Controversy With Your Coffee And Other Recent Retail Innovations

coffee jobHere’s a fun idea! Wanna talk about race with your barista, while you’re bleary-eyed and fumbling for change? According to Fortune, Starbucks’s CEO thinks you do.

Beginning on Monday, Starbucks baristas will have the option as they serve customers to hand cups on which they’ve handwritten the words “Race Together” and start a discussion about race. This Friday, each copy of USA Today — which has a daily print circulation of almost 2 million and is a partner of Starbucks in this initiative — will have the first of a series of insert with information about race relations, including a variety of perspectives on race. Starbucks coffee shops will also stock the insert.

In a video addressing Starbucks’ nearly 200,000 workers, 40% of whom are members of a racial minority, Schultz dismissed the notion that race was too hot a topic business-wise for Starbucks to tackle.

“I reject that. I reject that completely,” he said in the video address. “It’s an emotional issue. But it is so vitally important to the country,” he continued, pointing to that the United States is “so much better” than what the current state of race relations portray it to be.

Well, there’s no way this could go wrong. 

Twitter screenshot starbucks race

And the Guardian reports that the endeavor has so far produced “mixed results.”

I applaud the motivation, though, I guess? At least someone in charge of a company is thinking about something other — and bigger — than the bottom line.

In other retail news, IKEA wants you to stop playing hide n seek in its stores, please, and also Mast Brothers artisanal chocolate may be the most disappointing $10 you ever spend. I’ve never tasted Mast Brothers chocolate, I don’t think, but I’m surprised that the country’s snobbiest chocolatiers won’t even stock it: I always assumed, based on its price-point as well as its aesthetics, that it must be delicious. Just goes to show, don’t judge a dessert by its cover.

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