The chairman of Starbucks is asking customers to keep guns out of their stores and outdoor seating areas in response to an “appreciation day” started by gun enthusiasts.
So much for “Starbucks Appreciation Day,” a manufactured occasion which is designed to celebrate Starbucks as a “gun-friendly” business.
In a letter to customers, Starbucks’ CEO says it’s causing an unwelcome, and potentially dangerous problem:
Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.
If I go to a Starbucks, the last thing I’m interested in is being caught in some kind of crossfire — the gunfire kind or the political kind. I just want coffee.
Starbucks stopped short of banning firearms, instead choosing to “politely request” that its customers not bring guns inside their locations or to the outdoor seating areas.
The company also says its “open carry” policy was designed to follow local laws, not make a political statement: they permitted “open carry” only in states that allowed it and prohibited it in states where it was prohibited, because they didn’t want to put their employees in the “uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm of leave” their stores.
“We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners,” the statement said.
That’s not an unreasonable idea. Unfortunately, some people have to make it bigger than it needs to be. Some people need to draw too much attention to their own agendas rather than just going about their business.
So why not just ban guns altogether? The letter explains it this way:
Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.
I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.
Sounds like a common sense approach to me.
He’s definitely right about the fact that there’s no pleasing everyone. This will be viewed differently depending on which side of the gun debate you’re on. And, just like “Starbucks Appreciation Day,” we’ll see people turning this into more than it’s intended — or needs — to be.
But if this request alone really changes where you get your coffee, you might want to ask yourself if you’re one of those people.
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.