Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Starbucks Brew Haha

So the front page news this morning says "Starbucks bans guns."

Look, what Starbucks did is entirely predictable.  They're a liberal establishment whose main customer base are liberal hippie types.  What I'm saying is, the average Starbucks customer is probably not all that pro-gun.

With that said, Starbucks didn't ban guns.  They hedged and made a business decision, worried that all these "Starbucks Appreciation Days" had thrust them into a debate they want no part of and possibly alienated their customer base.

Most businesses just want your money.  If you're patronizing their business, not being a disruptive jackass, and your presence is not causing a problem for business (real or imagined)* then you're going to be welcome at 99.9% of businesses.  Starbucks was unwittingly thrust into this debate by the anti-gunners, who are now lobbying government to ban guns there.  They are a business.  They exist to make money, and they want this whole brouhaha to just go away.

Here's some of what Starbucks said,

"anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners."

Shorter version to the anti's. " Sit down, shut up, buy our coffee and quit protesting at our stores. It's bad for business"

"For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores."

And as for the "Starbucks Appreciation Days"

"To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores."

Basically Starbucks is asking (not banning) both sides not to use their stores for political activism, and I can't blame them.  They've made a calculation, right or wrong, that this is bad for business.  They don't want to ban guns because it's both legally tricky and will alienate gun owners, who far outnumber loudmouthed anti-gun protesters.  They also don't like the in your face nature of these "Starbucks appreciation days" and are trying to politely say to us "simmer down now" since they don't like the current status quo.

If we had done the Starbucks appreciation thing at first, when they first issued their non-committal statement about respecting the law, and then stopped using Starbucks as a battleground for this debate this whole thing would've blown over in short order.

Just "Hey, thanks for respecting state laws.  Because of that I bought some coffee from you.  Here's a short letter and my receipt." Sure a few anti's would've continued to bitch, but it would've been meaningless because they have no real clout.  Anti-gunners brought this about, but we certainly didn't do ourselves any favors either.

I pretty much agree with Miguel and Dana Loesch's take on this.  It won't change anything for me.  Starbucks is crappy, overpriced coffee.  If I want to spend $5 or more on a latte I'll go to Brew Haha, where they actually taste good.

The local Mexican joint appreciates my business and doesn't give a shit that I OC there and have for years, but if I started getting obnoxious, invited all my buds to OC AR15's, which then drew asshole anti-gun protesters who disrupted their business I'd be unwelcome in a heartbeat.  Heck, Costco has a national "no-guns" policy, yet I've open carried there many, many times, even when it was packed and never had the slightest issue.  I suspect that despite this announcement, if Nancy or I decided to OC at our local Starbucks it'd be a non-issue as long as we weren't disruptive (if you go to Miguel's link you'll see this is basically what Starbucks is saying to us)

*I don't like this, but if a business owner thinks that the presence of armed patrons hurts business, that's his prerogative.  I don't have to like it, and I certainly don't have to patronize his business, but it's his business.  When DELOC has monthly meetings they don't just randomly show up with 20-30 or more openly armed men.  They ask the business owner if they can hold a meeting in their establishment.

Starbucks got sick of being in the middle of this and issued a statement attempting to mollify both sides.  From a business standpoint I can understand that, even if I don't like it.

1 comment:

bossmanham said...

I don't think this is as neutral a move as you're painting it. Starbucks had already taken a neutral stance by simply abiding by local laws. Now they caved and are asking people with guns to stay away. So in making this move they alienated us anyway.

I'm not going back.