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Starbucks, Publix jump the shark, pay the price for virtue signaling

Written By | May 28, 2018

WASHINGTON. Let’s take a glimpse into the ultimately negative consequences of corporate virtue signaling. Highlights of today’s column include the unintended fallout that occurred not long after Starbucks and Publix jumped the PC shark. Let’s describe today’s narrative this way:

Starbucks and Publix supermarkets reflexively cave to political pressure from PC thugs. Instant karma ensues.

Starbucks: Would you like drug paraphernalia with that?

As most of our readers must know, cops arrested a pair of non-paying loiterers at a Philadelphia Starbucks recently after the store manager called them. A predictable flash mob of demonstrators promptly invaded and “occupied” the store.

The result: A chorus of mea culpas by Starbucks bigwigs in Seattle. They promptly fired the Philadelphia store’s manager, donned sackcloth and ashes, and effectively opened their stores nationwide to anyone who felt like loitering. In addition, they announced a new “Third Place Policy” scheduling a one-day shutdown of stores nationwide on May 29 to deliver some flavor of racial sensitivity training to their clearly un-woke managers and baristas.

Unsurprisingly, Fox Business roundly criticized Starbucks’ pathetic, knee-jerk response, an instant cave to radicals.

One predictable result of Starbucks’ hasty open doors announcement, according to Gateway Pundit:

Employees Find Needles, Drug Baggies and Blood All Over the Walls
After Starbucks Opens Its Bathrooms to Everyone

According to a Fox report, one subreddit commenter

“…claiming to be an employee who works at a store in the loop in Chicago said they hate the new policy because the store bathrooms have turned into a hub for drug activity. ‘We haven’t been allowed to change our bathroom codes since April. So almost all the junkies and homeless people know the code now. About once a week we find needles, drug baggies, blood all over the toilet or walls,’ the user wrote.”

Oops. Cause and effect. Incoming: Newtonian physics. Karmic revenge.

The law of unintended consequences

From the Wall Street Journal (link possibly behind paywall, we subscribe):

“Starbucks Corp. tried to dig itself out of controversy Monday by attempting to clarify a policy toward nonpaying guests that generated an onslaught of weekend criticism.

“The Seattle-based retailer on Saturday had said it would allow all guests in its U.S. company-owned stores to use its cafes, including its restrooms, whether or not they make a purchase. That announcement, which attracted some support, also drew complaints that cafes wouldn’t have enough seats for paying customers and would turn into homeless shelters and drug havens.

“On Monday, Starbucks revealed more about the policy, telling The Wall Street Journal that employees now have detailed instructions on what to do if someone is behaving in a disruptive manner, such as smoking, using drugs or alcohol, using restrooms improperly or sleeping…

“Under the procedures for handling disruptive guests, Starbucks said Monday, managers and baristas should first ask a fellow employee to verify that a certain behavior is disruptive and if it is, respectfully request that the customer stop.

“Other examples of disruptive behavior include talking too loudly, playing loud music and viewing inappropriate content. The company provided employees with examples of when they should call 911, which includes when a customer is using or selling drugs.”

In other words, even before that widely touted, incoming May 29 “ all hands” confab, Starbucks has effectively reversed its new “Third Place” policy.

El Rushbo gets the last word on Starbucks’ PC latte

Finally, El Rushbo couldn’t refrain from pronouncing judgment on Starbucks’ radical 180, noting that the company’s original policy “lasted all of two days.”

“‘All of two days of human debris swarming Starbucks stores, and they had to immediately reinstitute the old policy that led to charges they were racist. I’m sorry, I just find it humor humorous. Very, very teachable moment. They won’t learn anything from it, but the rest of us certainly can use it as a teachable moment.

“‘See? See what happens?’”

Read also: Oh, SNAP! You’re dead! Snapchat’s stock clobbered, 20 percent loss


Boss Hogg vs. Publix Supermarkets

On the never-ending anti-2ndAmendment front, Media Matters’ most recent well-funded poster boy, 18-year-old anti-gun virtue signaler David Hogg, decided to mount anti-NRA “die-ins” at several Florida Publix supermarkets.

Not surprisingly, terrified by the teen tyrant’s threats, Publix reacted even before the “die-in” demonstrations began to take place, according to the rabidly anti-gun Washington Post.

“‘We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve,’’ Publix said in a statement Friday. ‘As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes.’”

Of course, in addition to cutting its contributions to the NRA, this meant eliminating contributions to “Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for Florida governor, both in the crosshairs of Hogg’s die-in crew.”

But less obviously, the apparent Publix cave-in proved a two-edged sword, cutting both ways for Hogg’s radical left-wing funding machine. As a result of the leftist threats, the supermarket chain suspended ALL “political” contributions.

Publix’ (perhaps unintentionally) clever cave to Soros-funded thugs

In a May 27 piece, the  website “The Truth About Guns” highlighted in detail the unintended consequences of Hogg & Co.’s grandstanding. Consequences the MSM won’t tell you about.

“Actions have consequences, some of them unintended. The uber-left’s favorite little gun control activist, David Hogg, learned this the hard way Friday. Drunk with perceived power and possibly experiencing withdrawal after his camera time dipped in the last few weeks, Camera Hogg’s latest plan was to extort a million dollars from the Florida-based grocery chain Publix Super Markets.

“The boy wonder targeted Publix as an ‘NRA sellout’ for the donations the company made to outspoken pro-gun Adam Putnam, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner who’s running for governor of the Sunshine State. Hogg also demanded a pledge from Publix not to contribute to any NRA A-rated candidates in the future.

“In the end, he got neither. Instead, Publix suspended donations to all political organizations.”

The truth about the average company’s political and charitable donations

Like most large companies, employee-owned Publix donates to a cross section of candidates and charities. The company realizes it needs to have political friends across the spectrum. (For some reason, everyone needs groceries).

“Publix makes donations to variety charitable organizations and causes. Included among them is the YWCA, a member of the extremist Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Additionally, Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen Foundation have also had their donations suspended.”

Notes “Truth” reporter John Boch,

“That didn’t sit well with the America’s left.”


Looks like Hogg and his wealthy, Soros-affiliated supporters didn’t count on this.

Instant karma.



Top image: Screen capture from Starbucks company website.


Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17