I've never been a fan of the bitter-tasting, over-priced Starbucks brand of coffee. I like their store layouts and soothing jazz music, but I've never bought into the whole 'barista' scene. I'm a Dunkin' Donuts kind of guy. Just the facts, ma’am.
So, Starbucks’ most recent move has really left a bitter taste in my mouth: they're allowing gun-toting customers to open display their six guns in stores. Talk about sending mixed messages.
Here's a brand that always projected a warm-and-friendly 'let's save the environment, we're all in this together' mantra that has suddenly re-positioned its stores as potential stage sets for recreating the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. What are Howard Schultz & Company thinking?
In defending their decision, Starbucks issued a typical corporate cop-out of a statement, saying: 'The political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in legislatures and courts, not in our stores.' What malarky, as we bloggers of mixed Irish descent are won’t to say.
If Starbucks is willing to allow its customers to openly brandish weapons, why not go full bore and transform the entire customer experience? Stores should be remodeled to look like Old West saloons replete with those cool swinging doors. And, instead of smooth jazz, stores could play such ditties as:
– I Shot the Sheriff (Bob Marley version, please)
– Johnny Got His Gun
– The sound tracks from 'Full Metal Jacket,' 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Platoon'
– The Battle Hymn of the Republic
– A mix of gansta rap, Aryan martial music and any country song that includes lyrics about shooting dead some cheatin' S.O.B.
Baristas should be trained to greet pistol-packing customers with a new welcoming, 'Howdy partner. Is that a .45 millimeter Colt in your holster or are you just happy to see me?'
Maybe the brand name itself should change to reflect the coffee chain's new Wild West mind set? How does Warbucks strike you? Wild Bill Starbucks? I've got it: CSI:Starbucks. Now, there's a name that both reflects reality and is aspirational. And, that, my friends, is a brand experience home run (or should I say bull's eye?).