Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, August 22, 2005

Starbucks Responds To Maupin Quote

In an earlier post, I described a friend's displeasure at finding a pro-homosexuality quote on the side of his coffee cup at Starbucks. He emailed in a complaint and received this response:

Thanks for taking the time to write about "The Way I See It." Starbucks has long been dedicated to creating a unique "third place" between home and work. We also draw on the centuries-old tradition of the coffeehouse as a place to gather, share ideas, and enjoy delicious beverages. We see this program as an extension of the coffeehouse culture - a way to promote open, respectful conversation among a wide variety of individuals.

Because this program is meant to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas, your feedback is very important. In fact, it's a vital part of the conversation.

I can understand that you do not appreciate it when political speech that you disagree with appears in "The Way I See It." Our goal with "The Way I See It" is to create a fair and balanced forum for discussion. To do this, we have invited authors representing a wide range of views. Not everybody we have invited has chosen to participate, but we will continue to make this program an inclusive one.

We also invite all customers to contribute their own quotes for consideration, and to give us feedback in our "letters to the editor" section on the website. If you would like to contribute a quote for the cup, or to respond to a particular cup you've seen, please feel free to do so!

Jessica (
Customer Relations Representative
Starbucks Coffee Company
Well, she asked, didn't she? If you feel compelled to send along your own quote for Starbuck's consideration, please do so -- and pass it along to me via the Comments section of this post.

Here's my email to Jessica:

Dear Jessica:

I posted your response to Steve E. on my blog, and I wonder if you could provide a bit more information to help me sort this matter out.

If Starbucks is truly showing a representative cross-section of viewpoints on its cups to further conversation, the inclusion a pro-homosexual quote is more understandable – although still wrong, I feel, because you should not interject sexuality into a product that is often used by youngsters (all those kids I see in Starbucks with their moms and dads, drinking hot chocolate).

So, please let me know where I can find a compilation of all the quotes you’ve used. And also, please specifically address Starbuck’s position on presenting sexual material to youngsters.

I do appreciate Starbuck’s desire to create a “place” in its stores, and your answers to these questions will be greatly appreciated.