April 10, 2007


I'd really like to leave Starbucks alone, but they keep pulling some pretty ridiculous bull honkey.

To be fair, they have made improvements--since I started picking on them about 18 months ago, they've doubled the percentage of Fair Trade coffee that they buy (from 3 to 6 per cent of their total supply).  So, they are improving.  They can show people statistics that support this fact.  Yet, they continue to rely on smokescreens and flashy phrases, rather than simply saying, "We're not as socially responsible as we want to be in the future."  When corporations use P.R. smoke and mirrors, I get suspicious and downright hateful.

The smoke and mirrors:

I've been told that "Starbucks offers Fair Trade coffee everyday."  While this is technically true, it is not true within the context of my question ("When is Fair Trade coffee brewed in my local store?").  I wasn't asking about the pounds of Fair Trade coffee beans you can buy (which are indeed offered every day).  I wanted to buy Fair Trade coffee brewed on a day when it is their special "Coffee of the Day".  Several friends in this effort have reported getting the same feedback when asking about Fair Trade coffee.

When I emailed them to find out when Fair Trade coffee would be the "Coffee of the Day", they wrote back (without quoting my email--they don't like to encourage an open dialogue): "Starbucks is committed to brewing Fair Trade Certified coffee as part of our 'Coffee of the Day' program."  Problem solved LOL!

A friend of mine asked about Fair Trade coffee and was told by a Starbucks store manager, "All our coffee is fairly traded."  Apparently, the manager doesn't expect consumers to know the difference between a standard (Fair Trade coffee) and a statement of opinion ("our coffee is fairly traded").

Starbucks, why must you insult the intelligence of your consumers?

Note: in case you're wondering what I did with that Starbucks gift card of mine....  It was too difficult to figure out when I would be able to purchase Fair Trade brewed coffee, so I spent the $50 gift card on a coffeemaker.  If anyone has some fun stickers I could use to put over the Starbucks logo, I'd love it if you sent them my way.

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