While Starbucks runs a re-education camp for employees, can we run a re-education camp for customers?

Starbucks will shut down on May 29 to train employees: “Starbucks to Shut 8,000 U.S. Stores for Racial-Bias Training After Arrests” (nytimes). In other words, the company will run re-education camps without the heat and humidity of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Could we use the same day to run a re-education camp for Starbucks customers? Let me start on the syllabus and readers can fill in the details…

  • Lesson 1: There is a place called “McDonald’s” where insiders can purchase coffee for 99 cents and, even more miraculously, the food does not come out of a microwave.
  • Lesson 2: latte is actually “milk,” a drink for baby mammals.
  • Advanced Topics: How to obtain free refills on coffee at Panera.

18 thoughts on “While Starbucks runs a re-education camp for employees, can we run a re-education camp for customers?

  1. My stepdaughter works at a Starbucks. The retraining she says customers need is how not to get white-hot angry when their sugary coffee drink is not *exactly* right. She tells tales of customers throwing hot macchiatos through the drive-through window.

  2. So Starbucks wants to make it clear to its employees that racism is contrary to corporate policy. Your response is a desire to punish the corporation by reducing its sales. Thanks for being clear about things.

  3. Jim: A friend of a friend used to work at Starbucks and earned high praise from customers. It turned out that he was the only one who had bothered to read the recipe book that explained how the drinks were to be made.

    Vince: Excellent point. Nobody mocked Starbucks or its customers prior to these racism-related stories! (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQKdEdzHnfU from 2000 for a rare exception)

  4. Phil,

    I don’t remember thanking you for taking the time to visit with Layton and me when you were recently in Dallas, so… Thanks! It was fun.

    I’m amused that Starbucks thinks this training will somehow help. I would think it was a given to all Starbucks employees that racism is contrary to corporate policy. I bet they were aware of it even before the weekend.

    I bet that racism is contrary to every corporations’ policy now that I’ve given it a moments thought. For most of us corporate drones it is so obvious that is the case that we don’t even have to think about it. Kinda like breathing.

    I wonder if I can appeal to my employer for a four day Memorial Day Weekend since I won’t be able to go to Starbucks Tuesday morning on my way to work? Maybe we should all shut down.

    No Corporate Racism Tuesday! I’ll create a hashtag or something. Spread the word!

    I’m not going to McDonald’s for coffee Phil. Maybe 7-11, but not McDonald’s. That coffee is worse than Starbucks.

    Jim, I often stop for a beer at my local Whole Foods. The bar(beer)tenders start their day by giving the people at the coffee counter a break. They all say it is the worst part of the day. The coffee customers are rude, mean and too particular. They can’t wait to get back to the bar with the happy beer drinkers.

  5. More lessons.

    Only white people are dump enough to pay $5 for coffee.

    Maybe Starbucks customers like the fact that there are usually no blacks loitering there. Maybe that is why they go do Starbucks, instead of McDonalds.

    Maybe a black boycott of Starbucks would be good for business.

  6. A particularly nefarious strain of thought criminal might ask how this squares with their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders.

  7. “Starbucks wants to make it clear to its employees that racism is contrary to corporate policy.”

    Puhlease. Only last year Starbucks was telling its employees to “have a conversation about race”. It is perfectly clear that racism is not corporate policy at Starbucks. Starbucks offended the Diversity God and the reeducation camp is the penance it must pay. It will need to hire lots of high paid consultants to get the Diversity God to divert his spotlight onto another target.

    The whole brouhaha had nothing to do with race. Two guys were sitting at a table and refusing to buy anything. They claimed they were waiting for a friend. When they were questioned by management they should have either bought something or waited for their friend outside. That’s what I would have done in such a situation. Instead they refused to leave even after the police asked them to leave, so the cops had no choice but to arrest them. Their skin color was an issue only because they made it an issue.

    As a result of this, Starbucks is now going to be a hangout for homeless people because the store managers are going to be too afraid to ask anyone (black) to ever leave. Starbucks threw their store manager in this branch under the bus at the first sign of trouble. The other store managers are going to remember this lesson better than any of the pap that they will learn at reeducation camp. This is going to result in the closing of Starbucks stores in marginal neighborhoods. But the alternative for Starbucks – of being branded as “the racist coffee shop” – was even worse.

  8. Jackie: Let Starbucks be a hangout for homeless people. They made their bed, let them sleep in it.

  9. I strongly encourage any black friends reading this to take advantage of that. When you encounter market inefficiencies you don’t just walk by them, you ruthlessly exploit the fuck out of them.

  10. There is no report for how long were those 2 customers sitting at the table before the manager called on them. Was it 10 min.? One hour?

    If I’m the owner/manager, I do not want a “customer” to take a space without ordering that other customers may use or be waiting on. Even if you order a cup of coffee, I do not expect you to use the table for 2 hours. Allowing this, is bad for business.

    I have been to Panera [1] and on some occasions could not find a seat. But yet there are a 1 person “customer” who is taking a whole table doing some work on their laptop (papers and stuff all over the table) and I will see them there for hours.

    I’m sure Philg will show a customer the front door if such customer keeps asking questions about a flight for hours with no sign of committing to do business.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panera_Bread

  11. George A. – I worked at Panera when I was younger and that was explicitly part of the product. We told customers we wanted to be like cafes in France where you can sit for hours after just buying a coffee. However, that’s fairly rude of a customer to sit there like that when the restaurant is getting slammed.

  12. George A: I didn’t intend to comment on the merits of the decisions made by the (non-woke?) Starbucks employees that led to the March 29 re-education camp. I don’t know any details beyond what is in the headlines. As you point out, the length of time that non-customers were taking up space might be significant in evaluating the reasonableness of the decision.

    Anon: Thanks for the link. Hotep Jesus is awesome: “Black privilege gets me free coffee.” I think he is on to something. If the company has been racist in the past, instead of shutting down on May 29, why not stay open to provide free drinks and food to people who identify as part of the race against whom there was discrimination?

    Mike: McDonald’s coffee worse than Starbucks?!? See https://www.seattletimes.com/business/mcdonalds-coffee-beats-starbucks-says-consumer-reports/ for how the Accord- and Camry-loving Consumer Reports “professional taster” preferred McDonald’s. Starbucks was “burnt and bitter” by comparison.

  13. Also… why wait until late May to do this? If we can agree that racism is bad and that Starbucks employees are racist, why wouldn’t the training shutdown be immediate? Why would you want to run a racist enterprise for an additional 1.5 months?

  14. Phil, yes McDonald’s is better than Starbucks, but 7-11 is even better than McDonald’s. At least here in their home town.

    And why shut down or wait 6 weeks? Start rotating the message through the shifts right now! No telling home many Hotep Jesuses are going to come through the door in the next six weeks.

    The only other time I’ve seen Hotep is the movie Bubba Ho-Tep. A movie about Elvis and a black JFK hunting down a murderer at their old folks home. Well worth your 90 minutes.

    Hotep is worth perusing too if you’re not familiar.

  15. Vince: Excellent point. Nobody mocked Starbucks or its customers prior to these racism-related stories! (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQKdEdzHnfU from 2000 for a rare exception)

    Your point is that you’re simply taking the opportunity to mock Starbucks because they happen to be in the news this week? That wouldn’t explain the use of the grandiose term “re-education camp” twice in your headline. A better explanation is that you’re opposed to efforts to reduce racism in America.

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