The Community Called Starbucks

Friends don't let friends ...There’s a little campaign going on out there. It’s the Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks thing. Until yesterday I had no idea! I guess from the blogs and other online references I’ve seen it’s a political statement to say so. Along with it’s tee-shirts, bumper stickers and cups promoting the theory, there’s even multiple Facebook pages dedicated to the subject. The numbers vary but of the 18 different pages I counted only one is worth mentioning with a whopping 332 elite members (you have to ask permission to join). Most of the others show membership on the low (3) to very low-side (1). Of the more than 750-million active Facebook users only 1100 have joined the Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks bandwagon.

The reasons for the outrage vary from the glib, to the serious, to the nonsensical — or maybe it’s all nonsense. A few motives cited include corporate irresponsibility: lousy and/or expensive coffee: hatred for anything Starbucks: or as one competitor states, a means to “push” their own brand. Not wanting to get too political in my posts I’ll only say I have a differing point of view. Besides, none of this has much to do with the subject as my title indicates above. It’s all just a side show, more accurately a freak show that serves me well as a point of introduction regarding the community called Starbucks.

The affable Starbucks founder Howard Schultz created quite the phenomenon when he shaped the ubiquitous Howard Schultz - Starbucks Founder & CEOStarbucks Coffee shops into the force they’ve become today. His stores are communities within their neighborhoods. A regular gathering place for the areas movers and shakers, the policy makers, the wannabes as well as the misfits. Society’s most beautiful people often frequent their local Starbucks just to see and to be seen. I’ve had the opportunity on a number of occasions to stand in Schultz’ company in conversation with him. The experience leads me to think maybe this sense of community has something to do with his down-to-earth nature and his propensity to want to visit and talk with people. Nothing happens by accident at Starbucks.

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