A coffee shop modeled and named after Starbucks opened in Los Angeles this weekend, calling itself “Dumb Starbucks” and claiming its right to exist under parody law.
“Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art,” the café’s FAQ page reads. “So, in the eyes of the law, our 'coffee shop' is actually an art gallery and the 'coffee' you’re buying is considered the art.”
Dumb Starbucks looks the same as any other Starbucks chain and even sells the same drinks, although apparently their coffee isn't of the best quality.
According to an unnamed patron who spoke to KCAL9, the lines to get into Dumb Starbucks are an hour long and the coffee isn’t nearly as good as the real thing.
Other patrons suspected that the coffee shop was some sort of TV stunt, claiming they saw cameras in the coffee pots.
The real Starbucks, which is notorious for being protective of its copyright, commented that the company is looking into the matter.
“Do not expect the Los Feliz location to be there for the long haul,” a Starbucks spokesperson reported.
Subway was forced to respond to complaints from customers after a popular food blogger revealed the fast food chain’s bread contained azodicarbonamide, a chemical used in yoga mats and shoe rubber. Azodicarbonamide is accepted for use in food products within the United States, but it is banned completely in several other countries.
In response to the Subway incident, several fast food restaurant chains have admitted that they also use the chemical. Despite Food Babe blogger Vani Hari’s insistence that the chemical is harmful, restaurant officials maintain that it is approved for use and is safe.
According to NBC News, McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb defended the chain’s use of the chemical, which can be found in its buns, bagels, and English muffins.
“Azodicarbonamide is commonly used throughout the baked goods industry, and this includes some of the bread goods on our menu," McComb said. "This ingredient, like all the ingredients we use, is available to consumers on our website.” She referred to the fact that McDonald’s hosts a comprehensive list of recipe ingredients on its site.
Other popular restaurants with products that contain azodicarbonamide include Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Jack in the Box, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. The chemical is typically found in bread products.
Use of the chemical is technically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but reports from groups such as the World Health Organization and the Center for Science in the Public Interest claim that the chemical can cause respiratory issues in those that ingest it. For that reason, it is banned in the European Union and in Australia. Its exact degree of unhealthfulness, however, is widely disputed.
Starbucks, whose croissants currently contain chemicals such as azodicarbonamide, has been undergoing a transition to feature baked goods exclusively from San Francisco’s La Boulange bakery. According to company spokeswoman Linda Mills, the new La Boulange products do not contain azodicarbonamide.
“Our new La Boulange Bakery goods do not contain the ingredients. Our goal is to transition all the stores to La Boulange. We’re about halfway through that transition,” Mills said.
Public outrage at the inclusion of azodicarbonamide demonstrates that Americans have an increased committment to healthier eating, or at least are thinking more about what they are ingesting.
Source: NBC News
A U.S. army veteran says he was humiliated when an employee at a Houston Starbucks refused to let him bring his service dog into the store and demanded that he prove he is disabled.
Yancy Bear learned that he had bone cancer in 2009 after he received a non-combat related injury in Iraq. His left leg was amputated from the knee-down.
Baer was in Houston on a business trip. He is part of an organization that trains service dogs for disabled citizens.
“A gentleman from Starbucks meets me at the door and says I can’t have her in the store,” Baer told KHOU.com.
He got his beloved physical service dog, Verbena, 14 weeks ago.
“He stated, 'You’re not blind,'” recalled Baer. “It was in your face, loud and bold. I got really nervous. I was shaking because I was being confronted.”
“I explained what all she does, and his next comment was, 'Why can’t you do that yourself?'” he said.
When he finally spoke with another employee who was more reasonable, the employee who stopped him eventually apologized.
“People with disabilities, you can’t always see those disabilities. You never know what a service dog is for,” said Baer.
He hopes that sharing his experience with discrimination will teach others about service dogs.
“Be careful about who you approach and how you approach it. You’ve got to be sensitive to people,” said Baer. “This isn’t acceptable. It can’t be acceptable.”
Refusing service to a person with a service dog is in direct violation of the American Disabilities Act of 1990.
Starbucks doesn’t have a policy prohibiting service dogs, corporate spokeswoman Laurel Harper told KHOU in a statement.
“Starbucks always welcomes service animals to our stores, and this customer’s experience is not consistent with the welcoming and friendly environment we strive to create for everyone,” the statement said. “We have spoken with this customer to apologize for his experience, and we hope to have the opportunity to serve him again. We have also spoken with our store partner about this situation and used this as a coaching opportunity for the future.”
A Michigan man whose father was undergoing chemo treatments at a hospital in 2006 began a tradition of buying coffee for cancer patients. To date he’s spent around $10,000 of his own money on the java and he’s happy to do it.
