Reading Signs

This will be short. I went to the franchise — e.g. not company owned — Starbucks in Margate, New Jersey with my good friend and shoobie for this week, Rudy Fuller. As we waited in line, I looked up and saw a sign behind the counter that featured a large picture of bright red coffee berries.

The copy on the sign read: “Ethically sourcing and batch roasting for you since 1971.

Point One: As I told, Rudy, there really was no such thing as ethical sourcing in 1971. Fair trade labeling didn’t get started until the 1980s. Starbucks didn’t start selling fair trade coffee until activists pressured the company into doing so. In other words, it didn’t jump on the bandwagon, it was pushed on. Still, what the company means by ethically sourcing is anybody’s guess. They have simple declared themselves ethical. Today, Starbucks is the world’s largest consumer of fair trade coffee beans, but that only represents only 10 percent of its total coffee purchases.

Point Two: Starbucks hasn’t batch roasted unless you count by the tons since 1971.

And remember, Starbucks is doing this for “you,” for us.

Okay Rudy, I know that is more than bargained for while getting a early morning vacation iced coffee, but I couldn’t take that sign’s (deliberate) misrepresentation. On to the beach.