Archive for May, 2012

The “Dump Starbucks” campaign—What are your thoughts?

I usually try to stay away from hot button political and religious debates via social media, but I came across a YouTube video today that got me thinking. Watch the video below.

The video doesn’t do a great job of explaining the background of the “Dump Starbucks” movement, so I Googled it and came across a website for the campaign. Unbeknownst to me, Starbucks apparently released a public statement back in January in support of gay marriage. Feathers were ruffled, and a group banded together in protest and launched an online petition.

It wasn’t so much the issue on whether gay marriage is right or wrong that got me thinking, but rather the logic behind the entire Dump Starbucks campaign in the first place. I find the logic very flawed. Here’s why.

  1. It’s unclear to me whether Dump Starbucks protesters are more upset about gay marriage or the fact that Starbucks has taken an open stance on it. Perhaps it’s a combination of both, but I have to believe that gay marriage in general is at the core. To me, they’re barking up the wrong tree. Wouldn’t it be more effective to channel your anti-gay marriage efforts to law makers as opposed to honing in on a coffee company?
  2. By buying a cup of Starbucks coffee, then walking outside and dumping in a sewer, a Dump Starbucks supporter is essentially funding the very source of the entire protest. Wouldn’t a more impactful form of protest be to just not buy Starbucks coffee in the first place, and urging others to do the same?
  3. As you can see at 0:51 in the video, the pastor appears to have added a caveat that pouring coffee down a sewer could be harmful to the environment. Are Dump Starbucks supports really that passionate about the movement that they’re willing destroy the environment in the process? Seems totally counterproductive to me. I found the “Sorry, earth” comment with the little frowny face next to it to be both laughable and disturbing at the same time.
  4. According to the Dump Starbucks homepage, “Starbucks has deeply offended at least half its US customers, and the vast majority of its international customers.” Oh, really? Half? Starbucks has 12,811 US and 6,744 international locations serving more than 60 million customers each week. I would argue that only a fraction of Starbucks’ customers are even aware of the company’s stance on gay marriage. Making up and/or grossly overestimating statistics is not an effective way of gaining support.

I won’t go to all of this trouble without telling you what my personal stance on gay marriage is. I feel that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I have no problem with strong efforts of support on either side of this debate, but if you’re going to protest something, you need to be sending clear messages as to what and why you’re protesting, without highlighting your stance with ridiculously exaggerated statistics.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What do you think of the Dump Starbucks movement?