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It happens every year?
November 18, 2008 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Despite the much-maligned economy, people are seemingly starting the holiday season early this year in Loveland, Colorado by "paying it forward" for strangers' coffee at a Starbucks drive-through. This has happened in 2006 and similar events were debated last year on the blue, which led me to believe it was not a real phenomenon. CNN has the video version of the first link with interviews of those involved. Maybe it's not a PR stunt after all.
posted by knile (75 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
No, it is a PR stunt. No one was saying it didn't happen but that it was actively encouraged by the store.
posted by delmoi at 9:17 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huh? Someone paid for my coffee? Now you want me to pay for the person behind me? Oh, I don't have to pay? Can't I just pay for my own coffee, please?
posted by lee at 9:18 PM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


When you base your love on credit
And your loving days are done
Checks you signed with a-love and kisses
Later come back signed "insufficient funds"
Can you get to that?
posted by Sailormom at 9:23 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't really see how this post is going to go any different than last year's.
posted by smackfu at 9:24 PM on November 18, 2008


Has it been a year already?
posted by lunit at 9:27 PM on November 18, 2008


Can we not do this again. Can we have Buy That Homeless Guy You Pass Every Day A Sandwich Day instead?
posted by Tehanu at 9:29 PM on November 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


let's just get this over with....'i call bullshit on starbucks' vs. 'i dub thee a scrooge'
posted by ms.jones at 9:29 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


People do this just to linked on Metafilter, don't they?
posted by salishsea at 9:29 PM on November 18, 2008


I will never understand why people go to Starbucks.
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:31 PM on November 18, 2008


How about give the person behind you in line a Thomas Kinkade painting?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:33 PM on November 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


Rich people buy each other overpriced coffee, news at 11.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:35 PM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


This morning at Starbucks, I parked my car in a space between the disabled parking spot and a car that had been parked over the line, I spent about 15 extra seconds to get it aligned correctly inside the space, just in case some dude came by who needed to use the spot and not worry about precision parking.

When I came out, I saw that a car had parked there, idling actually, it did not have a disabled parking permit or license plate, just some bastard who was too lazy to walk and too impatient to use the drive through.

Fuck the world.
posted by hellojed at 9:35 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't really see how this post is going to go any different than last year's.

This year everyone's paying with change.
posted by davejay at 9:40 PM on November 18, 2008 [11 favorites]


Starbucks does suck. I got your 4 dollar latte right here.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:42 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have favorited the comment before mine, and expect whoever posts after me to favorite this one.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:42 PM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


A fellow walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had.
He said, "Shingles."
So she took down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

A few minutes later a nurse's aid came out and asked him what he had.
He said, "Shingles."
So she took down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told him to wait in the examining room.

Ten minutes later a nurse came in and asked him what he had.
He said, "Shingles."
So she gave him a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, told him to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.

Fifteen minutes later the doctor came in and asked him what he had.
He said, "Shingles."
The doctor said, "Where?"
He said, "Outside in the truck. Where do you want them?"
posted by netbros at 9:43 PM on November 18, 2008 [14 favorites]


I have favorited the comment before mine, and expect whoever posts after me to favorite this one.
posted by davidmsc at 9:44 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


You people are so cynical, but these things do happen. Just yesterday at our local Planned Parenthood clinic, the Buddhist in front of us paid for my girlfriend's abortion.
posted by rokusan at 9:51 PM on November 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


I don't believe in this crap. I'm favoriting my own comment, thank you very much.
posted by rokusan at 9:54 PM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


The other day I accidentally cut in front of someone waiting to turn into the drive-through lane at a burger place. I felt bad about it, and when I pulled up to pay, I heard the cashier tell the person (now behind me) their total was $4.88. So I paid for their food. The guy got all excited once he passed the cashier - waving at me and grinning, and all. It felt good. Good enough that I wondered how it would be if everyone did this.

But no. Cos there would be one guy who would say, "Eh? Well thanks, but no way am I paying for the guy behind me." There would be another who'd say, "Are you kidding? I ordered one soda. How about if I only pay for $1.29 of their food, since that's the cost of my drink." Some would say, "Oh no, I don't have enough to buy their food, I was hoping to get my two dollar menu cheeseburgers and go home," and someone who would flat out refuse, just out of principle. Then there would be the inevitable person who would catch on to what was happening and screw it all up by ordering the biggest, most expensive bunch of food on the menu, "Just to see if the guy in front of me still pays for it".

