Though the coffee café hasn’t gone as far as calling their message a “ban” on guns, it is definitely making a statement on guns in society. Somehow, Starbucks has gotten itself stuck in the middle of the gun debate, and they have reluctantly had gun rights advocates holding “Starbucks Appreciation Days” at the stores – and the gun advocates are bringing firearms with them. Having guns in the businesses during the “Starbucks Appreciation Days” gives the appearance that Starbucks supports guns in its place of business.
On the flip side of the gun rights advocates, there is a group that has begun “Skip Starbuck Saturdays” as somewhat of a boycott of Starbucks as the group believes Starbucks is supporting guns.
Taking the unwanted gun rights image seriously, Starbucks has found it necessary to respond. It has made it clear that it doesn’t want “Starbucks Appreciation Days” held by gun rights advocates at the stores. Additionally, CEO Howard Schultz has come out strongly against guns being in the stores but asserts that employees – which are called partners at Starbucks – have been told to serve everyone and not be confrontational about the no-gun request being made. Schultz also says that the gatherings during “Starbucks Appreciation Days” basically mischaracterize Starbucks’ position on guns, and they have made customers uncomfortable.
Starbucks is going to run ads on Thursday in major national newspapers with an open letter from CEO Schultz clarifying the no gun request. The letter will explain how Starbucks has reluctantly been thrown into the middle of the gun debate by gun control aficionados and gun rights aficionados. The letter also reiterates the company’s assertion that it does not want “Starbucks Appreciation Days” to be held in the coffee shops.
Additionally, the letter is going to tell Starbucks customers that it believes lawmakers should make the final decision on carrying or not carrying guns.
Starbucks is not the first company to have concerns about guns in a place of business. For example, Whole Foods grocers have reportedly made a no-gun policy inside their stores.