Starbucks: Sensitivity in the Gun Debate


A little over a year ago I shared my thoughts regarding Chick-fil-A’s involvement in a sensitive sexuality debate. Although my personal opinion stands that the company mishandled the statements released by Chic-fil-A president Dan Cathy, I did have an important overall message…

“By picking a side in this very controversial debate the companies are making themselves more human.  Having a set of personal values is one thing, but constructing a belief system based on issues that are outside your company control is a huge unnecessary risk.  Still, it’s a risk that we (as a public) applaud companies for.  It makes the organization look like it cares about something bigger, something that could lose them revenue, in a culture that seems all about making money.”

Today another company caught my eye in reference to a completely separate, yet still sensitive debate. Today, the well-know coffee company Starbucks was the focus of a fan created Facebook event deeming it “Starbucks Appreciation Day” in honor of the company’s adherence to concealed carry policies, allowing customers to carry guns inside their store. A few witty individuals have gone so far as to refer to the day as “Bring Your Gun to Starbucks Day.”

While I support Starbucks in their decision to openly share their opinion in this debate, what really impressed me is what happened next…

For obvious reasons, Starbucks is not endorsing or encouraging the “holiday,” but people are certainly participating. Activists from both sides of the debate are flocking to the store to show their support. However, in one Connecticut town recently rocked by a heinous gun crime, the store felt that the debate might get too heated, and chose to shut their doors early. 

In a statement issued not long ago, Starbucks acknowledged that although they still stand by their “guns” in the open carry debate, they feel that is important to be sensitive towards the communities they serve. Therefore, the coffee shop in Newtown, Connecticut is closing early. 

Personally, I completely applaud Starbucks for this choice. I am sure they will be under fire by many people, but it was an effective way to show that the company cares about their customers without backing away from their stance. In addition, they employed excellent crisis control techniques in a situation that could have easily turned negative. Way to go, Starbucks. 



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