I missed the Starbucks thread from last year, and I'd no idea this was a "recurring phenomenon", but this thread made me grin. Yeah! Fuck the world! Have a Thomas Kinkade painting!
posted by routergirl at 10:18 PM on November 18, 2008


Paying it forward involves seeing someone in the street who needs a meal and buying them a sandwich. Paying it forward involves quietly encouraging a misunderstood person to keep going when everybody else is shitting on them. Paying it forward involves taking a few minutes out of your day to make someone smile when the person is having a miserable day. Paying it forward involves opening the door for someone with a shitload of groceries. Paying it forward involves helping a mother lift her stroller up the subway stairs. Paying it forward means being friendly towards someone who others overlook.

Come to think of it, this really isn't about "paying it forward." It's about basic human kindness. Maybe there is some kind of karma in the air. Maybe not. But if you're lucky enough to live a more or less happy life, it seems perfectly reasonable and decent to help others get to some similar place in a way that doesn't involve how you can get ahead or make more money, to do so without incentive.

When I am required to rent a car every now and then, I have been known to pay the toll of the cars behind me. (Thankfully, the toll booths are run by the government, and not a corporation that has driven independent cafes out of business.) But this is largely because, working in a highly volatile vocation with a vacillating and low-paying income, there have been lean times when others have been kind enough to buy me a meal or a drink. And it's also kind of fun, and it demonstrates how utterly absurd the concept of money is, and how utterly absurd that kindness has to be marketed or recontextualized. "Pay it forward" is a phrase that puts a commodity upon something that shouldn't involve money. It is a phrase I must object to. "Be kind" is a better one.

To think that Starbucks would attempt to co-opt this wonderful element of the human spirit and brand it into their soulless corporate identity makes me want to smash one of their ugly postmodern windows and perhaps flay some of the bastards who want to take away independent dreams. This, of course, is a savage and predictable reaction, probably not so kind. But then the impulse of "pay it forward" as applied to a marketing scheme like this one is anathema to the various goods that I have described above. And I can rest easy knowing that I'll never use the phrase "pay it forward" unless I'm taking the piss out of someone who has it coming.
posted by ed at 10:18 PM on November 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


I haven't read last year's page on this subject, but here's my take:

On the one hand, the fact that the story is a) being pumped out of a town called LOVELAND, b) being covered by CNN, and c) occurring at Starbucks, makes it reek of well-oiled (if somewhat ham-handed) PR stunt.

On the other hand, that doesn't mean each individual act isn't a nice thing anyway.

On the third hand*, my wife and I have been paying for the car behind us at toll booths for almost as long as we've been married (nearly 6 years now), without television news coverage, and without even talking about it all that much; we just do it because it feels nice and we hope the person/people in that car remembers the feeling and decides to pass it on.

So I guess what I'm saying is, be as cynical or snarky as you want about this story, but perform random acts of kindness anyway.

*what, don't you all have this many?
posted by yiftach at 10:18 PM on November 18, 2008


I pet my cat to help the economy this morning.
posted by Auden at 10:22 PM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


ed, I call "jinx"
posted by yiftach at 10:30 PM on November 18, 2008


On second thought, disregard my "fuck the world" statement. I had kind of a dower day.
posted by hellojed at 10:40 PM on November 18, 2008


yiftach - try on the gripping hand...

It's a nice gesture, sure, but, to celebrate 'meh' officially entering the English lexicon...

meh
posted by porpoise at 10:44 PM on November 18, 2008


Um, I have an older book about coffee by Claudia Roden where she claims that this is the custom parts of Greece - you pay for an extra coffee at the cafe and the proprietor can award it to a deserving person. Assuming this is true, there is evidence that such a custom can arise without evil PR people starting it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:28 PM on November 18, 2008


... being pumped out of a town called LOVELAND ...

Having lived next to Loveland for over a decade, a while back, I can assure you that LOVELAND still has its share of DICKS and ASSHOLES, just like any other city, despite its NAME. Also, it has many NICE FOLKS and FRIENDLY FOLKS.

You might be surprised to learn that places like SAN FRANCISCO and SAN DIEGO are not full of SAINTS.

Such is life.
posted by barnacles at 11:30 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not this shit again.
posted by puke & cry at 11:41 PM on November 18, 2008


No matter how hard people try, PR or not, I just can't feel good about a culture that drives its SUVs through strip-mall standalones to get $4 coffee while Rome burns. Nero fiddled it forward too.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:42 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Did you hear the one about the bank that bailed out another bank, and then that bank ....

