If you’ve heard Starbucks does not support the troops and that the popular coffee company refused Marines some java despite their sacrifices for this country, you’re not alone — the spurious bit of information has experienced a resurgence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (it would seem) after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz voiced support of a minimum wage hike and marriage equality in the same week.
A letter about Starbucks refusing Marines coffee has actually been circulating for some time, though it also manages to be rediscovered every time someone wants to bang a political drum against Starbucks. And as the Starbucks CEO’s words were published last week, the hoax has been revived anew to drum up bad Starbucks sentiment — despite the original message having been penned nine years ago.
If on Facebook you have seen a “Won’t Be Drinking Starbucks Anymore” missive with the tale, it may include a fuzzy picture, but always the same old (very old) text — in fact, Snopes managed to debunk this particular claim years ago. As did Media Matters. And Starbucks itself.
The viral “Starbucks doesn’t support troops” email begins:
“Guess I won’t be drinking Starbucks anymore! … Recently Marines in Iraq wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to let them know how much they liked their coffees and to request that they send some of it to the troops there.”
It goes on:
“Starbucks replied, telling the Marines thank you for their support of their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war, nor anyone in it, and that they would not send the troops their brand of coffee … So as not to offend Starbucks, maybe we should not support them by buying any of their products!”
The writer adds:
“I feel we should get this out in the open. I know this war might not be very popular with some folks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t support the boys on the ground fighting street-to-street and house-to-house … If you feel the same as I do then pass this along, or you can discard it and no one will ever know.”
Signed Sgt. Howard C. Wright, the email was passed about and about some more — and back then, Starbucks was forced to respond. Wright himself also attempted to correct the damage, writing in August of 2004:
“Almost 5 months ago I sent an e-mail to you my faithful friends. I did a wrong thing that needs to be cleared up. I heard by word of mouth about how Starbucks said they didn’t support the war and all. I was having enough of that kind of talk and didn’t do my research properly like I should have.”
“This is not true. Starbucks supports men and women in uniform. They have personally contacted me and I have been sent many copies of their company’s policy on this issue. So I apologize for this quick and wrong letter that I sent out to you …Now I ask that you all pass this email around to everyone you passed the last one to.”
As DailyKos points out, it seems a lot of people haven’t gotten the memo and still claim Starbucks doesn’t support the troops — and are content to slander the brand on social media.
Starbucks wont support our marines by sending them Coffee. Boycott Starbucks #ShitCoffee
— frank harper (@frankharper1) March 23, 2013
freaking love starbucks…but aint buying it anymore because they dont support the marines at war.
— Chelsey Ferris (@cferris24) March 23, 2013
Well ever since Starbucks decided not to serve United States Marines I knew I didn’t like them then….highly dislike them now!
— The Marshall(@The_Real_JML) March 24, 2013
Others intentionally spread the wrong information to punish Starbucks for what they believe is an ideological agenda.
It’s fine to vote with your dollars — but it’s very dishonest to make up a story or use an old misconception to further such an agenda — and the claim Starbucks denied Marines coffee is simply untrue.