Recently I have been asked on several occasions what I think about Starbucks. This question is probably coming to me because I have been so outspoken about my views on Same-Sex Marriage -as well as being outspoken on how much I enjoy a nice cup of Starbucks.
Starbucks has recently been in the news because of a comment made by CEO Howard Schultz. A national boycott has been reissued in hopes that Americans will “Dump Starbucks” because of their support of Same-Sex Marriage.
I have been asked on many occasions what I am going to do, and what I think other people should do.
I don’t think that this situation necessarily has an easy answer, but here are my thoughts on the subject…
What I do know:
1. It is really hard to find a company that stands for everything that you believe in. That is one of the reasons that I like Chick-Fil-A so much, I think that they represent many of the same values that I do.
2. Starbucks clearly does not stand for everything that I believe in. (Not just in terms of traditional marriage, but in other issues, as well).
3. The propaganda that is being presented in the media regarding Starbucks is not exactly untrue, but it is definitely a spin on what really took place. Conservatives make Howard Schultz out to be a demon, and Liberals make him out to be a hero. Both points of view are lacking truth.
4. I’m not convinced that boycotting a business because of political reasons is the right thing to do. I think that we should look for companies to support based on their values, but I’m not so sure that we should look for companies to destroy based on their values.
5. While I think that what I said in the previous point is true, I also think that knowledge of a company’s values (especially when they are outspoken about them) plays a role on my desire to do business with them.
6. Starbucks is an example of a company that is so large they are no longer making decisions based on economy. A boycott will not change their stance on traditional marriage, and if it does it would be changed for the wrong reasons.
Now, on to things that I don’t really know, but think I have a decent idea of…
The statement that Howard Schultz made was to someone who invests in Starbucks (significantly, I might add). It was made at their business meeting. The person Schultz was speaking to was actually the founder of an organization called The Corporate Morality Action Center. This has been an ongoing discussion at Starbucks. Last year the person encouraged the Starbucks CEO to “stop endorsing liberal issues because they were bad for business.”
This year he approached the CEO by saying, “In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing.” (referring to the boycott that happened after the Chick-Fil-A ordeal.)
The Starbucks CEO then replied, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”
The Starbucks CEO also said, “It is not an economic decision. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity.”
I can respect what he is saying to an extent. It sounds like it was a very polite and civil conversation (unlike how organizations like the Tea Party would portray it) and the Starbucks CEO seems to be saying, “Some of the people that we employ are gay. We like that because we want to embrace diversity. We do not want to employ them on one hand, and then tell them that they don’t have any rights on the other hand. If someone is uncomfortable with that position, it is a free country, and they are welcome to stop doing business with us.”
Now, I should point out that I very much disagree with his position and think it is ridiculous for a business like Starbucks to even be a part of the “traditional marriage” conversation, but that is the world in which we live. It is very broken and far from God.
Personally, I am thankful that Starbucks employs homosexuals because I don’t believe that people should be treated as less-than-human because they are gay. (Chick-Fil-A also willingly employs homosexuals, atheists, and non-Christians, but Christians tend to gravitate towards Chick-Fil-A for obvious reasons). Now, while I believe that homosexuals should be treated with respect as human beings, I do not think for a millisecond that we should even consider allowing two people of the same gender to be legally married. I can’t understand for the life of me how that becomes an “Equal Rights” issue.
Conclusion: Knowing Starbucks’ stance on same sex marriage makes doing business with them less appealing to me. The fact that they are so outspoken in their stance makes it even less desirable for me to drink their coffee. However, they offer a good product and I am not treated poorly when I go there. I do not plan to “boycott” them, but I have found myself doing considerably less business with them just because they have lost a certain appeal in my eyes due to their ridiculous desire to be on the front lines of a battle that has nothing to do with coffee.