I made a post about Starbucks last night that has generated far more traffic than I anticipated and ruffled a few feathers. Here’s the deal. As I said before, it really should come as no surprise. Starbucks, up to this point, has been neither friend nor foe to the firearms community. Because they chose to openly state they were going to obey the law, they started taking heat from anti-gun folks who believed the company to be a largely liberal-leaning organization.
That was bad enough but, then a bunch of folks decided to poke the anti-gun folks in the eye by staging “Starbucks Appreciation Days.” That wouldn’t be a problem except that it unlike the Chick-fil-A appreciation days for their Christian stance, it actually ended up driving more customers away from Starbucks than it brought in. Counter protests and social media campaigns by the anti-gun folks did nothing to help matters.
In the end, the company’s operations were being impacted and they were loosing money when these events happened. It’s a publicly traded corporation that has to answer to its shareholders. The company is trying to take a stand to answer shareholder concerns and yet stay out of a very public debate. Unfortunately, any public stance they take is going to be a problem for one side or the other. Quite honestly, if they’d simply chosen to say nothing publicly, they would have been better off all the way around.
Read the CEO’s letter. And the memo to their employees. They have not banned guns but, if you actually look at what’s being addressed here, it’s the open carry issue. While not banning firearms outright but, they still ask that that firearms not be brought into the store and one can infer that the mean those carried openly as they have no way of knowing a gun is present if said gun is concealed. They go on to instruct their employees that people are still welcome even if carrying a firearm (again, the only way they’d know is if you did so openly) and that they should not confront anyone who is carrying a firearm nor should they ask that person to leave because they are carrying a firearm. While some will see it as a wishy-washy policy, in essence it says, “please don’t bring your political fights to our stores.”
Furthermore, Starbucks specifically instructs their employees to leave customers alone unless they are disruptive. The instructions go on to say that even if someone is carrying a firearm and a customer becomes offended by this, Starbucks has instructed their employees not to ask anyone to leave. Again, only if someone is being disruptive should they be asked to leave. That’s a policy common to all establishments open to the public. Most would consider reasonable regardless of political stance. In fact, it’s a policy that could result in the anti-gun party being the one who is asked to leave.
As members of the firearms community, we certainly can choose to boycott Starbucks. But if I didn’t make this clear before, that’s a numbers game we will not currently win. Everyone has to make their own decision. Some folks will actually continue to patronize Starbucks while others take umbrage and take their money elsewhere. I’m not a Starbucks customer because I’ve never gotten into the coffee addiction so this policy has no impact on my life. But as I’ve watched the Open Carry movement, I am constantly reminded of scenes of the 1960s and the height of the Civil Rights movement when similar actions by the Black Panthers led to California beginning it’s slippery fall into being the anti-gun state it is today. All I can say is tread lightly. We have every right to swing our fists in anger but, that right generally stops at the next guys nose and he’s got every right to ask that we not swing our fists in his shop.