Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Starbucks And Your Gun: Congratulations, Idiots.

     It appears to me that a broad coalition of gun-controllers and in-your-face open carriers have managed to change Starbuck's long-standing neutrality on the lawful carrying of firearms in their coffee shops.

     Oh, they're still standing by their observance of state and federal law; if you can lawfully carry in the location where you find a Starbucks, you can carry right up to the counter and order yourself a treat; but they're asking you -- us! -- to not bring openly-carried (or even concealed, though if you're doing it right....) guns into the store.

     CEO Howard Schultz expressed, well, annoyance about his stores being made a debating stage, citing both sides for "uncivil rhetoric" and "friction," pointing out the "disingenuous"-ness of claiming the coffee giant is a champion of open carry.

     There are times to, as it were, scare the white folk and there are times not to.  We had a major retailer that was aggressively neutral and the Bradys and the "I have a right to carry an AR-15 here!" people managed to collude, however inadvertently, to change that.  Starbuck's is still kind of neutral; they're no happier with the Mommies Against Bangety Badness than they are with Joe Tacti-cute but they're sending a clear warning: ramp it down.  Coffee shops are not the village green.

     Starbucks sells coffee. They don't sell political philosophy. Not yours, not mine, not Josh Horwitz's or uncle Wayne LaPierre's.  Like Orwell's rifle hanging over the freeholder's fireplace, our job remains what it should always have been: to see that it stays that way. Instead it's hanging by the sling from one peg.  The anti-rights types are going to spin this as a win -- and we can't unspin it with more Open Carry Theatre.  You can vote with your dollars, the same way you do with any other business and the same way you should've been all along.

     (Text of the Howard Schultz news release here, along with a round-up of gun blog posts on the issue.)


Earl said...

Long before Starbucks, when coffee houses were beds of political discussion and philosophy -- England built an empire on them.

Of course the fact that data entry devices are in all the customer pockets and bags, may mean that 'texting only NO Coversation' become the rule.

Anonymous said...

Meh. They sell coffee. It's their core business, and anything that takes their focus away from selling coffee is something they have the right, really the obligation, to minimize as soon as possible. They were open minded enough to allow us to OC into their stores till we started being a pain in the a$$ about it, and that's enough for me.


Wayne Conrad said...

"I have a right to carry an AR-15 here!" people...

I haven't followed the Starbucks thing closely. Were there people carrying AR-15's into Starbucks?

Sabra said...

Were there people carrying AR-15's into Starbucks?

Probably not many, but I did see one photo of it on Facebook. And while they may have been the only people doing it, the photo was shared enough to make it seem much more prevalent.

Wayne Conrad said...

@Sabra, Thanks.

That seems like a suboptimal strategy. I think that open carry can be a useful political tool, but needs to be done with some thought to be effective. It doesn't sound like it was well thought out, and it certainly did not appear to be effective.

I feel a bit like I'm caught in the middle. I open carry, but not--I like to think--in your face, and I didn't participate in the Starbucks thing because it seemed pushy. But now Starbucks is off the table for me. Thanks, pushy people.

At the same time, I've got no sympathy for Starbucks. They could have just as easily told the anti-rights people to get over it as they did tell the pro-rights people to stop carrying there. They picked the anti-rights team, so they don't get my money. Their choice, my choice.

Matthew said...


The maroons held -many- OC rifle and/or tactical thigh rig events at Starbucks. To "show appreciation" for Starbucks just abiding by state law.

The final straw was when they planned an "Appreciation Day" event, with rifles, at the Starbucks in Newton, CT of all places last month.

They picked the damn fight, deliberately.

The store of course closed that day to avoid the ensuing inevitable confrontation between dumb and dumber.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

They've never gotten my money (or much of it) anyway. Burned coffee and fru-fru lattes aren't interesting to me.

I have a friend who does Amway (!) and the drip-blend coffee he gets from them tastes better out of a plain old Mr. Coffee than anything I ever drank from Starbucks.

But yeah, heck of a job, guys.

perlhaqr said...

Wayne: They could have just as easily told the anti-rights people to get over it as they did tell the pro-rights people to stop carrying there. They picked the anti-rights team, so they don't get my money.

We had effectively already won. I mean, short of putting up "We love Gunnies!" signs, it's kinda hard to go much beyond "We follow local laws regarding legal carry of firearms." as a retail establishment. And since in Texas, you can quite legally put up a sign banning carry--and have it carry the force of law behind it--and they hadn't done so, they had actually come down pretty far on our side. (I picked Texas because it's the one place where I know the law--"30.06" of all things--has a specification for the signs and the signs carry the force of law.)

Yes, the antis were whining about it. And they organized a boycott that was utterly ineffective, so once again, we had already won. And then we (I didn't participate, but sadly, I pretty much have to admit that these folks are on my team) went and were such complete assholes, instead of just quietly gloating at having already won and the pitiful mewling of the antis, that Starbucks was forced to tell us to stop using their stores as a protest area.

I'm already not much of a coffee guy, so it's not like this is going to change my habits much, but even if I was a dedicated Starbucks drinker, I couldn't really fault them on this too hard. We showed our asses on this, and we got called on it.