Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Starbucks has announced that its baristas will now start discussing the state of race relations in America. This could be a foolhardy thing to do, especially if some employees do not hold the same views as that of the corporation or of the milieu. Tackling touchy subjects is not new to the coffee chain. It came out in favor of same-sex marriage, and it urged an end to the government shutdown when it occurred. Normally, businesses do not get so visibly involved in controversy and with good reason. They have no way of knowing exactly what their front-line employees think nor what they will say when confronted with a sensitive topic. Starbucks is apparently confident that its employees will represent the company's thinking well. One can call that hubris, especially if the discussion backfires on the business. It takes courage or stupidity to put oneself in a position where for reasons not related to the business of serving coffee that one loses customers. One hopes that Starbucks knows what it is doing.