Friday, October 05, 2007

Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round Starbucks' Breakfast Blend

After my wisdom teeth follow-up appointment (clean bill of teeth, by the by), I dropped into the local Starbucks to grab a bagel and coffee to break my fast. As I swirled some skim into my Yukon Gold, I spotted a basket next to the coffee fixin's bar. Not unusual in a Starbucks. But affixed to the tippy top of this particular basket was a handmade sign: "Donate a Pound of Coffee to the Troops." Nestled within the wicker confines were four bags of varying blends.

Something about this arrangement bothered me, and I'm trying to pinpoint the source of my bother-ment. Here are a couple of contenders:

1) Why have only 4 people coughed up a $9 bag of coffee? (Full disclosure: I am not one of those 4 people).

2) Why doesn't Starbucks, with all of their crazy margin, kick in a few tons of coffee, rather than stick a donation basket in this little franchise to collect a few pounds? [Further investigation reveals Starbucks' corporate policy is that they will only donate to organizations officially classed as charities (which the U.S. Armed Forces are not), but have set up a program wherein their employees can take some of their paycheck in the form of coffee donated to soldiers. I still think the corporation could make a donation to an organization like this, though, and give soldiers some good brew without controverting their policies.]

3) Who's the fool who donated whole bean coffee?

4) How, exactly, will this coffee be distributed? Do a few lucky soldiers have individual coffee pots next to their bunks in the barracks? Or will the mess hall brew up a mega pot for everyone to enjoy during one of their meals?

I guess it's just weird because I hear all of these stories about WWII, and how people on the homefront rationed food and steel and such so that it could go to the soldiers on the battlefield. And my generation is setting up collection baskets in places where people routinely pay four dollars for a cuppa joe.

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