No Brew For You!
Date Added: Oct. 1, 2004
International coffee superpower, Starbucks, has been the subject of many outrageous rumors and calls to boycott. Now, we're told that they won't give free coffee to our soldiers in the Middle East. Is the company really the heartless, anti-american machine we're led to believe it is? Not quite.
Please pass this along to anyone you know, this needs to get out in the open. Recently Marines over in Iraq supporting this country in OIF wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to let them know how much they liked their coffee and try to score some free coffee grounds. Starbucks wrote back telling the Marines thanks for their support in their business, but that they don't support the War and anyone in it and that they won't send them the Coffee.
So as not to offend them we should not support in buying any Starbucks products. As a War vet and writing to you patriots I feel we should get this out in the open. I know this War might not be very popular with some folks, but that doesn't mean we don't support the boys on the ground fighting street to street and house to house for what they and I believe is right. If you feel the same as I do then pass this along, or you can discard it and I'll never know.
Thanks very much for your support to me, and I know you'll all be there again here soon when I deploy once more.
This chain began circulating as early as August, 2004, and is untrue. While the company's corporate giving policy prevents them from donating directly to military personnel, many of their partners (employees in their stores) have donated coffee to troops. The coffee is given to the workers by the company as a monthly bonus. Is it possible that a group of soldiers wrote some Starbucks office and got a similar response to that described above? Sure. Unfortunately, all we have is a third-person account of the event to go on - one that is mostly hearsay and supposition. Too many details are missing to say definitively that this did or did not happen.
Later versions of this chain letter contain a prologue that suggests Starbucks also charged World Trade Center rescue workers $130 for three cases of bottled water. The anonymous revisionist proffers this example as evidence that Starbucks would, indeed be capable of such an act. However, that incident was an isolated one and involved a bad judgement call by the staff and management at one Starbucks location and did not indicate a larger corporate policy.
I have been unable to locate Sgt. Wright to verify that he did, indeed, author the e-mail above. Since he makes it clear in his text that he was not directly involved in the affair, he's probably unlikely to be able to provide any more perspective. Further, another message, circulating since September 2004, appears to be a retraction of the chain letter above, also attributed to Wright:
Almost 5 months ago I sent an email to you my faithful friends. I did a wrong thing that needs to be cleared up. I heard from word of mouth about how Starbucks said they didn't support the war and all. I was having enough of that kind of talk and didn't do my research properly like I should have. This is not true. Starbucks supports the men and women in uniform. They have personally contacted me and I have been sent many of their Company's policy on this issue. So I apologize for this quick wrong letter I sent out to you. Now I ask that you all pass this email around to everyone you passed the last one to. Thank you very much for understanding about this.
Howard C. Wright
In May, 2007, Wright's original text was dusted off and altered slightly, this time identifying cold cut giant Oscar Mayer as the offending brand.
No company can support every cause or send free product to everyone who requests it. To protect themselves, most adopt a corporate giving policy that clearly outlines who it can give to and how and when. Several years ago, discount retailer Target fell under similar fire for refusing to give to veteran's causes. As in this case, that rumor was based on a misunderstanding of the company's corporate giving strategy. Break this chain.
References: Snopes.com, About.com