DISCLAIMER: They actually don’t.
But gullible people on Facebook would have you think so! My dislike for fake stories that circulate on Facebook is well documented, and I feel like I have been bombarded with this particular one lately. Not only can I not believe how many people fall for it, but I can’t believe that it is still circulating after so many years. So my friends, I am going to take a little time to explain why this, as well as many other stories on Facebook, is not true. If you haven’t had the misfortune of seeing this story on your news feed, then follow the break to learn what I am
ranting about referring to…
In a poorly-written letter sent to family and friends sometime in 2003 or 2004, a Marine sergeant claims that other Marines serving in Iraq wrote to Starbucks asking if they could send them free coffee. As the story goes, Starbucks wrote back, thanking them for their business but ultimately declining to send coffee because they did not support the war. Those monsters.
Luckily, the rumor site Snopes got on the case; they contacted Sgt. Howard Wright, the author of the letter, trying to confirm the story. As it turns out, Sgt. Wright had “heard it from a guy who heard it from a guy etc” and written the letter out of frustration. Even though Wright later sent a second letter to his family and friends admitting he was in error, the damage was already done.
Why It Didn’t Happen
Let’s start with a trip down memory lane: imagine yourself back in 2003, barely two years after the 9/11 attacks. Do you remember how off-the-wall bonkers everybody was for America back then? Patriotism abounded in every part of the country. Period. We had been attacked, we were afraid, the economy was still rough, and most everyone was there to help each other out. But most importantly, supporting the military and our troops became something that you just did. It was almost a fad; many people disagreed with the war, but nobody disagreed about supporting the troops. Now ask yourself this: do you really think that a company like Starbucks, who does business across the nation and the globe, would really risk the public relations nightmare that would follow from telling our troops overseas that Starbucks does not support them? No, no, and HELL no.
“Oh, but Starbucks is from Seattle, and that’s, like, a totally hippie area, so, it makes sense.” – said a guy who commented on one of these posts (to which I said, “What was it like not finishing high school?”). Let’s explore that concept a bit: first of all, it does not matter. A company that has tens of thousands of employees across the country would not take a stance on a war that their employees probably have children fighting in, no matter where they were located. Second of all, there is a little place called Ft. Lewis that is located less than an hour from Seattle…and by little, I mean huge. It is the biggest Army base on the West coast. When you count the sailors stationed at all three of Puget Sound’s naval bases (one of which is the base for one of our aircraft carriers), as well as the reservists living in the area, there are easily over 200,000 people living in Western Washington who either serve or have a family member who serves. The area is arguably one of the most supportive to the military in the United States. So when it comes down to it, the geography doesn’t make sense either.
Lastly, there is the simple fact that Starbucks actually does donate to the troops – but not directly. Their corporate policies prohibit them from responding to individual solicitations, but they funnel a massive amount of donations to the military through organizations like the USO.
There it is folks; debunked. I appreciate that people want to spread the word about alleged injustices and everything, but please just do a little research before you either share or comment on these posts. Because if I see you doing it without checking to see if it is true, I’m automatically going to assume that you are an idiot for the next 24 hours. Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Snopes for doing their homework.