it was the same old coffeehouse, java-slingin', pastry-arranging job). Deal with the public enough and you become tired of small talk. You learn to do a convincing smile&nod when someone starts talking about their personal issues. You're tired, you've been on your feet for hours, the counters need cleaned, the trash needs to be taken out, the creamers need refilling and you just want them to pay for their half-caff, sugar-free, vanilla hazelnut, skim milk, extra-froth coffee and go already.

Add in the fact that your barista might be a bubbleheaded, 20-something, art major hoplophobe (like I was) and some stranger standing at the counter talking about owning and carrying guns might make her very alarmed indeed, no matter how innocuously it was worded.

Writing a letter of appreciation to Starbucks HQ is probably the better choice all around - your message is guaranteed to reach the people actually in charge of making store policy and you won't have to risk freaking out a non-gunnie. Win, win...plus hot chocolate!

(UPDATE: read Stingray's take - I'm still giggling.)

*I'm so glad my blog hits make me useful.


Rabbit said...

When the Wife and I owned and operated a coffeehouse in Bubbaville, Texas we had a sign on the door to the effect that firearms were not only welcome, they were encouraged. It was not unusual to see folks comparing carry pieces or cleaning a shotgun at a table after a morning of bird hunting.

On the other hand, we had a guy who 'rented' a table and sat there all day making chainmail. So, surreal was not unexpected.

I probably have as many odd stories about patrons as you do, Breda.


Joseph said...

Yeah, I don't get the speech to a barista. I think you'd get better results by talking to the hydrant out front.

Anonymous said...

I think your take on the idea is probably the best thing to do, for the same reasons you've put forth.

Have you seen what Stingray wrote on the subject? Put whatever you're drinking down first unless you want it on your keyboard :)


Mike W. said...

No offense to Starbucks baristas, but they do tend to be of a particular political group whose reaction to someone saying the word "Gun" is quite different than you or I.

That and they've been dealing with crappy customers all day and are hyped up on caffiene.

I wouldn't walk up to a random stranger on the street and start talking to them about abortion, so why would I start chatting to a stranger in a coffee shop about gun rights.

Go to the corporate and regional managers. You don't even have to say the word gun. Just hand them a small business car with a short "thank you"

Crucis said...

First you'd have to convince me to go to Starbucks. Nine month old used motor oil tastes better than their so-called coffee. It has more pollutants than Love Canal.

Aaron said...

You can send a comment or note to Starbucks from their Website. I did and thanked them for supporting the 2nd Ammendment.

Old NFO said...

Don't do starbucks, but I DO like your idea MUCH better :-)

Lydia said...

Hello, yes Boss. I'm sorry I can't make it to work today, I got arrested for thanking a Barisita.

Are the gunblogger elites going to protect my job after Stingray's take happens, I get arrested, and miss work?

Just curious.

Buckshot said...

Someone a day or three ago was telling about Starbucks in another state asking someone to leave right after they got their coffee.

So, I am not sure they are up for a thank you yet.

I can't carry in either of the only two we have around here in any case, one is in a posted hospital and the other is in the bookstore on the UNOH campus, which is a no carry zone also.

Don't think I have ever had a Starbucks or any other fancy coffee. Got a free coupon for a 12 oz. coffee after my last blood test. Said it was good for all kinds of strange stuff. I went in and ask if it was goood for "plain old coffee" and the lady laughed and said yes.

I often drink Mickey D's coffee, it is not great, but it is the same. It is always plain old coffee there too, not the fancy stuff.


Tam said...

I think you're right, Breda, as I've said elsewhere.

If you want to reward Starbucks ("Good company! Here's a biscuit!") do it the only way they understand; spend some money with them. If you feel you really need to make a point of it, send a copy of the receipt to corporate HQ.

(Oh, and Mr. Buckshot, Mickey D's actually has dang good coffee. I know plenty of people who wouldn't eat their nasty cardboard food that still drink the coffee...)

Anonymous said...

Mickey D's actually has dang good coffee. I know plenty of people who wouldn't eat their nasty cardboard food that still drink the coffee...

Funny you should say that. They are certainly a valid option if all I want is a prompt, predictable coffee. A&W seems to do it pretty well also.


Glenn B said...

Allow me to basically repeat my comment from over at Atomic nerds:

"Yes all you said was very funny, but if you do not aim better you will miss the target because you are laughing. The target is that we should actually get through to Starbucks in a way that will truly have meaning for them. While writing letters to Starbucks Corporate HQ will help and therefore should be done, something else will be much more effective without a doubt.

So, I will most assuredly let the counter help know why I am there next time I have a cup of coffee there, which will be later today. I will also let the store manager know why I am there and make sure he knows I just spent money there. I will spend money there regularly and tell the manager regularly why I have chosen Strabucks in which to spend my money.

Money talks better than all the letters you can write to their corporate headquarters and when managers have regional sales meetings and start telling each other how many people came in saying they were spending money because Starbucks does not penalize legal gun owners – well, those regional bosses will talk to the state bosses and up the chain. Someone will note that sales have increased while all those gun owner letters are coming I and that will really make them pay attention to us. Money is what makes the world go round whether you believe it or not, and customers spending money in their stores is what makes retailers happy. If we spend enough and let them know why we are spending in Starbucks that is when Starbucks may change their tune and actually come up with a gun friendly policy as opposed to a neutral one that they have now. "

Breda, maybe you did not chat with customers where you worked but when I worked behind counters in delis and supermarkets I was always more than happy to chat with a customer if time allowed. KIt was a welcome break from the drugery of the job. The folks with whom I deal at Starbucks now seem to think likewise and always seem to have time for at least a few words. So letting them know why you shop there is not a bad idea. It will go from them to the manager. I also plan to talk up the manager when he has time. I have already written to Starbucks Corporate HQ. My dollars though, and them realizing why I am spending my dollars, are the papoer that will count more than my letters.

All the best,
Glenn B

Glenn B said...

By the way, it is not as some said - a speech to the counter help - just a short:

'Hi how ya doing, just wanted to let you know that firearms owners appreciate Starbucks policy on legal carry of firearms in their stores - can I get a medium black coffee with no room please'.

All the best,
Glenn B

DirtCrashr said...

I never buy their boring old coffee, but I will go for a double-espresso.

DirtCrashr said...

And re Crucis: I know the guy who sold Love Canal for Hooker Chemical, or his kid anyhow. They had to move afterwards due to social pressure (no more tennis at the Country Club) and they moved here...

B Smith said...

I never liked Starbuck's anyway (a local political cartoonist calls it "Fourbucks", heh) but they really lost me forever when a soldier over in Afghanistan asked if they'd send some for the troops, and they refused, saying they 'didn't support the war', or some such.
My favorite store-coffee is from Pilot truck stops, their regular, house-blend stuff.

dr mac said...

Its not the blog hits that make you useful............its you.

Spike said...

When I first read about Starbucks decision, I immediately whent to their website an wrote then a very nice "Thank You" Here is the reply


Thanks for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

Thank you very much for your words of encouragement! We are pleased to offer all of our guests a safe and comfortable environment to gather.

For Starbucks, the safety of our customers and partners is a paramount concern. We have existing security protocols in place to handle situations related to safety in our stores. We will continue to adhere closely to local, state and federal laws and the counsel of law enforcement regarding this issue.

We appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective.

Warm Regards,

Samson D.

Customer Relations

Starbucks Coffee Company

800 23-LATTE (235-2883)

Monday through Friday, 5AM to 6PM (PST)