A Lesson In Politics From Starbucks

By Lisa Crocco

Amid the government shutdown, one famous company attempted to brew up bipartisanship to show Washington, D.C. how to act. Starbucks Coffee Company’s CEO Howard Schultz frustrated with the federal government shutdown decided to use his company as a hub for paying it forward and petition signing.

From Oct. 9-11 all participating Starbucks stores gave a free tall coffee to a person who bought the person next in line their favorite drink. According to the Starbucks website, the goal was that they were hoping that, “this small motivation will encourage you to be the spark of connection that helps bring us all a little closer at a time when showing our unity is so important.”


On the Starbucks website, they encouraged their customers to sign a “Come Together” petition that will be shared with government officials calling for an end to do three things:
1. Reopen the government so they can continue to serve the people
2. Pay our country’s debts on time to avoid another financial crisis
3. Pass a bipartisan budget deal by the end of this year

Whether or not you may think this is another Starbucks stunt to get more customers and national coverage, the company is definitely on to something. How do we expect politicians to reach agreements when they are representing us and we are asking them to remain loyal to their party?
Government officials should not be the only ones who have the power to make our country work. Bipartisanship starts in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities. If politicians see their constituents taking strides to reach across the aisle, put aside their pride, and do something nice for someone else despite their differences, then maybe just maybe they would follow suit.

Starbucks serves millions of people per day and reaches such a wide-range of consumers that they were a perfect platform to encourage reform and civic responsibility. When everyone comes together around a cause then a great difference can be made.

Hopefully this campaign sparked a fire with government officials to start acting and reach more agreements in a timely fashion. More companies and organizations should follow Starbucks’ lead and put pressure on the government to function properly, since they do have resources to reach the American people.

By this one, spur-of-the-moment campaign, Starbucks just proved to do a whole lot more than to serve up some delicious Pumpkin Spiced Lattes this Fall.


photo (1)Lisa Crocco is a senior public relations and political science double major at Illinois State University. Despite her hectic schedule of blogging, interning, and compulsive list-making, she find time to nap, read, and quote Gilmore Girls habitually.

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