Sunday, June 17, 2007

Scenes from the Road: Starbucks and the Regular Joe

Standing in a Pennsylvania Tollway rest stop waiting for the ladies to finish up in the bathroom, I notice a guy loitering with intent outside the Starbucks stand. His shirt reads “Born to Party/Forced to Work.” From the first he looks – and this is horribly judgmental and I beg forgiveness of my readers and the rest of the universe – but he looks like a guy who drinks too much and has three ex-wives and consistently votes Republican.

I distract myself with something until, a couple minutes later, he has wandered randomly by me having now begun a cell phone conversation. He’s telling a story: “So there’s these Marines in Afghanistan and they like Starbuck’s coffee and the write and see if they can have some coffee donated and shipped over and Starbucks says ‘Go to Hell.

“Yeah, ‘Go to Hell.’ They say ‘We don’t support the war and we don’t support you so go to Hell.’

“Yeah, so forget Starbucks.”

At this point two of my three impressions now have some evidence behind them.

The Starbucks story seems more than a little off. Unless the Starbucks corporate hierarchy has been overrun by agents of International A.N.S.W.E.R., the company that seems bent on putting a kiosk on every corner probably wouldn’t respond so harshly to members of the Armed Forces.

So I did some quick Googling at the next opportunity. And happily, Starbucks hasn’t been taken over by crypto-Stalinists. Snopes as usual comes to the rescue; you can read Starbuck tale of woe here and what they've done to turn it around here. It’s interesting that this one actually gets traced back to some guy who thought it was true. And it’s a measure of Starbucks sensitivity to PR surrounding the Armed Forces that they simply talked to Sgt. Wright as opposed to suing him into a fine powder.

Stories like this one take hold because of the Right’s regrettably potent stereotype of anti-war activists – wooly-headed, Birkenstock-wearing, latte-sipping and soldier-hating.. Granted, the anti-war movement could have worked harder to not be that movement, but I doubt it would have made a difference. The Republican noise machine had too much vested in discrediting critics of the war, and people like Born to Party Guy aren’t willing to think any more deeply than Rush tells him to.


TBMD said...

Funny - If I'd have seen the same serial looser, I would have made exactly the same assumptions but would also consigned him to the Kerry / Edwards camp of reality deniers.

After all, "Born to Party, forced to Work" isn't exactly a right wing bumper sticker, now is it? I mean, it's not up there with "Don't Immanetize the Eschaton".

More of an Edwards / Obama if we only tax the rich enough, we won't have to work and can party all the time kinda theme.

Ahh well, every side has their fruit cakes. Sometimes you can't tell one from another without a program.

Anonymous said...

Glossary check- are wingnuts all right-wing nuts, and the left-wing equivalent is moonnbat? That's what I've been assuming. I just want to check on my terminology.

Scott Piepho said...


You are correct