Murphy's Law: Bad News for Starbucks


December 5, 2005: For the last year or so, a story has been making the rounds that, when some marines wrote Starbucks (the coffee shop chain), saying how they loved the Starbucks coffee, and could they get some sent to Iraq, Starbucks responded that they did not support the war, and would not send coffee to anyone involved in the fighting. Well, as fast as you can say, "Latte Sipping Liberal," the story was all over the net. But then people began contacting Starbucks, and it was revealed that the story was, well, a story. It's true that Starbucks does not send free coffee to the troops overseas, but that's because Starbucks only donates stuff to registered charities. Starbucks does, however, have a program whereby each employee (or "partner", as they call them) gets a pound of free coffee each week that they can donate to anyone they like. A lot of this coffee has been shipped off to the troops, but from a Starbucks employee, not the Starbucks corporation. Individual Starbucks shops have run other programs to support the troops, and the Starbucks corporation is on record supporting the troops.

The initial story, like all Urban Legends, will never go away, and is a good example of how these things get started. This one began when a marine sergeant sent out an email, saying he had heard about it from a friend. When Starbucks contacted the sergeant, to find out if one of their "partners" had made the unfriendly statement, it turned out that no much evil partner could be found. The sergeant sent out another email explaining the situation, and apologizing for being the source of such ill-will for the company that produced his favorite coffee. That, however, is considered good news, and never travels as far, or as fast, as bad news.


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