Dan Dewey’s coffee runs began when his father was getting a chemo treatment at St. Joseph Mercy hospital outside Detroit, according to MSN.
“Anyone want a coffee? I’m buying,” Dewey reportedly stated back in 2006 before heading out to a nearby Starbucks.
Dewey’s father beat cancer, but the man who made the original coffee offer still goes to the hospital to make coffee runs for other patients.
CBS News reports that Dewey, a retired audio-visual specialist for a school district, has spent about $10,000 of his own money on coffee drinks for cancer patients.
"It's the best job I ever had, and I have to pay to do it, that's what I tell people," Dewey said. "Somebody says, 'Can you afford that?' I say, 'No, but I never had any money, anyway, so why not share it?'"
Dewey buys the drinks and brings them to Mercy and now a second hospital that’s across town.
Oncologist Dr. Rajan Krishnan notes that Dewey's drinks do a lot more than just taste good and one patient’s comments proved it.
"He makes me feel like somebody cares," said 78-year-old Anna Burell, one of his regulars.
Dewey is happy in knowing he’s making others happy with his amazing gesture.
"That's all I need is just the smile," Dewey said. "That's all I need. And I have a memory bank full of wonderful smiles."
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently requested that “customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.”
Schultz made the announcement in several major newspapers, which seemed to bother Christian radio host Sandy Rios, noted RightWingWatch.org.
This week, she said on her American Family Association radio show that the next mass shooting may happen at a Starbucks because it is gun-free (audio below).
Rios also made the false claim that police officers and FBI agents will not be able to go to Starbucks if they are armed.
She also used a debunked NRA talking point about how gun criminals strike in "gun-free zones" solely because they are "gun-free."
However, Mother Jones reported earlier this year:
Among the 62 mass shootings over the last 30 years that we studied, not a single case includes evidence that the killer chose to target a place because it banned guns. To the contrary, in many of the cases there was clearly another motive for the choice of location. For example, 20 were workplace shootings, most of which involved perpetrators who felt wronged by employers and colleagues.
“Speaking of shooting, you just wonder if the next one is going to take place at one of your favorite coffee establishments because Starbucks is now, a full page letter in Washington Post today signed by Howard Schultz.. basically asking customers to stop bringing firearms to their stores or even outdoors. So if you're a policeman, if you're an FBI agent, if you are any kind of officer... no longer at Starbucks,” said Rios.
“I don’t know if people like the shooter on Monday read the Washington Post or these treatises from people like Starbucks, but John Lott, our professor friend who was our guest Tuesday, who is the leading academic on gun use in the United States has some interesting statistics about the last... mass shootings, I think 80, 90 percent of them took place in gun-free zones.”
Rios failed to mention that Lott's research may have been paid for by the gun lobby, he has been caught creating a false persona to praise his pro-gun books on Amazon.com and that several of his claims have been debunked.
Gun owners across the country may no longer be able to bring their firearms with them to get a cup of coffee. At least not in Starbucks.
CEO of the Seattle-based coffee giant Howard Schultz wrote, in an open letter to his “fellow Americans,” that he is politely requesting that firearms not be brought into the stores or in the outdoor seating areas. The letter comes after a string of mass shootings and a nationwide debate on gun control, and while Schultz isn’t enacting an official ban on guns at his stores, he also isn’t taking that option off the table.
In the letter, Schultz asks that responsible gun owners “respect our request,” hoping that if people are understanding and respectful of this, an official ban won’t have to happen.
“Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns,” Schultz writes in the letter. “In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.”
Schultz also made clear that despite many of the Starbucks stores being used to hold gun rights rallies and pro-open carry events, he does not want those things to take place at his stores any longer.
“Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening,” continues Schultz. “Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.”
Schultz says he is “proud of our country and our heritage,” and that is why he is making the request. He says he hopes that his fellow Americans will respect what he is asking and stop bringing firearms to Starbucks stores.
Read the letter in its entirety below.
Dear Fellow Americans,
Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.
From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.
We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.
Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.
Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.
For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.
I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.
A Seattle Starbucks fired one of their baristas last week after he ate a sandwich that had been thrown away in the garbage. Coulson Loptmann, 21, had been surviving off of a combination of his modest hourly wages and food stamps. Loptmann had worked at the downtown coffee shop for more than a year.
“I hadn’t eaten all day and I was on a seven-hour shift,” he said.
The plastic-wrapped sausage sandwich that Loptmann grabbed out of the bin had just been marked as out of stock by a co-worker.
"She said, 'What a waste, huh?'” Loptmann said. "She tossed it in the garbage. I figured, it's in plastic, it's fine. So I reached in and grabbed it."
Loptmann figured no one would have a problem with him eating food that was being thrown away anyway, but he was wrong. According to Loptmann, his manager told him she had found out about the sandwich and contacted Human Resources.