No, I guess you didn't.
posted by dhartung at 12:04 AM on November 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


yiftach: My goodness! That is one amazing coincidence! Posted at the same time too! What's your shoe size?
posted by ed at 12:18 AM on November 19, 2008


As a PR stunt, this is a far better than say, some guy in a giant foam latte costume handing out coupons out by the freeway entrance, or some sort of ultimate fighting related nonsense.We live in a time where "accidentally" losing a videotape of yourself having sex is considered a career booster, so maybe this is one for the good guys, no matter how much you reflexively dislike Starbucks.

And what's up with the knee-jerk Starbucks haterism anyway? Yeah, monolithic ubiquitous corporations suck, blah, blah, blah. You want to know why the world is dying a slow horrible death? Step inside a Marshall's off-price clothing emporium. At least Starbucks has cookies.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:33 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Somebody ahead of me paid my toll on the Golden Gate once. It was nice.
posted by hwyengr at 12:45 AM on November 19, 2008


And ditto on the anti-starbucks hating. Until an amazing independent coffee shop opens up within 3 blocks of my building, I'm just going downstairs for coffee, thank-you-very-much.
posted by hwyengr at 12:48 AM on November 19, 2008


And what's up with the knee-jerk Starbucks haterism anyway? Yeah, monolithic ubiquitous corporations suck.

Oh, politics?

I hate Starbucks because their coffee tastes burnt.

I am a simple person.
posted by rokusan at 12:52 AM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


If people really wanted to pay it forward they'd go to Starbucks and hand out coffee that doesn't suck.
posted by loquacious at 12:53 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate Starbucks because their coffee tastes burnt.

Funny, I hate Starbucks because they leave their cream out and it gets warm, then gunky, then nasty, then funky over the course of a day. It's from a goddamned cow, people. You've got to refrigerate that shit.

Also, their cups aren't made of styrofoam, which is a vastly superior insulator for hot beverages, though not quite as good as baby seal skin.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:12 AM on November 19, 2008


This doesn't count because it's done in cars. It's easy to do something nice for someone you don't have to talk to.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:23 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Before EZ Pass I once paid for the driver behind me on a bridge. It was fifty cents. It was about as exciting as this post.
posted by fixedgear at 4:58 AM on November 19, 2008


Isn't the daisy chain an old idea?
posted by pracowity at 4:58 AM on November 19, 2008


I know it's the cool thing to hate on Starbucks these days, but can we get the bullshit and misinformation off the blue already? I'm not talking opinions, I'm talking about the recurring myths and half truths that are stated as "facts" about Starbucks.

-Starbucks coffee costs 4 dollars.
No. Starbucks coffee costs about $1.50 for a normal sized cup. It's the same price you'd pay at Dunkin' Donuts, any other regional coffee shop, or your local cafe, if you have one. You can get coffee cheaper only in places like 7-Eleven or McDonalds.

-No really, Starbucks has those fancy espresso machines and their drinks are super expensive!
Espresso drinks start at pennies more than coffee, for shots of espresso or Americanos. Drinks with milk in them (latte, cappuccino) do cost more, because milk is expensive and they require more labor to make. All the same, a small ("tall") latte costs well under $4, and no one requires you to buy one. You certainly are not required or expected to buy a Venti Triple-shot Peppermint Mocha with Whipped Cream, Sprinkles, and Jingle Bells. If you do, great for their profit margin, but seriously, why are you complaining about the price when you just ordered a hot-fudge sundae instead of a plain ice-cream cone?

-Starbucks kills local cafes!
No. Not at all. Starbucks has done more to bring quality coffee and espresso to the forefront of American culture than any other company. Their expansion model tended to buy ailing cafes and fix them up rather than opening next door and shutting them down. The real problem is that Americans like homogeneity. In towns where local culture is supported, local cafes do fine. Northampton, MA, for example, has Northampton Coffee, Woodstar Cafe, and the Haymarket doing fine, alongside 1 Starbucks, and (I believe) 3 Dunkin' Donuts.

-My local Starbucks...
Though they're all owned by the company, some are just better than others. Whether it's the folks not rotating out the cream and milk at the condiment bar, or cleaning up the bathrooms, or being nice, it's a matter of management, really. The one in the next town over might be totally fine, with friendly staff to boot.

