Starbucks' decision to allow the non-paying public unlimited access to its cafes is very inclusive of them. It resonates with the "feel good" liberals whose main quest in life is to provide a compassionate and tolerant path for all Americans.
But the coffee mega-corporation may have taken their “progressive” smugness too far. It is one thing to provide good public relations, and another to live with that decision. And to think it all began from a minor incident in a Philadelphia location.
It is human nature to be welcoming to strangers. It is quite another to retain that natural emotion when you are running a business. The old Aesop tale of the camel’s nose in the tent is an excellent reference for the corporate giant’s decision to allow non-paying customers to basically loiter.
But CEO and compassionate Howard Schultz took it a step further. He decided it would be an excellent idea to close more than 8,000 shops for a half-day last Tuesday for racial-bias training.
The rumor is Schultz is looking to run for the presidency in 2020. This may be a ploy to win the far left’s hearts and minds. Nevertheless, it is an expensive way to do so by insisting 175,000 partners and employees go along with it.
It was an estimated $12 million business decision. That was the response to the widely circulated news of two African-American men being arrested last month at a Philadelphia Starbucks.
A dubious idea that a one-day diversity awareness workshop will change anything. But it makes liberals feel good and provides their platform of being a step ahead in the social environment and their view of America.
There are many among us who would call such an endeavor a “reeducation camp.” But Schultz has let the genie out of the bottle and business professionals everywhere will be watching the inevitable business reality fallout.
It is a certainty that many of the franchise owners are annoyed by this casual attitude toward what the definition of a customer is. The idea regular customers will cozy up to this form of inclusiveness with the great unwashed is a pipe dream at best. Most paying customers at Starbucks are not there to reenact a bus terminal environment.
That general opinion is almost a guarantee for the downtrodden seeking refuge from the elements. The CEO of Starbucks may have taken his view of the world one step too far. Peddling back his dictum may prove a dicey proposition.
Most public and private establishments are seeking ways to prevent the homeless from using their facilities. The idea of these people making these establishments their own private quarters is archaic at best. Fast-food outlets, libraries, and other public locations are struggling to prevent this sort of behavior.
Non-paying, disrespectful “customers” are bound to be a hindrance to return business, particularly in suburban, residential, and rural areas. Those are areas of the country not accustomed to discarded needles, drug addicted souls, and public urination.
Public restrooms have become ground zero in the opioid epidemic. While such facilities are on the decline due to this fact, Starbucks is essentially providing an alternative refuge surrounded by paying customers for the indigent.
Howard Schultz did not become a multi-millionaire being a bad businessman. Earlier last month he publicly recognized that his decision may have drawbacks. That could be the understatement of 2018. But he added that he didn’t want anybody to feel as if they were “less than.”
Therein lies the vast divide between liberal and conservative. Pragmatism meets Progressivism. It may be important for Mr. Schultz to exude an image of tolerance and inclusion to his base of support, but is it a practical business decision?
The Starbucks CEO has already found it necessary to backtrack a bit. The new policy has been clarified to say, “Starbucks space” is provided for those who “behave in a manner that maintains a warm and welcoming environment.”
It can be easily construed that Howard has consulted with lawyers for that nebulous wording. Before this inclusive, compassionate, and tolerant progressive is through with his new policy, there may be a whole lot of new wording and lawyers.
Dwight L. Schwab, Jr. is an award-winning national political and foreign affairs columnist and published author. He has spent over 35 years in the publishing industry. His long-running articles include many years at Examiner.com and currently Newsblaze.com. Dwight is an author of two highly acclaimed books, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selected Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014" and "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Election in History." He is a native of Portland, Oregon, a journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, and a resident of the SF Bay Area. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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