Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Starbucks Wants To Talk About What?

Starbucks apparently has a new policy. They want their baristas to discuss race relations with their customers. Hmm. This will not end well.

Oh, where to begin.

(1) Their baristas aren’t smart enough to discuss politics. And how exactly are they supposed to start these discussions?
Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 1: Hey, you’re dark like this coffee!
Rare Black Customer: What the f*ck?

Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 2: Why can’t people of different races get along?
Redneck Customer: Yep. We should ship all them coloreds back where they came from.
Bubbly Barista: I know, right?

Customer: Wasn’t Selma great?
Barista Attempt No. 3: Selma Blair?

Barista Attempt No. 4: Wanna talk about race relations?
Customer: No! I want you to get my f***ing order right! I said SKINNY MACHIATTO!
(2) What does Starbucks know about race relations? They’ve never had a black customer and they don’t hire Mexicans. All their customers, well 95.7%, are white suburban mothers in mini-SUVs and yoga pants. (The other 4.3% are angry white males in bike shorts who glare at their electronic gadgets as they spend the day using the free wifi.)

(3) The average interaction time with a barista is about 20 seconds. So these “discussions” will more likely turn into trivia sessions. How useful will this be:
“Black people make up 14% of the population.”

“Black unemployment is 24%.”

“Mexicans come from Mexico.”
Really? Do tell.

“Asian are the new illegal immigrants.”
Or is it going to be touchy-feely?
Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 1: I like black people.
Rare Black Customer: Are you hitting on me?

Bubbly Barista Attempt No. 2: Black people make great athletes.
Customer: (jaw drops)
Seriously, this is not a good idea. In fact, I can’t wait for the lawsuits as hypersensitive race baiters start visiting Starbucks waiting for the inevitable slip up. Even better, I can’t wait for the comedians to take advantage of this and go lead various unsuspecting baristas into making suicidaly stupid pronouncements about race, which they will then post on Youtube. You know it’s going to happen and it’s going to be hilarious.

Look, it’s one thing for people with an interest and some knowledge of a topic to engage in a discussion. But it’s quite another to ask thousands of low-wage morons to start randomly opining to customers about controversial issues.

Starbucks seems to think this isn’t a problem because they encouraged their baristas to talk about gay marriage and no one freaked out about that. But here’s the thing: that was an easy debate because the groupthink position was not only widely known, but so were all the acceptable responses to stay safely on the PC reservation. Said differently, even the worst morons amongst us knew what to say to stay out of trouble because the media and celebrities drilled it into them.

This is really different. There is no set of approved talking points about blacks and race relations because race relations are a broad range of issues, not a single issue that can be distilled to one view point, and the race baiters are super touchy and will freak out pretty much randomly – that’s how words like “picnic” and “black hole” can suddenly be called racist. Moreover, the race baiters often find offense in statements that are true. Hence, it takes an experience expert to avoid the landmines this topic encompasses.

Good luck.

It might be time to sell their stock.


Kit said...

I remember the "picnic" thing. "Picnic" obviously comes from the French words "pique" and "nique" meaning "pick" and "little thing of no importance". Silly race-baiters.

AndrewPrice said...

The picnic thing was bizarrely stupid... but then, so is "black hole."

LL said...

I guess that the standard Middle Eastern epithets such as "sand nigger" and "dune coon" are off the table when I walk into a Starbucks?

AndrewPrice said...

LL, I'm thinking that's probably a yes. And I'm thinking they better put together a really solid handbook before they implement this policy.

Tennessee Jed said...

just when I thought people could not get any dumber ...... seriously, I love great coffee. Starbuck's is expensive, and not great. I go out of my way to not go there anyway, so the chances of my engaging or being engaged by any of these idiots is slim and none, and slim just left.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Barista: Whassuuupp my brother? Want some white privilege cream with your coffee?

Customer: No, I like mine ghetto black, because black power baby!
With the theme from Shaft playing in the background.

Yeah, really dumb idea and deserves to be mocked.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent satire, Andrew.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that whoever thought this was a good idea probably won't be promoted.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I can see this spreading to clubs or bars.

Bartender: What'll it be?

White Barfly: I'll have a white russian.

Bartender: No, I think you want a black russian. You know, just to prove you're down with the cause, and because of reparations I'm gonna have to charge you more.