-Their coffee is burnt.
Ok, this one's just really opinion. Their Sumatra, IMO, is too far roasted. On the other hand, a lot of their coffees taste fine to me. Then again, I like dark, roasty flavors, and enjoy Porter and Stout beers as well. If you don't like Starbucks coffee, that's fine, but it's a flavor profile they've gone for, and they're pretty damned consistent with their coffee, whether you consistently like it or hate it.

So yeah. Long rambling comment. I worked there for nearly 2 years, and I'll be happy if I never go back. I have no great love for Starbucks, but man, it bothers me when people rag on Starbucks for price when Dunkin' is charging exactly the same. They're not perfect, but as far as gigantic multi-nationals go, Starbucks is pretty much one of the best corporate citizens around, and I think they don't get enough credit because they're such an easy target.
posted by explosion at 5:01 AM on November 19, 2008 [15 favorites]


yiftack, it's called "the gripping hand"

/class derail with major nerd props.
posted by nax at 5:10 AM on November 19, 2008


Damn, on preview, porpoise (shoulda known I couldn't outnerd the blue...)
posted by nax at 5:11 AM on November 19, 2008


They also pay pretty close to fair trade prices for even their non-fair trade coffee beans, something they certainly don't have to do, and something that I don't see bandied about to boot.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:13 AM on November 19, 2008


Um, I have an older book about coffee by Claudia Roden where she claims that this is the custom parts of Greece - you pay for an extra coffee at the cafe and the proprietor can award it to a deserving person. Assuming this is true, there is evidence that such a custom can arise without evil PR people starting it.

I call shenanigans --- never heard of it, and sounds most unlikely. The six-hour discussion over who gets the coffee, and whether family ties or personal favors to the proprietor should figure into it would not be worth the price of one cup of coffee, even at Starbucks.

Then again, it may be in one of the other parts.
posted by ghost of a past number at 5:20 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


So yeah. Long rambling comment.

Yeah. Long rambling comment that totally failed to address the cream problem I mentioned.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:25 AM on November 19, 2008



Yeah. Long rambling comment that totally failed to address the cream problem I mentioned.


Mostly because that's not one of the usual gripes I hear about Starbucks. But sure, let me address you on that one. The milk and cream pitchers are washed, sanitized, left to cool, and then filled and refrigerated. They're then put out on that counter, where they are changed out hourly, or sooner if they're used up.

The pitchers themselves are similar to Thermoses, and retain temperature pretty well. Furthermore, they don't really hold that much milk anyway, maybe a pint. The rest of the volume is the rather thick walls. If your local Starbucks is leaving them out for the better part of the day, call the district manager, or complain to the store manager. Most places take this pretty seriously, since a health complaint is a big deal to the food service industry.

So yeah, every Starbucks is run differently, and some are managed pretty poorly, but a lot of them will have timers for everything, to remind the staff to brew fresh coffee, rotate the milk pitchers, and so forth. Worst case, bring up the cream to them and say, "this cream's warm and gunky," and they'll apologize profusely and grab a new one from the fridge.
posted by explosion at 5:41 AM on November 19, 2008


The local barflies sometimes buy each other a drink.
posted by Bitter soylent at 6:00 AM on November 19, 2008


I'm hoping this catches on enough to make it worth my time to become a Starbucks drive through cashier. If every customer "pays it forward" and I just pocket it, I should pull in the same revenue as Starbucks, with none of the overhead.
posted by ShadowCrash at 6:01 AM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


So, I am all in favor of people buying coffee (or food, or gas, or... or...) for the person behind them in line - in fact, I strongly encourage such tiny acts of generosity and community-building. But am I understanding correctly that the only people who monetarily benefit from this particular example are the people who break the lovely chain of kindness? That is, everyone ends up buying coffee as they initially intended (technically paying for the person behind them, but they give money, and get coffee), except for the last guy who takes the free coffee and doesn't pay for the person behind him... right? So the first person pays double, the last person gets free coffee, and everyone in the middle pays about what they expected to pay in the first place?
posted by dilettanti at 6:05 AM on November 19, 2008


This might not be Starbucks' fault.

I have heard this sort of thing suggested in churches, with places like Starbucks suggested as somewhere to practice it.

Me, I kinda think the sandwich to the homeless guy sounds a bit more on the mark...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:19 AM on November 19, 2008


I know it's the cool thing to hate on Starbucks these days, but can we get the bullshit and misinformation off the blue already?

