September 27, 2013

You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had

Being a smart ass can make serious discussions tricky, I admit. Take for example this recent exchange:

Scarlett: So what do you think about the Starbucks thing?
Pub: I don't want to have to hash this out again. All I'm gonna say is there's only one Starbuck, & he was a man!
Scarlett: No, I mean Starbucks, the chain that sells coffee and the way they asked gun owners not to carry in their stores anymore.
Pub: Oh them. Wait - when did they start selling coffee?
Scarlett: (rolls eyes, which is somehow audible over the phone) I'm serious - do you think it's okay to carry an AR-15 into a coffee shop?
Pub: Well it is in bad taste. They should have carried Garands. Again though - when did they start selling coffee? I thought they just made brownish drinks with pretentious tricky-to-pronounce names*?

There's been a lot of talk about how this is a "self inflicted wound"; that if the Open Carriers hadn't actually openly carried we wouldn't have "lost" Starbucks.


We never had Starbucks. Let me analogize a bit...

Say you're a guy in high school and want to ask out the prettiest cheerleader extent to go to the prom with you. You're not particularly handsome, buff or popular and she doesn't know you at all. So you walk up to her with a shirt that has a prominent stain on the front, ask her and she declines. You look down, see the stain & think "Oh - that must be why she rejected me" whilst ignoring that she didn't know you at all and even if she did she already had a date.

That's close to what some folks are doing when trying to analyze Starbucks decision - looking to blame themselves (or others they regard as being connected with) for something superficial when the reality is there was no substance within the relationship.

Starbucks however screwed things up. If they wished to be neutral there was a better, simpler way to go about it.

Reporter: So what do you think about the attention you've been receiving form gun owners? Do you approve of them carrying guns in your stores?
Starbucks Spokesman: Did you know we have a brand new pumpkin spice latte? It's delish - you should try.
Reporter: Do you plan on asking gun owners to not carry guns in your stores?
Starbucks Spokesman: We plan on making you the best cup of coffee you've ever had. Come down and try it for yourself. We don't charge for wi-fi ya know...

That's what Starbucks could have done if they wished to be neutral. They didn't. Instead they made it clear to me that they thought gun owners carrying guns ruined their vibe.

Note in the letter the Starbucks CEO released that they have no problems with cops carrying guns into their shops - it's just you, the non-cop they want disarmed.

Starbucks didn't make a decision; their view was established ages ago, perhaps before they opened their first shop or burnt their first bean. They're part of the Eloi Culture, and as such they don't see us that are within the Gun Culture as equals. They tolerated us for a spell, but when rumors started flying that they "liked" us, well, things had just gone too far.

No, we never had Starbucks; they weren't on our side and I doubt there was any way to gain them. As far as I can tell they wouldn't have minded open carry as long as people didn't, ya know, openly carry. If people had just not openly carried Starbucks would have allowed people to openly carry, as long as they didn't. That's kind of like having a lady that agrees to be your girlfriend as long as you don't actually see her, but if you do actually see her she breaks up with you.

So I don't blame open carriers for "losing" Starbucks for "us". I blame Starbucks for falsely claiming neutrality when they don't really approve of our lifestyle. I never spent much time or money there anyway, but since they disapprove of me carrying firearms then I won't risk harshing their mellow with my or my wallets' presence, and I'll encourage others to take their business elsewhere.

Just cause, here's Muddy Waters:

*To fully disclose my position, I haven't had a cup of coffee since I was about 10. I prefer tea. I've only been in Starbucks a handful of times, and that was mainly for meet-and-greets where I'd at most order tea just to be social and I wasn't impressed. I know folks who patronize Starbucks regularly, and I routinely give them grief about the linguistic acrobatics needed to order a cup of coffee there. Again, not being a coffee drinker I have no experience with their products aside from non-sweetened hot tea (which, sans sugar, is really just colored water under false pretenses), but the serious coffee drinkers I know (I'm talking about the ones that wake up in the middle of the night to do a shot of espresso then go straight back to sleep) gave their products mixed reviews. I have no first hand experience with the coffee at Starbucks, but I wasn't enamored with the vibe there.

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