“They consider it stealing, and it’s against policy,” she said. “So I’m sorry, but I have to terminate you.”
Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson confirmed that “it is a violation of our policy to consume marked-out products." He said the policy is not to prevent stealing — it is to protect the health of employees, The Stranger reported. “We do not want our partners to consume potentially spoiled products and get sick.”
Although he could not discuss specifics, Hutson said someone could be fired for repeatedly violating company policy.
“In general, a partner would not be separated for a single, minor infraction like violating this policy," Hutson said. "However, a partner could be separated for an infraction like this if it was the culmination of broader, ongoing performance issues.”
Even though he worked in the food-service industry, Loptmann said it was tough getting enough to eat after his hours were gradually reduced.
“It sounds ridiculous, but having bread and mustard and mayonnaise and some kind of meat and lettuce — it doesn’t sound expensive, but that adds up … There were some days where I lived off of Starbucks food.”
Gun advocates are planning to bring their guns to a Starbucks (pictured) in Newtown, Connecticut tonight.
Newtown is where 20 children were killed by gunfire at the Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012.
The gun owners are bringing their weapons as part of a nationwide “Starbucks Appreciation Day" because the coffee chain allows customers to carry guns (video below).
A Facebook page has been created for “Starbucks Appreciation Day" and urges gun owners across the country to visit their local Starbucks with weapons: "We will thank starbucks (sic) for standing up for our right to bear arms by going there on Friday, August 9th."
Connecticut does have an open-carry law, however, not everyone is enthusiastic about the gun event less than a year after the mass murder, noted 11Alive.com.
“Our community is still healing and we find it reprehensible that they are picking Newtown to rally. It is disturbing to think that tomorrow night you and your children may be sitting in Starbucks when people carrying guns walk through the door," said David Ackert of the Newtown Action Alliance.
In response to the controversy, Starbucks spokesperson Zack Hutson told Fox CT: “We recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding open carry weapon laws. Our long-standing approach to this topic remains unchanged. We comply with local laws and statutes in the communities we serve, abiding by laws that permit open carry. Where these laws don’t exist, openly carrying weapons in our stores is prohibited,”
However, that's not entirely true. Starbucks' employees are not allowed to carry guns into work, regardless of local laws. Also, Starbucks bans guns from its corporate headquarters, reports AlterNet.org.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense stated in a press release earlier this week that "Starbucks bans smoking within 25 feet of its stores in areas where smoking would otherwise be legal," but allows guns "despite several in-store shootings."
Today is Starbucks Appreciation Day, an unofficial holiday where gun owners show their support for Starbucks. Starbucks has long been one of the strongest supporters of gun rights, consistently stating that they will allow customers to bring weapons into stores as long as doing so is in compliance with local and federal laws.
Customers are freely able to openly carry guns into Starbucks locations, but employees are not allowed to carry weapons.
This isn’t the first time that the massive coffee chain has received support from civil rights groups. Back in August of 2012, gay marriage activists announced National Starbucks Appreciation Day because of Starbuck’s support of gay rights.
Unsurprisingly, some gun control activists aren’t particularly thrilled about the public display of guns. A spokesman for the Newtown Action Alliance, a gun control group that was created in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, stated, “Our community is still healing, and we find it reprehensible that they are picking Newtown to rally. It is disturbing to think that tomorrow night you and your children may be sitting in Starbucks when people carrying guns walk through the door.”
Starbucks has not made an official comment about the holiday, but it’s hard to imagine that they aren’t excited about the boost in revenue. Some gun control group such as Moms Demand Action have called on people to boycott Starbucks. Between this holiday and the gay rights holiday, it’s hard to imagine Starbucks haters making much of an impact on the coffee chain’s bottom line.
Have you been to Starbucks today for your daily cup of joe? Did you spot any holstered weapons?
Source: National Journal
A group of 16 deaf Starbucks customers filed a lawsuit against the company after employees at a Lower Manhattan, N.Y., location refused them service, mocked them and tried to throw them out of the building.
The customers were trying to hold a monthly meeting when the staff called police, saying that the group was disturbing other customers and that they had not obtained permission for the meeting. The staff also complained that no one had purchased a drink, though several were mocked when they tried to order one.
When Alen Roth, one of the offended patrons, asked the employee taking his order if she had a problem with him being deaf, she began yelling obscenities at him and had to be pulled back by other employees.
Once police arrived, they found nothing wrong the customers’ behavior and chastised the Starbucks employees for wasting police time.
A representative for Starbucks said the company takes discrimination seriously, adding that the employees were neither “in line with our values nor our track record of engaging” deaf customers.
The group’s attorney, Eric Baum, suggested that Starbucks create a training program to better serve deaf customers, which should include a sensitivity training.
The group is seeking retribution for “humiliation, embarrassment and emotional pain.”