Thank God someone is willing to defend the honor of the corporation.
posted by smackfu at 6:22 AM on November 19, 2008


explosion, now can you explain why we should like nickelback and how they are actually helping rock music as a whole? ;)
posted by snofoam at 6:39 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whether it's real or it's fake, I hate it and I would decline to participate.
posted by autodidact at 6:44 AM on November 19, 2008


Yup, still stupid.

Favorite chains are a great idea though. Let's get that started again. The next person to post should favorite my comment. The person after that should also favorite my comment, etc. When it's all over, I'll distribute the favorites in a way that maximizes good feelings and holiday cheer!
posted by diogenes at 6:54 AM on November 19, 2008


This is what I hate about Christmas; it feels good to be nice, to be charitable, to be helpful or magnanimous whenever the opportunity presents itself, but the moment it feels like it's expected of me, when there is external pressure applied, I get all resentful and petulant.

Example: once when my car threw a fan belt on the interstate and I pulled over to replace it (always carry spare belts, folks!), a truck driver pulled over and practically shoved me out of the way so he could put the new fan belt on for me. When he was done I offered him cash but he refused, saying "Next time you see someone broke down by the side of the road, you stop and help them." I have, since then, done exactly that, not because I felt like I had to "pay it forward," but because it was the right thing to do at the time. I would much rather that truck driver had taken the fucking cash I offered him, rather than laying that "pay it forward" bullshit on me.

I'll be kind when and where the spirit moves me, not when someone else tells me to.
posted by Restless Day at 7:29 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thomas Kinkade paintings for some, $4 lattes for others!

*croud cheers*
posted by chugg at 7:36 AM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have heard this sort of thing suggested in churches, with places like Starbucks suggested as somewhere to practice it.

It sounds very Oprah-esque, too. Didn't she once pull a stunt on her show where she went to a toll booth and paid for the next 10 people behind her or something?

But yeah, as a "chain" concept it doesn't really work. For one thing it assumes each person is only buying one coffee. If I'm going in for a plain coffee for myself, that's about $2. If I get told "the person ahead of you paid for yours" that's cool. If I then get asked if I'd like to pay for the person behind me, and the person behind me is the ditsy secretary who's been sent with a list of 8 espresso drinks for her entire office, each of which takes a full minute just to recite all the custom options - yeah, no, I'm not paying for all that when I came in there just for my own coffee. (I might feel different if I was as rich as Oprah. But I ain't.)
posted by dnash at 7:43 AM on November 19, 2008


OMG I GAVE THE GIFT OF $3.75 AND RECEIVED THE GIFT OF A FRAPPUCINO SOMEBODY CALL CNN
posted by designbot at 8:05 AM on November 19, 2008


This is nonsense. I know because if I pulled up to a drive through window and the cashier told me "there's no charge, the guy in front of you paid," I would take my free coffee, give the guy in front a wave and a grin if he was still in view, and tool on out of there with a free cup of joe and a smile.

I'm pretty sure I am not a particularly huge jerk. No more jerky than the next person, at any rate. So they are, I guarantee, doing something at the window to "suggest" that customers do the same for the person behind them. I.e. guilt you into it. So it's managed, so it's PR. So it's bullshit. So it goes.

Given those circumstances, I'd definitely decline to pay for the person behind me. Because screw them. What's wrong with selling items for a price? I didn't come for a morning cup of PR bullshit, thanks. (Plus, we'd have to assume I was in need of coffee at the time, and I'm, let's say, not at my very perkiest at such times.)
posted by rusty at 8:24 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


CNN: CHAIN OF HOLIDAY COFFEE GIVING BROKEN BY PARTICULARLY HUGE JERK... OPRAH "VERY DISAPPOINTED."
posted by Tehanu at 8:27 AM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm so ashamed. Especially after CNNN outed me as the guy who didn't Ba-rock the vote. Can't win for losing.
posted by rusty at 8:55 AM on November 19, 2008


Take my hand, come with me baby to Loveland
Let me show you how sweet it can be, paying for somebody else's coffee with meee
posted by First Post at 8:59 AM on November 19, 2008


Starbucks kills local cafes!
No. Not at all. Starbucks has done more to bring quality coffee and espresso to the forefront of American culture than any other company. Their expansion model tended to buy ailing cafes and fix them up rather than opening next door and shutting them down
'

Not in my town (Columbus, OH). Local coffee shops were thriving before Starbucks moved in about ten years ago. Then Starbucks stores popped up next to the successful local chain Stauf's all over town. Bexley? Starbucks two doors down. German Village? Across the street. Short North? Ditto. Grandview? Down the block. Now, Stauf's merely survives, and the independents have been dying off in part from market saturation. The Coffee Table closed down in the spring; Cafe Kerouac is in trouble; Anton, the owner of Cafe Apropos, told me that he hasn't been profitable in a year and that he's going to have to raise prices (he's independently wealthy); and the Luck Brothers business is down tremendously from what I've seen. Of course, economic times are bad, but these shops would be thriving if Starbucks packed up and went away; the market is there.

