never been a big Starbucks fanatic. Caffeine makes me feel kind of freakish
and it generally irritates my stomach, so the mega-chain and I really
didn’t seem to be a good match. I have to admit, the mega-chain
philosophy (companies like Wal-Mart, CVS, Starbucks) has never been particularly
appealing to me.
I liked the idea of experiencing different regional cultures — even
within the boundaries of our own country. It used to be pretty easy to
find one-of-a-kind restaurants and stores while traveling — it was
an addition to the adventure. You got to experience something in one place
that you couldn’t find in another.
The world’s not like that so much anymore. It appears most of America
likes the idea of cookie-cutter culture. Small family-owned restaurants,
drug and retail stores are a thing of the past.
The mega-chains have the capability to undercut the little guy with bigger
buying power and lower prices. I resent that. I feel like corporate America
basically squashed a nifty part of the country’s culture.
Nevertheless, I’m not totally anti-Starbucks. My partner always makes
a trek to the coffeeshop around the corner on weekend mornings. He says
he needs the caffeine to get him going for the projects around the house.
Sometimes I’ll go with him and get an iced decafe.
This past week a story came across my desk that — despite my reservation
about corporate mega-giants drumming out small business owners — made
me change my feelings about Starbucks.
As it turns out, Starbucks was a sponsor of Seattle’s gay Pride.
What’s more — they’ve sponsored several regional gay
Pride celebrations across the country.
According to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, around 75 Starbucks
employees marched in the recent Seattle Pride parade, wearing T-shirts
in rainbow colors with the word “PRIDE” on the front, with
a Starbuck’s company van following behind. The following day, Starbucks
employees passed out samples of Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino to Pride festival-goers.
“We’re committed to supporting things that matter to our employees
and our customers,” said Heywood McGuffee, Starbucks marketing manager
for Washington state.
But wait — there’s more.
Starbucks’ relatively new “The way I see it campaign” prints
quotes from actors, artists, writers and other culturally notable individuals
on the back of their paper cups. Among the vastly good, liberal progressive
thinkers are individuals like environmentalist Dennis Hayes, composer Quincy
Jones and gay writer Armistead Maupin.
Here’s the kicker.
Seems the company’s gay-supportive attitude has finally gotten to
be way too much for Concerned Women of America. That’s right, one
of those annoying ultra-conservative anti-gay organizations wants its flock
to rise up and smite the coffee giant for being way too gay. Concerned
Women of America and others like the American Family Association and Focus
on the Family are also calling for boycotts on Kraft products, the Ford
Motor Company, Nike and Allstate Insurance.
In response to Starbucks’ cup campaign and their support for San
Diego gay Pride, CWA hack Meghan Kleppinger has this to say about the company
on the CWA website:
“...Starbucks [is] sponsoring “Pride” week...an event that
places innocent children in the middle of sexually explicit materials ... and
all I could think was “Starbucks hates children.”
Kleppinger goes on to rationalize her chain of thought by pointing out
Starbucks’ sponsorship of the pro-choice organization Planned Parenthood
and donations made to a “liberal candidate.”
Is anybody as tired of this $#@% as I am?
On behalf of millions of angry queers everywhere here’s what I have
to say to all the right-wing zealots that want to take gay off the American
culture map and the companies they’re trying to intimidate: I always
buy Kraft cheese and my partner must have 20 pairs of Nikes. You better
damn well believe I’ll keep driving him to Starbucks in my Allstate-insured