Ok, here is the deal with Starbucks and Iraq. I have no interest in debate, whether pro or con via the war, the nation is divided on this, so 50/50 we are going to be arguing the same points back and forth. It is not our jobs, to make each other "get it". Ya dig?
I get a lot of emails about this, so for the sake of clarity, I'll just write one page. Forgive me for not having a timeline, but this is the order of events as they unfolded.
An email was sent by a Marine that said this or something similar:
>>From a U.S. Marine:
"Recently Marines in Iraq wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to let them know how much they liked their coffees and to request that they send some of it to the troops
Starbucks replied, telling the Marines thank you for their support in their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war, nor anyone in it , and that they would not
send the troops their brand of coffee.
So as not to offend Starbucks, we should not support them
by buying any of their products. As a war vet writing to fellow patriots, I
feel we should get this out in the open. I know this war might not be very
popular with some folks, but that doesn't mean we don't support the boys on
the ground fighting street-to-street and house-to-house for what they and I
believe is right. If you feel the same as I do then pass this along, or you
can discard it and no one will never know. Thanks very much for your support
of me, and I know you'll all be there again when I deploy once more.
Sgt Howard C. Wright
1st Force Recon Co
1st Plt PLT RTO
The email was said to have been started as a hoax, why it was started I have never been able to find out.
Starbucks also sent out emails. In response to the email from the Marine saying they could not/would not/didn't even want to send coffee to the troops because it would affect their taxes. I don't have a exact copy of that one, and this is one I found off the net. You get the gist:
Starbucks assured him of their support of the military and that the only reason any coffee was not donated was because the official Starbucks donation policy authorizes such gifts to officially designated public charities, including libraries and schools, and that the U.S. military or military personnel do not qualify. The company said that there have been employees that have showed their support through donations of coffee.
Starbucks told us that many of the company's employees (called "partners" by Starbucks) receive one pound of free coffee each week and some of that coffee has gone to members of the military or related organizations.
Ok, but what does that mean? The people that work for Starbucks are donating to the troops, that's good! But Starbucks could not donate coffee to the military because it doesn't qualify them for tax credit. So they will let their employees spend their money for our troops, but the buck stops there.
There is a great explanation of what the tax code they were talking about means and why their answer is a bunch of bull. Paul L. Caron, aprofessor of tax law has the answer. The following quote is from his site.
This explanation is a bunch of hooey. Nothing prevents Starbucks from donating coffee to non-§ 501(c)(3) groups; they merely would be denied a charitable deduction for such contributions. In any case, § 170(c)(1) expressly authorizes a charitable deduction for a contribution or gift to "the United States . . . if the contribution or gift is made for exclusively public purposes
That isn't going to stop the media spin, in fact that almost makes the rumour seem true.
What can we do? Damage control!
The Marine who sent the email subsequently retracted his previous email.
Almost 5 months ago I sent an e-mail to you my faithful friends. I did a wrong thing that needs to be cleared up. I heard by word of mouth about how Starbucks said they didn't support the war and all. I was having enough of that kind of talk and didn't do my research properly like I should have. This is not true. Starbucks supports men and women in uniform. They have personally contacted me and I have been sent many copies of their company's policy on this issue. So I apologize for this quick and wrong letter that I sent out to you.
Now I ask that you all pass this email around to everyone you passed the last one to. Thank you very much for understanding about this.
Howard C. Wright
1st Force Rcon Co
1st Plt PLT RTO
He didn't write, "P.S. or they are going to sue the crap out of me!" So at least that email they were circulating.
Apparently that didn't do so well, either, so they revisited their tax attorneys and decided, well, maybe we should take a wash on the taxes in order to restore some goodwill.
So here is what they did:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2004 – The coffee giant Starbucks and the American Red Cross are teaming up to deliver hot java to U.S. servicemembers serving overseas in the war against global terrorism.
Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Jim Donald said during a Capitol Hill press conference today in the office of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks that his company would provide 50,000 pounds of free, whole-bean coffee that will be brewed and distributed by Red Cross workers to troops serving in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reprinted from: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2004/n11092004_2004110908.html
So they decided to send some coffee to the troops in order to get everyone to shut up.
If coffee costs them let's say for the sake of argument, $1.00 per pound, that is a $50,000 Band-Aid on a public relations nightmare. And each troop would get a little over half a pound of coffee.
That's support my friends. I know that a half a pound of coffee would last me a week if I rationed it. So I could fight for a while with a latté and a machine gun. But PR nightmare averted, lipstick has been put on the bulldog.