(I spend 20 to 30 hours a week in coffee shops)
posted by Kwine at 9:24 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


we have a regular that puts $20 on a gift card every so often and asks the register barista to use it throughout the day to buy drinks of "people that might need a shot of happy" she does this because she assumes it will go toward creating goodwill, not because she's expecting the next person in line to do the same. as far as i know, she is not a part of the secret seattle coffee mafia, but why don't you all shit on her idea too. because no one does nice things in a place like starbucks without it directly benefiting the corporation, unless they are mindless drones.
posted by ms.jones at 9:52 AM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Starbucks doesn't kill local cafes, people who go to Starbucks kill local cafes.

To be fair no one forces anyone to buy coffee there.
posted by Sargas at 10:27 AM on November 19, 2008


because no one does nice things in a place like starbucks without it directly benefiting the corporation, unless they are mindless drones

Sounds like you need some coffee.
posted by smackfu at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


we have a regular that puts $20 on a gift card every so often and asks the register barista to use it throughout the day to buy drinks of "people that might need a shot of happy"

I'm totally doing this next time I go to my local place. Except I don't think they have gift certificates, but if it's one of the baristas I know, I'll see if she can arrange it without creating too much hassle for herself.

Starbucks kills local cafes!
No. Not at all. Starbucks has done more to bring quality coffee and espresso to the forefront of American culture than any other company. Their expansion model tended to buy ailing cafes and fix them up rather than opening next door and shutting them down'


The two or three local shops I frequent around here are always busier than Starbucks, and I would guess that many of their customers were introduced to coffee\espresso drinks by Starbucks. Furthermore, most people I've known who work at Starbucks were treated well and received benefits and reasonable pay. I don't like their coffee very much (tastes burnt to me), but as a company, it seems like they're better than many.

They also pay pretty close to fair trade prices for even their non-fair trade coffee beans, something they certainly don't have to do, and something that I don't see bandied about to boot.

Isn't fair trade also about promising that the growers will get a larger percentage of the money?
posted by !Jim at 12:02 PM on November 19, 2008


So I guess what I'm saying is, be as cynical or snarky as you want about this story, but perform random acts of kindness anyway.

i'm paying it forward by re-posting the best comment in this thread.
posted by CitizenD at 2:42 PM on November 19, 2008


Worst case, bring up the cream to them and say, "this cream's warm and gunky," and they'll apologize profusely and grab a new one from the fridge.

Yeah, that'd probably work.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:07 PM on November 19, 2008


the ditsy secretary who's been sent with a list of 8 espresso drinks

Jeez, what'd secretaries ever do to you? (Other than bring you and the rest of your office customized coffees?)
posted by naoko at 4:12 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know it's the cool thing to hate on Starbucks these days...

We're not having this conversation are we? If Starbucks is to be the stepping stone from Maxwell House to the uncharted Elysian fields of proper coffee connoisseurship, then they have achieved all they are capable of and, like GM, deserve to reap the sort of market they sow. Their deserved collapse could open the playing field for the Intelligentias and 49 Parallels of the world to get their due. I don't say this out of hipster crypto-conspiratorial malice, I just would really like to be able to get a decent cup of coffee when I'm out of the house.
posted by kaspen at 10:10 PM on November 19, 2008


Random acts of kindness are cool and all, but as we talked about last year, this is NOT random, and it's not a kindness. No one leaves the shop with a "Hey, that nice guy bought me a drink" feeling because they're still paying for a drink.

I'm all for random acts of kindness, but this is just bullshit PR.
posted by graventy at 7:24 AM on November 20, 2008


Not in my town (Columbus, OH).
posted by Kwine


Then your town is the exception, and your local cafes shitty.

Starbucks doesn't kill local cafes, people who go to Starbucks kill local cafes.
posted by Sargas


Exactly how ignorant do you have to be when you're told this isn't true, able to find studies that show it not to be true, and yet still spout if out like some mindless robot?
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:23 PM on November 26, 2008


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