I just wanted some coffee, not a lecture

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Starbucks has announced that it has ended its “Race Together” campaign on its coffee cups. Good. It had no business doing it to begin with.

Companies can put anything on their bags, cups and promotional materials, but writing this on a paper coffee cup was probably not the best promotional gimmick that Starbucks has devised.

The company said the promotion was meant to last only a week, and that’s why they pulled it, but I have a feeling that this one just backfired.

If it was going to last for only a week, then it had to be merely a gimmick to put the company in the headlines. It did that, but perhaps not in a way that promoters intended.

When I buy a cup of Starbucks coffee, I am not buying it to be lectured by the cup. I just want the coffee. Some sort of other promotion may be fine, or even better, “Thank You” on the cup, but not a lecture.

I have not been to a Starbucks lately, actually for a long time, but those of you who did buy coffee in a cup with the “Race Together” slogan, did you actually start a conversation right then and there with other customers about how we can improve race relations?

I may have a short fuse for these type of promotions because I just don’t like being hit over the head about a social, political or even religious issue when I buy a product. I just want to make the purchase.

I don’t like it when getting my mail at the post office, I have to battle my way at times through a booth that hammers me verbally and pictorially with poilitical issues.

And, if you pay any attention to them, you’re stuck. I hate to do this because I want to be nice, but I just have to pretend that they are not there. Even then they keep shouting some messages at me. I just wanted to get the mail, guys, not a political lecture.

I just wanted a cup of coffee, not an attempt to engage in a conversation.

I like the way Chick-Fil-A does it. The chain owners have a certain religious conviction, and they stay closed on Sundays.

They don’t have to, but they do it because they believe that Sunday should be spent doing things other than working. Whatever that is, the employees do not have to work that day.

That’s not beating me over the head with anything. I wish they would be open on Sundays because several times I’ve had to go somewhere else, but that’s their policy. It would be a lot easier to stay open on Sundays also and make even more money.

I don’t want Jehova’s Witnesses to try to preach to me on my doorstep. If I want to be preached to, I’ll go to a church. I also don’t like being interrupted like that because most of the time I work at home and am trying to make a living.

I also don’t like people selling stuff door-to-door, especially not when I am made to feel guilty about the poor guy in front of me who has turned himself around and is now trying to raise money for college. All I have to do to help him is buy some subscriptions to magazines at not such cheap rates.

I do make some exceptions. I buy Girl Scout Cookies no matter where they are being sold. I usually cough up money for youth sports teams and schools also.

So, Starbucks, unless you are selling Girl Scout cookies, or trying to help a team make it to a tournament, just give me that cup of coffee without the lecture. You don’t know what type of a person I am. I may not even need to be lectured all that much.

So, let’s race away from these dumb campaigns. There are better ways to sell coffee.

How about putting a bingo board on the cup and running another type of contest. Maybe make the grand prize a trip around the world, but people could win other things also, like free cups of coffee.
No need to thank me for that idea, Starbucks. I’ll send you a consulting invoice later.

But maybe I’m totally off on this one. Maybe they just want me to race someone. That’s different, but not right now. My back hurts