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Race away from Starbucks – and fast! (Part II)

Starbucks has issued a new edict to employees. After just one week, the company has ended what it referred to as the first phase of its “Race Together” campaign. The first phase consisted of writing the same “Race Together” slogan on customers’ cups and apparently was meant to last, oh, about 45 minutes. Or, so we’re led to believe.

Nevertheless, given my previous experience at Starbucks during the short duration of the first phase of the “Race Together” campaign, I thought I should pay another visit. My original barista, Greg, happened to be working again.

Me: Hello.

Greg: You again? Let me guess, a caramel apple cider, right?

Me: No. Actually, I don’t even want to buy anything. I just want to talk about race.

Greg: Uh, we’re not really doing that anymore. New directive.

Me: What do you mean? It was the hot topic just a couple of days ago. What gives?

Greg: Corporate says we had to stop writing Race Together on the cups. People were getting a little testy.

Me: But you didn’t even write Race Together on my cup.

Greg: So, here we go.  Are you going to critique my penmanship again? Marcus gave me crap about it for two days.

Me: Nah. But I am curious about the whole campaign now. Is Starbucks going back to just serving over-priced coffee-like beverages? You know, like you used to.

Greg: Just the first phase of Race Together has ended. There’s supposed to be much more. In fact, we all come in 20 minutes before our shift to practice singing We Shall Overcome.

Me: How’s that going?

Greg: Well, I don’t really sing, I play an instrument. The tuba. Pretty soon, we’ll start engaging all the customers in a sing-along.

Me: If that happens, your customers will be longing for the days when you just wrote Race Together on their cups. It all seems a bit patronizing. So, until then, you’re not talking about race anymore?

Greg: Not without my tuba. But, you know, our CEO said that the promise of the American Dream should be available to every person in this country, not just a select few.

Me: Apparently, there is nothing in the American Dream about a reasonably priced cup of coffee.

Greg: Are you going to order something?

Me: Okay, a caramel apple cider.

Greg: Again with the white priv…, nope I can’t go there.

Me: You sure? I’m geared up to talk about race now.

Greg: Some other time. Come back when we start singing. I’ll have my tuba. Here’s your caramel apple cider.

I grabbed the cup and started to leave the shop. I noticed Greg had written something on my cup anyway. He misspelled tuba. I decided not to say anything – he’s had a rough week.

1 comment

1 Ann Herzer { 03.24.15 at 1:08 pm }

I visited Starbucks one time. After standing in line for a long period of time, I ordered a plain cup of coffee with plain cream and sugar. They looked at me like I was crazy, and when I paid the bill, I thought I was. For that price, one would expect a white tablecloth, white cloth napkin and a proper chair. Oh, well, each for their own….!


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