Boycott Watch
September 21, 2004
Breaking a coffee rumor -
Starbucks does in fact support our troops, and they can prove it!
   Summary: An email is circulating that claims Starbucks is against the war-on-terror and is against supporting our troops. Boycott Watch looked into the claim and discovered that the author of the email made an error and apologized for it, yet the erroneous email lives on.
Other Boycott Watch Report About Starbucks:
Correcting a false boycott email: Starbucks pullout of Israel was simply and clearly a business decision
Breaking a Myth: Starbucks: 9/11 and free products
US Soldiers Thank Starbucks For Their Coffee Donation - Set Up Mini Starbucks Store in Afghanistan
   People sometimes make mistakes but they don't always correct them, even when they know they were wrong and especially when it comes to forwarding emails. Such is the case regarding an email from a Marine that complained about Starbucks. The coffee chain contacted the Marine, whose email (see below) is circulating via the Internet, and the Marine sent out a correction and apology email, but the apology has not been read or even seen by every recipient of the original email.

   "It is sad that people who, with all good intentions, unknowingly forward boycott calls based on erroneous information and then do not forward a correction when they discover their error." said Fred Taub, President of Boycott Watch. "I am glad to see that the author corrected the error and I am glad that we are able to play a part the correction of false information."

   Boycott Watch was established to verify information in consumer boycott calls and debunk false information when necessary. Our goal is to report both sides of the story and let consumers decide for themselves what the truth is. In cases such as this, Boycott Watch investigated the situation and found that the attack against Starbucks was in error as confirmed by the author.

--------Original email-------

You Starbucks fans read this.

Starbucks view on the war

Dear everyone:

Please pass this along to anyone you know, this needs to get out in the open.

Recently Marines over in Iraq supporting this country in OIF wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to let them know how much they liked their coffee and try to score some free coffee grounds.

Starbucks wrote back telling the Marines thanks for their support in their business, but that they don't support the War and anyone in it and that they won't send them the Coffee.

So as not to offend them we should not support in buying any Starbucks products.

As a War vet and writing to you patriots 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 for what they and I believe is right.

If you feel the same as I do then pass this along, or you can discard it and I'll never know.

Thanks very much for your support to me, and I know you'll all be there again here soon when I deploy once more.

Semper Fidelis,
Sgt Howard C. Wright
1st Force Recon Co
1st Plt PLT RTO

-------- Starbucks Response-------

   Dear Fred,

   Thank you for taking the time to contact Starbucks regarding coffee donations to those serving in our armed forces.

   Starbucks has the deepest respect and admiration for U.S. military personnel. We are extremely grateful to the men and women who serve stateside or overseas. We sincerely appreciate that they are willing to risk their lives to protect Americans and our values of freedom and democracy. While Starbucks as a company cannot directly donate to military personnel, many of our partners (employees) show their support by donating coffee.

   Recently, there was an e-mail circulating the internet that contained misinformation about Starbucks and our support of the military. Starbucks was able to locate the author who turned out to be a Marine Sergeant. He was very grateful that we contacted him and apologized for any misunderstanding, as he did not intend to spread the rumor. He subsequently sent an e-mail to his original distribution list correcting his mistake, which I've included at the end of this e-mail.

   I would like to take this opportunity to clarify Starbucks policy regarding charitable contributions. We are able to donate to nonprofit organizations that are designated as public charities under Section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code, including public libraries and schools. The U.S. military or individual military personnel do not qualify as a public charity.

   However, on an individual level, many Starbucks partners have collected and shipped numerous pounds of Starbucks coffee overseas. Starbucks partners receive one pound of free coffee each week as an employee benefit (known as "partner mark-out"). Many of our partners have elected to send their weekly mark-out of coffee to members of the military or military families, and related organizations.

   As an example of this generosity, our partners in our Atascadero, California store sent their weekly mark out coffee to troops in Afghanistan so they are able to enjoy a little piece of home. Our customer relations department in Seattle donated hundreds of pounds of coffee to the sailors in the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group. These are just a few examples of our partners supporting the troops. We recognize and appreciate the very personal connection that customers have with us and how they might miss their Starbucks Experience while overseas.

   Thank you again for writing. We ask you to accept our deepest appreciation to servicemen and women and hope you remain a valued Starbucks customer. If you have any additional feedback or would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact us at (800) 235-2883 or email us at


Customer Relations Representative
Starbucks Coffee Company

Text of Sgt. Wright's Email:

Dear Readers,

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. Thank you very much for understanding about this.

Howard C. Wright
1st Force Rcon Co
1st Plt PLT RTO

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