If you are keeping up with the political state of things in the United States, then you might have heard about Starbucks response to the president's EO banning travel from refugees and 7 specific countries. A few weeks ago I have predicted that Starbucks would be dominating 2017, and I think that this prediction is on track.
As a response to president Trump's executive order to halt travelers, Starbuck's Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz announced the company's plans to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years across 75 countries. This quickly prompted a backlash in social media with the hashtag #boycottstarbucks because people felt that Starbucks would rather hire refugees instead of hiring United States' veterans that need jobs.
Conservatives: I'd never work for Starbucks
Starbucks: We're hiring refugees
Conservatives: HOW DARE YOU STEAL OUR JOBS #BoycottStarbucks
— restaurant worker (derogatory) (@propeerpressure) January 30, 2017
Realize that Starbucks already offers training and jobs for vets, vet spouses and young POC. But please proceed with your #BoycottStarbucks.
— Sheila (@sheilarenelucas) January 30, 2017
Starbucks responded quickly to that backlash indicating that there is already a program in place to hire veterans and over 8800 have been hired so far. That program was started in 2014 when Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses within five years. In just over 3 years, they have fulfilled almost 90% of their promise.
In addition to all the good work that Starbucks has done and continues to do, this is what the announcement said:
There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business. And we will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.
So not only did they promise to hire veterans 3 years ago and continue to fulfill that promise but the promise to help refugees now starts with those that have helped the U.S. troops already. So no matter how you look at it, this benefits the US economy, US workers, and US interests.
Those refugees described in the press release are already here or in the process of coming in, they already showed loyalty to the United States; wouldn't we want them to have a path to achieve the American dream? Don't we want them to have a job instead of having to depend on the government to support them?
I guess no good deed goes unpunished. Let's look at another example of how people's emotions and irrational behavior takes over all reason and logic.
South of the border, Mexican citizens called for a boycott on American brands as a way to protest president Trump's policies. Consumers are urging boycotts of brands such as Ford, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Costco and Starbucks. Each one had its hashtag, so for Starbucks it was: #adiosStarbucks.
What people like Alex Jamie (above) didn't realize is that Starbucks in Mexico is run and managed by Alsea, a restaurant operator company which is 100% Mexican owned. Alsea also operates other American brands. They quickly defended Starbucks pointing out that they have invested millions and provide jobs to thousands of Mexican citizens.
Se ven bien pendejos compartiendo "hola cielito querido adios starbucks" desde sus pinches iphones.
— Bona Drag (@mary_darkside) November 17, 2016
The irony of that last Tweet is awesome. Translated roughly it says: You look like idiots sharing "hello cielito querido" (a Mexican company competing with Starbucks) from your f*cking iPhones.
Oh the irony!
In addition to the huge investment and employment that Aslea provides, they brought to light that Starbucks in Mexico uses coffee grown in Mexico, and Mexico has been a key producer of coffee beans for Starbucks stores around the whole world for over 2 decades.
So who is this boycott supposed to hurt? The American consumer? The American economy? Donald Trump? I guess that's the intention, but the unfortunate truth is that #adiosStarbucks only hurts the Mexican people. But when emotions run high and news outlets make sensationalist headlines, the mob mentality kicks in without rhyme or reason.
So who's going to win in the end? At the moment, Starbucks stock (NASDAQ: SBUX) is down, the lowest since early January. But I have a feeling that this will correct itself in the next couple of months and people will realize (hopefully) that Starbucks is in fact, a good company that is trying to balance economics, culture, politics, social responsibility and customer satisfaction.
Another lesson to be taken away from this is that anytime you're in the news, you get free publicity. Starbucks manages to be in the news all the time. The adage "no such thing as bad publicity" is yet to be confirmed in this case, but with a over 40 years of history, I doubt Starbucks is going away anytime soon.
Photo by JeepersMedia