Like a typical twenty something Seattle-ite, I cringed at newspaper headlines mentioning Howard Schultz last week. You know him, that dubious luminary of Seattle's business and entrepreneurial spirit; erecting and resurrecting the Starbucks empire while mismanaging the city's proud basketball franchise.
You remember them painfully, the Seattle Thunder. How could the bazillion dollar CEO of Starbucks be so cash strapped that he would sell a community asset for personal gain? It's still infuriating. And don't call it a recession, buckaroo!
Last year we made a song that dealt with all of our pent up Starbucks hate, it's called Howard vs. Clay, off our first mixtape!
…There's no quick way to acknowledge the anger and resentment that was created by Howard's sale of the 1979 championship Supersonics to corporate grim reaper, Clay Bennet. Naturally, in true Northwest fashion, thousands of Sonics fans take this seriously by expressing passive aggression daily, as we silently walk by a dozen or so of Howard's coffee stands.
This quiet protest requires more willpower than most spiteful grudges. Sure, the convenience factor is noteworthy, but we're talking about resisting the line of cute girls in sorority pants. Avoiding a Starbucks in King County is hard enough on the average consumer! However, we felt that it was an important commitment to make to our city, for instance, since 2008 I have been proud not to drink Starbucks coffee (exception: when I get the gift card, come on! its free!) But for most who call themselves a part of this Starbucks shunning culture, it has become a centerpiece to expressing a sort of dissatisfaction for the sort of "modernist" thinking (*whatever that is) that enables business values to out-weigh the home-town, home-grown love for a team. So yes, Semi-Overweight has fully endorsed this boycott of Starbucks coffee, you'll have to understand we have been badgering our friends and family relentlessly, "come on, buy local!"
So, now you know how hard it is for this die hard Seattle-ite to give Schultz his credit, but as I read the article last week, sipping Red Bull, (in full Starbucks protest) I had to admit that Howard was being human.
To Schultz, the debt-ceiling crisis — so destructive to the country, yet entirely manufactured for political gain — was merely the final straw. “The debt crisis is really the symbol of a larger problem, which is that our leaders are not leading,” he said. The real crisis, he believes, is a crisis of leadership, both in the White House and in Congress, which is draining confidence. “America’s leaders need to put their feet in the shoes of working Americans,” he said. “ Instead, all they think about is their own political self-interest.”
- from The New York Times article this week.
Read the article (linked above) and give the guy's idea a try…presented as a plea to stop wasting $5 billion + on elections (or, re-elections) during a time when the countrys' debate on the national debt ceiling has dominated both the airwaves, and, Howard argues, investor/consumer confidence. Howard basically wants America to "go on strike against its politicians." It looks like he is attempting to use his wealth and influence for the good of the people this time around, and for us, that is a welcome change. Semi-Overweight is hereby (temporarily) lifting our ban on Starbucks.