Starbucks: 'Come Together'

Coffee chain uses cups to send "fiscal cliff" message

Published in CSP Daily News

SEATTLE -- Starbucks Corp will use its ubiquitous coffee cups to tell U.S. lawmakers to come up with a deal to avoid going over the "fiscal cliff" and triggering automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, said a Reuters report.

CEO Howard Schultz is urging workers in Starbucks' approximately 120 Washington-area shops to write "come together" on customers' cups on Thursday and Friday as President Barack Obama and lawmakers return to work and attempt to revive fiscal cliff negotiations that collapsed before the Christmas holiday.

In a Dec. 26 blog post, Schultz wrote:

"Rather than be bystanders, we have an opportunity--and I believe a responsibility--to use our company's scale for good by sending a respectful and optimistic message to our elected officials to come together and reach common ground on this important issue. This week through Dec. 28, partners in our Washington, D.C., area stores are writing 'Come Together' on customers' cups.

"It's a small gesture, but the power of small gestures is what Starbucks is about! Imagine the power of our partners and hundreds of thousands of customers each sharing such a simple message, one cup at a time.

"Never before have we asked our partners to write something specific on our customers' cups. These words express the optimism that's core to the holiday season, to our country's heritage, and to our Starbucks mission. This effort is also being amplified by our friends at AOL and Patch who are joining us in activating their hyper-local network of websites to share the 'Come Together' message."

Click here to read the full blog post.

Starbucks' cup campaign aims to send a message to sharply divided politicians and serve as a rallying cry for the public in the days leading up to lawmakers' Jan. 1 deadline to deliver a plan to avert harsh across-the-board government spending reductions and tax increases that could send the United States back into recession.

"We're paying attention, we're greatly disappointed in what's going on and we deserve better," Schultz told the news agency.

The CEO said he has joined a growing list of business leaders, politicians and financial experts in endorsing the Campaign to Fix the Debt, a nonpartisan group that is leaning on lawmakers to put the United States' financial house in order.

Starbucks plans to amplify its "come together" message via new and old media, including Twitter and Facebook posts, coverage on AOL's local news websites and advertisements in The Washington Post and The New York Times.

"If [talks] do not progress, we will make this much bigger," Schultz said of the messaging campaign.

Schultz is no stranger to using the world's biggest coffee chain as a platform to advocate for more political cooperation in Washington.

During the debt ceiling debate in Aug. 2011, he made a splash by calling for a boycott of political contributions to U.S. lawmakers until they struck a fair and bipartisan deal on the country's debt, revenue and spending.

"We are facing such dysfunction, irresponsibility and lack of leadership" less than two years after the debt ceiling crisis, Schultz said.

Washington narrowly avoided a U.S. government default, but not before down-to-the-wire wrangling prompted the country's first-ever debt rating downgrade.

"There is something so wrong that we can be here again and not have the ability to put party aside for the betterment of the country," said Schultz. "We have the same language and rhetoric. Unfortunately we aren't learning much."

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