Customers relax and drink their beverages at a Starbucks Coffee shop on January 28, 2009 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle

Starbucks enters political fray with free coffee offer


As legislators in Congress show no signs of ending political gridlock, Starbucks said it wants to help by setting an example.

Starbucks will give customers a free tall coffee from Wednesday to Friday if they buy a beverage for another customer. The goal is to encourage citizens to “support and connect with one another, even as we wait for our elected officials to do the same for our country.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced the offer in a memo to staff on Tuesday.

From his note:

Our business was built customer-by-customer, one cup of coffee at a time.  Every day in our stores, we bear witness to small acts of human kindness that reflect the generosity of spirit at the core of our guiding principles. Most often, these are the little gestures that best embody our commitment to our communities and our care for our customers, and one another…

I’ve said before that we have a responsibility as well as an opportunity not to be bystanders, but to act in ways that contribute to the vibrancy of the communities where we live and work. This has always been the lens through which we make decisions, and it is a key reason why our customers have continually trusted us to do the right thing.

Earlier this week, Schultz wrote that he was “utterly disappointed by the level of irresponsibility and dysfunction we are witness to with our elected political leadership” and hinted at actions by Starbucks to “galvanize” the community.

This isn’t the first political gimmick Starbucks has done.

Last December, employees wrote the words “come together” on coffee cups to urge politicians to come to a deal to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff.”

Congress and Government Shutdowns

Starbucks enters political fray with free coffee offer