Saturday, March 21, 2015

Re Discussions of Race at Starbucks

My first reaction was 'Huh?' That still pretty much covers it, since it's very hard to see the point of this.

From a business standpoint, it looks like a loser, since I don't think many people go out to eat or drink hoping to discuss political/social issues with their server. I sure don't.

It's also tough to see how this can accomplish anything real positive about race relations; there's unlikely to be much give-and-take in the discussions – on the rare occasions I've been in a Starbucks, the clientele seems heavily skewed to upper middle-class white twenty- and thirty-somethings whose thoughts on racial issues seem unlikely to differ much from the gender-studies and art history majors who will be preaching to them. Of course, that might well be the point – it could be that this is simply an opportunity for the company to preen in front of its core demographic. Ben & Jerry's has done well with this approach.

There is another possible benefit – some folks who have never visited a Starbucks might be tempted to go there just to have an opportunity to tell the barista to STFU. Hey, companies lay out lots of marketing bucks to get non-customers to try their products, this could be a relatively cheap way to accomplish the goal.

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