The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, pulled a pretty clever maneuver last week. He instituted a policy saying that legally permitted guns would be allowed in his outlets, but they really weren’t welcome. Here’s a pretty good piece on his Open Letter and comments from the Wall Street Journal.
Now this is why this is so clever as a marketing maneuver: Starbucks clientele is overwhelmingly Liberal in their political persuasion, regardless of their postal code. I would peg it at over 70% self-identifying that way, and accordingly supporting strong restrictions, if not outright ownership bans.
However , that leaves, maybe 30% who, even if they don’t own a gun, are more likely Conservatives in their political philosophy and feel pretty strongly that ownership and right-to-carry is protected somewhere in the U.S Constitution’s 2nd Amendment.And, the inconvenient truth is that open-carry of handguns is permitted in 44 or the 50 United States.
Soooo, there’s a bit of a problem for Howard.
Does Starbucks try to prohibit guns being carried openly in their outlets by a not inconsequential number of their regular customers (not to mention at the same time putting Starbucks unarmed baristas in the frontline position of enforcing something seen as legal by gun-toting, latte-seeking individuals standing at the counter with their .44 magnums)?
Or do they more or less cave to their dominant customer audience, the same crew who, in the main, believe global warming is the most horrific threat facing mankind, that marijuana should be legal and that all cars should only run on wind or solar. (OK, I kinda jumped the shark on that last description, but you get the picture.)
Well, that’s why Starbucks took the Wisdom of Solomon route. In Schultz’s words, the policy effectively “give(s) responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request,”but doesn’t ban or prohibit them.
So there you have it! Starbucks is on the record as not encouraging “gunslingers” to bring weapons into their stores, BUT … firmly, well, sorta firmly as recognizing the Constitutionally-protected customers’ right to do so.
Let the butterscotch lattes and cinnamon cappuccinos roll!