Last updated: December 11, 2012
First published: January 21, 2008
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
The rumour that Starbucks refused to donate coffee and does not support the war is unfounded
Dear Readers,Unfortunately, Sergeant Wright's second message apparently did not have the same impact and longevity as the first. In spite of numerous reports explaining the mistake and an official denial from Starbucks, the original and inaccurate protest message continues to circulate to this day with many recipients still believing its claims.
Almost 5 months ago I sent an e-mail to you my faithful friends. I did a wrong thing that needs to be cleared up. I heard by word of mouth about how Starbucks said they didn’t support the war and all. I was having enough of that kind of talk and didn’t do my research properly like I should have. This is not true. Starbucks supports men and women in uniform. They have personally contacted me and I have been sent many copies of their company’s policy on this issue. So I apologize for this quick and wrong letter that I sent out to you.
Now I ask that you all pass this email around to everyone you passed the last one to.
Thank you very much for understanding about this.
Howard C. Wright
1st Force Rcon Co
1st Plt PLT RTO
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2004 – The coffee giant Starbucks and the American Red Cross are teaming up to deliver hot java to U.S. servicemembers serving overseas in the war against global terrorism.
Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Jim Donald said during a Capitol Hill press conference today in the office of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks that his company would provide 50,000 pounds of free, whole-bean coffee that will be brewed and distributed by Red Cross workers to troops serving in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.
"It's important that we show the support and we have shown support -- for our troops overseas," Donald explained. In fact, he said, Starbucks, headquartered in Seattle, has 80 employees in the military now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moreover, Starbucks supplies one pound of free coffee to its employees every week and many have chosen to collect their coffee allocation and send it to troops stationed overseas.
The company also shows support for staff members serving in the military by maintaining their health coverage for up to eighteen months, guaranteeing a position upon their return and paying a supplement to cover the difference between their military pay and what they would normally be paid at Starbucks.
Thus, the claim that Starbucks did not support the Iraq war or US military personnel is a rumor without substance and the message should not be forwarded to others.
This version of the message adds the claim that Starbucks charged rescue workers for water to treat victims after the World Trade Center terrorist attack. This claim is true, but it was apparently the decision of the staff at the particular Starbucks outlet rather than a deliberate company policy. After the water incident was made public, Starbucks eventually apologized for the blunder and reimbursed the cost of the water. Also, some stores located near the World Trade Center and New York City subsequently served free coffee and water to rescue workers.
Some years after the above version first began circulating in 2004, a UK based variant of the message also gained momentum. As the following example reveals, the UK version is virtually identical to the the original US message except that it features a different war, a different country and a different deployment of soldiers:
Recently, British Royal Marines in Afghanistan wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to let them know how much they liked their coffees, and to request that they send some of it to the troops there. Starbucks replied, telling the Royal Marines thank you for their support of their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war, nor anyone in it, and that they would not send the troops their brand of coffee. So as not to offend Starbucks, maybe we should support them by NOT buying any of their products! I feel we should get this out in the open. I know this war might not be very popular with some folks, but that doesn't mean we don't support the boys on the ground, fighting street-to-street and, house-to-house. If you feel the same as I do then please pass this along. Thanks very much for your support. I know you'll all be there again to support us when we deploy once more.
Sgt Howard Wright, 1 Platoon, Recon Company, Royal Marines
PLEASE BE KIND ENOUGH AND DON'T DELETE THIS... PLEASE PASS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR E- MAIL LIST, IN MEMORY OF ALL THE TROOPS WHO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED, LOST LIMBS AND EVEN DIED, SO THAT WE MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE !
Of course the UK version is also completely false and is nothing more than a rather lame knock-off of the original.