So last Friday, an Open Letter entitled “How Can America Win This Election?” was posted on the Starbucks Responsibility page by “Howard S”, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Starbucks.  [Here’s the link: How-can-america-win-this-election]  Already two schools of thought have developed around this post.  

One is exemplified by a comment yesterday on Business Insider [sell-a-lot-of-brownies] which speculates that the letter will do little more than sell product for Starbucks.  While the comment offers faint praise, it generally dismisses the letter’s call to action as vague and therefore of little import.  Funny, I’d think that the advertising world might see the predicted outcome (brownie sales) as a good thing, and if Howard Schultz accomplishes nothing more, it seems to this writer that his shareholders should not only applaud but ask that he do the same thing again -- and soon!  Maybe advertisers are distressed because he’s (presumably) done this without paying them to ghostwrite?

The other is a sort of general relief and positive response, at least as witnessed at a few Starbucks stores since the letter appeared.  I suspect many of Starbucks’ customers (and a fair number of non-caffeinated as well) identify with, and appreciate, a few of the points the letter makes.  A few samples:

I am a product of that American Dream. As a kid who grew up in public housing, went on to get an education at a state university and build a business, I am grateful for what this country has made possible for me.

I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit.

... as citizens, let’s all get more involved. Please, don’t be a bystander. Understand that we have a shared responsibility in solving our nation’s problems.

Recall that some of the criticisms fault Mr Schultz for not recommending more specific policies/remedies/solutions.  I, for one, applaud him.  While Starbucks has an agenda, as do we all, Howard Schultz is trying as hard as possible NOT to foist his agenda on the citizenry/voters/consumers except to elevate the level of discussion and involvement.  At the heart of this letter, it seems to me, are two somewhat quaint notions, at least notions which seem quaint if one listens to too much cable news and talk radio: (1) none of us is as smart or strong as all of us, and (2) therefore we need to address the issues bedeviling all (and each) of us in order to get along.  The letter notes two key issues -- jobs and lack of veterans’ support; it could identify many more, but then it’d be a book.

Remarkably, and unlike a long list of talking heads, Howard Schultz is less interested in telling us how he’d solve the problems than in asking that we each play a role in the solution(s).  I, for one, appreciate his restraint -- so rare these days -- and echo his request.

Remember, one of the truisms of this world is that no one gets out alive, so we might as well make it as pleasant and functional as possible -- for everyone.  After all, we’re not so much independent beings as interdependent beings, so, to paraphrase an old Gene Roddenberry line, “we might as well get good at it.

Views: 48

Tags: interdependence, marketing, partisanship


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service