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Starbucks cups to come with a political message


NEW YORK >> Starbucks is using its coffee cups to jump into the political fray in Washington.

The world's biggest coffee chain is asking employees at cafes in the Washington, D.C. area to scribble the words "Come Together" on cups for drink orders. CEO Howard Schultz says the words are intended as a message to lawmakers about the damage being caused by the divisive negotiations over the "fiscal cliff."

It's the first time employees at Starbucks cafes are being asked to write anything other than customers' names on cups.

While companies generally steer clear of politics to avoid alienating customers, the plea to "Come Together" is a sentiment unlikely to cause controversy. If anything, Starbucks could score points with customers and burnish its image as a socially conscious company.

This isn't the first time the coffee chain is using its platform to send a political message. In the summer of 2011, Schultz also asked other CEOs and the public to stop making campaign contributions until politicians found a way to deal with a crisis over the debt ceiling that led to a downgrade in the country's credit rating.

For the latest push, Starbucks is taking out an ad in the Washington Post on Thursday showing a cup with the words "Come Together" on it.

The "fiscal cliff" refers to the steep tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1, unless the White House and Congress reach an agreement to avoid them.

As for whether customers will be confused by the "Come Together" message or understand that it's related to the fiscal cliff, Schultz said in an interview that there's wide public awareness about the negotiations and that Starbucks will use social media to explain the effort. The Seattle-based company says test runs at select stores showed operations wouldn't be slowed.

Schultz says the message is a way to underscore the damage being done to the "consumer psyche and behavior" by the talks. Although he says Starbucks sales haven't been affected, he points out that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Mike Duke warned that fears over the fiscal cliff could cause Americans to pull back on holiday spending. Early figures have shown a relatively weak shopping season.

As for the negotiations, Schultz isn't taking any sides on the issues of tax increases or spending cuts.

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onevoice82 wrote:
I would prefer if Starbucks would stick to coffee procurement! I do not need barista's writing nonsense on my cup and I will be bringing a personal coffee mug from now on just to avoid this silliness!
on December 26,2012 | 04:28AM
9ronboz wrote:
on December 26,2012 | 06:30AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Starbucks is in the coffee selling business. The customers are in the procurement business.
on December 26,2012 | 06:30PM
false wrote:
Not going to Starbucks after such Rude Service provided in Las Vegas. Rude beyond words in two events to two different persons. Coffee can be gotten in friendlier places.
on December 26,2012 | 05:11AM
IAmSane wrote:
Who cares?
on December 26,2012 | 07:40AM
oktink wrote:
When we go over the "fiscal cliff" how much will coffee prices go up? Hmmm...
on December 26,2012 | 05:24AM
Jireton wrote:
Go Starbucks! Whatever it takes for Congress to grow up and do the job they are elected and being paid to do.
on December 26,2012 | 05:27AM
false wrote:
Free country... let them do what they want. I am also free to vote with my wallet. YES I will or NO I won't buy your coffee. LOL
on December 26,2012 | 06:07AM
IAmSane wrote:
I'm sure they'll be crying themselves to the bank.
on December 26,2012 | 07:41AM
Wardog wrote:
Your probably one of the idiots who spends $5 on coffee...
on December 26,2012 | 09:37AM
onevoice82 wrote:
Where did this $5 coffee myth come from. Starbucks sells their regular roast medium sized coffee for around $2/per cup. It's not fair to bunch all the specialty drinks they sell into one blanket statement that starbucks coffee cost $5/cup. And no, I am not an employ or owner, just a regular joe who understands good coffee.
on December 26,2012 | 10:20AM
busterb wrote:
They should put, "eh brah, you no wen go vote, so no huhu about da fiscal pali."
on December 26,2012 | 08:37AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Best comment of the day!
on December 26,2012 | 06:32PM
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