With A Shot?

By: David Martin

SEATTLE — Coffee chain Starbucks Corp. is sticking to its policy of letting customers carry guns where it’s legal and said it does not want to be put in the middle of a larger gun-control debate. — MSNBC – March 3, 2010

TO: All baristas, baristos and other in-store employees
FROM: Starbucks management
RE: Gun policy

As you are no doubt aware, management has decided to take a decidedly “hands-off” approach vis-à-vis the carrying of handguns into Starbucks establishments. Given that most states have “open carry” weapons statutes, it seems unfair to unduly restrict our customer base.

While we take pride in our non-discriminatory policy respecting in-store firearms, we do recognize that such a policy may involve the assumption of certain risks. For that reason, and to mollify our insurer, we are requesting all employees to follow certain common sense guidelines.

As a general rule, employees should not question customers about any weapons they may be carrying, regardless of number, size or caliber. Your initial assumption should always be that the customer is properly licensed to carry whatever weaponry he has on his person.

It is, of course, open to any employee to ask a customer to provide proof of ownership of any particular weapon or weapons. However, the guiding principle should be that the customer is always right, particularly when he has more than one weapon or the weapon in question is semiautomatic.

Starbucks employees are world famous for their friendly attitude and bonhomie. We do not want to diminish that jovial spirit in any way. However, as a precautionary measure, we recommend that servers do not engage in any gun-related joking or banter unless, of course, the server is also armed.

When it comes to the question of carrying your own personal weapon, we wish to refrain from taking any position on the matter. America is a free country and one of the things that makes it great is the freedom to bear arms. If you do choose to be armed, we would simply ask that you select a small-caliber handgun that can be carried discretely, will not interfere with your pouring duties and will not clash with the outlet’s decor.

Always be alert to a customer’s state of mind, particularly when that customer is bearing a handgun. If he seems jittery or agitated, remember that any caffeinated beverage is not likely to make the situation better. In such a case, gently suggest one of our fine decaffeinated drinks and, if gunfire seems imminent, offer to provide it free of charge.

If you sense that a dispute is brewing between two or more armed customers, feel free to intervene and recommend that they relax with our new special drink: The Second Amendment Latte. Stress that they all have the right to bear arms but instead of using those arms, they should exercise their right to enjoy a really heavenly cup of American java.

Also, please be very careful before asking a customer if he or she would like a shot. Although we recognize that selling an extra shot of espresso or a flavored shot is great for our profit margin, we don’t want to jeopardize employee safety. In order to retain this profitable sideline and still satisfy our insurer’s requirements, please simply ensure that the customer is not armed before making any shot-related inquiries.

Some employees have asked whether we can provide gun racks in our outlets for the convenience of rifle, shotgun or machine gun-owning customers. The short answer is “no,” as Starbucks does not wish to be seen to be taking a stand on the complicated issues of gun ownership and gun use. However, we have no objection if anyone wishes to take the initiative to modify any existing magazine or newspaper rack to accommodate long guns. Nevertheless, we remain adamant that we will not provide handgun vending machines in any of our domestic outlets.

While we abhor the use of violence in most public settings, we are particularly concerned about the comfort of our unarmed customers who may be reading or listening to music. To minimize any disruptions to that clientele, we think it is appropriate to display signage in each outlet requesting armed customers to use silencers whenever possible.

Finally, if any gun-bearing customer professes a preference for The Tea Party, don’t forget that we serve tea, too — our special Tazo blend. Just be sure to pronounce Tazo slowly to prevent any unfortunate misunderstandings. At Starbucks, we have a strict policy of not providing tasers to employees, but unfortunately not all customers are aware of that fact.

If everyone follows these few common sense rules, we are confident that we can keep gun-related accidents in Starbucks outlets to a minimum.


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