Robert L. Hedd said...

Ben......I think I heard the CEO of Starbux make the claim that this was a great idea and he supports it 100% (Oops, sorry, math is hard and I just made a bigoted comment assuming you understood white privilege numbers!)

And remember the great line: "I like my coffee like I like my wimmin....sweet and blonde?"....or "strong and black?"

ScottDS said...

I already answered the Selma Blair question four years ago. :-)

As a retail employee, I certainly sympathize with the baristas who just want to go and do the work without having to deal with this crap. Hopefully the good ones will simply ignore this directive.

tryanmax said...

It doesn't matter how you like your coffee or your women, they both all end up the same: cold and bitter. ;-)

Anthony said...

Its a weird topic for a business to tackle, but mush even mush about race, is unlikely to blow up in Starbuck's face the same way taking a definitive stance on a controversial issue would.

The fringe finds stupid reasons to get worked up over race whether or not they are going on about black holes, mongrels, picnics or terrorist fist bumps but the public is generally less excitable so I have more faith in the ability of ordinary people to not go nuts over the small stuff.

Also, I see no correlation between education and/or intelligence and judicious public pronouncements. Someone who lives and works in the real world is less likely to hang themselves with their tongue than some intellectual type who hangs out with people who believe exactly as they do and just applaud what a non-believer would view as insane.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - How dare you say those SB Baristas are not qualified! Many of them have college degrees in "Social Ecology", "Racial Diversity" and "Womyn's" Studies. It's ALL they are qualified to do - make coffee and hound paying customers about political issue of the day. Personally, I welcome the diversion while waiting endlessly for my $6 cup of Joseph (it's too expensive to just be a "cup of Joe"...).

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, You aren't kidding. I think they require a useless degree as part of their hiring criteria. Other than that, you apparently need to be a college age woman.

In truth, I'm amazed at what Starbucks has done. They've convinced people that $0.75 worth of coffee is worth $6 just because it has a cool name. I also suspect they've hooked into the Apple cult because their customers will buy all their merchandise too.

As WC Fields said (after inflation) there are one million born every minute!

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, The public really isn't the problem. The problem arises when the weirdos descend up the store and start making other people uncomfortable or using the stores as props. There have been some interesting studies that have shown that people tend to flee "activists" and they avoid confrontation.

So the danger is that they will start to lose customers and they will do so because of a policy that has no potential benefit.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Oh my friend.. oh. :( lol

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think most will ignore it. That said, I was tempted to go bait one of them this morning. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bob, It was the CEO, so this comes from the top... and it rolls downhill.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben! I felt this deserved a little satire. :D In fact, this would be fertile ground for SNL. I would probably do a skit titled "Twelve Years A Barista."

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't drink coffee, but my wife is hooked on Starbucks, so I end up there a lot, staring at the MASSIVELY OVERPRICED items.

At least the skinny venti double-hydrogen oxiatto is free. :D

BevfromNYC said...

"Twelve Years A Barista." LOLOLOL!!!!

I am surprised that there hasn't been a worker uprising over this considering the CEO is telling them what to do. I mean, Starbucks is a major multinational corporation with a fat cat billionaire rich CEO getting richer and richer off the backs of the poor workers! And is he paying them any more for making them do this? Will there be extra pennies in their paychecks???? NO!! DOWN WITH STArb....oh, nevermind. I need coffee....

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's an outrage that they've been given new duties, but aren't getting more pay! They deserve $15 an hour more than McDonald's workers!!!

Could you imagine the outrage if you did "Twelve Years A Barista"? LOL!

EricP said...

AP, God bless ya and thanks for the inspiration! Plan on strolling into Starbucks this weekend, my Ted Nugent Black Power 2013 t-shirt on my back, armed with your above-supplied statistics. Yup, the java jokers’ powers-that-be want to contribute to the continuing SNL-esque world in which we’re living in the Obama era, to the point where the lighting at Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf’s press conferences resembles the not-ready-for-primetime players’ sets, damn right I’m gonna have some fun with ‘em. God knows the actual SNL probably agrees with this (already aborted, er, discarded?) directive, and will either ignore it and/or mangle it into bashing Ted Cruz or whichever Republican sneezed awkwardly this week.

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