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Issue 145 - December 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 7

Starbucks Lack of Support For Iraq Troops Rumor

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Outline
Message claims that Starbucks refused to donate coffee to Marines stationed in Iraq because the company does not support the war.



Brief Analysis
False. The claim that Starbucks did not support the Iraq war or US military personnel is an old rumour without substance and the message should not be forwarded.

Update
A more recent version of the message claims that Starbucks refused a request to send coffee to British Royal Marines stationed in Afghanistan because it did not support the war there. This UK based variant is just a mutated version of the 2004 original and has no basis in fact whatsoever.

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Last updated: December 11, 2012
First published: January 21, 2008
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer



Example
Recently Marines in Iraq 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 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 not support them by 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 pass this along, or you can discard it and no one will never know.

Thanks very much for your support. I know you'll all be there again when I deploy once more.

Semper Fidelis.
Sgt. Howard C. Wright
1st Force Recon Co
1st Plt PLT

PLEASE DON'T DELETE THIS . . ALLOW IT TO BE PASSED TO ALL IN MEMORY OF ALL THE TROOPS WHO HAVE DIED SO THAT WE MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE TO SUPPORT THEM OR NOT! ! !

Also, don't forget that when the Twin Trade Towers were hit the fire fighters and rescue workers went to Starbucks because it was close by for water for the survivors and workers and Starbucks charged them! ! !

JUST A NOTE TO THIS; STARBUCKS HAD STORES ON SEVERAL MILITARY BASES IN THE UNITED STATES. THEY ARE NOW BEING REMOVED BECAUSE OF THIS. GO GET 'EM AMERICA . STAND-UP FOR OURSELVES!



Detailed Analysis
According to this protest message, Starbucks refused a request by US Marines in Iraq to donate coffee because the company did not support the Iraq war or "anyone in it". The message asks recipients to show their support for troops by refusing to buy Starbucks products in protest of the company's policy.

The message began circulating in 2004 after Marine Sergeant Howard C. Wright sent it to a group of friends who then passed it on to others. The message soon spread around the world and continues to circulate years after it was first sent. However, Sergeant Wright did not receive the refusal letter from Starbucks personally. Instead, he heard reports of the supposed refusal,

©iStockphoto.com/christine balderas

Starbucks Coffee Rumor
The rumour that Starbucks refused to donate coffee and does not support the war is unfounded
along with suggestions that Starbucks did not support the war, from others and these reports subsequently turned out to be incorrect.

Sergeant Wright was later contacted directly by Starbucks after the company became aware of the email rumor. After he realized his original message was in error, Sergeant Wright sent out the follow-up email reproduced below:
Dear Readers,

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
Sgt USMC
1st Force Rcon Co
1st Plt PLT RTO
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.

It is unclear how the story told to Sergeant Wright about Starbuck's refusal and lack of support for the war originated. Wright has been unable to track down the alleged reply and Starbucks has denied sending one. Therefore, it seems likely that the notorious message never existed in the first place.

In truth, Starbucks and its employees support US troops in a number of ways. Starbucks has partnered with the Red Cross to provide thousands of pounds of coffee to US troops overseas. A 2004 article on the US Department of Defence website notes:
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.

Update
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.

References:
Rumor Response: Misinformation About Starbucks and the United States Military
Starbucks Apologizes for Water Flap
Starbucks, Red Cross 'Bring a Bit of Home' to Overseas Troops


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Issue 145 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Hoax - NASA Predicts Total Blackout of Planet in Dec 2012
  2. 'You Have Received a Secure Message' Malware Emails
  3. Christmas Cards For Dalton Dingus
  4. Jim Carrey is NOT Dead
  5. Australian Power & Gas 'Payment Receipt' Malware Emails
  6. Gmail 'Update Account' Phishing Scam
  7. Starbucks Lack of Support For Iraq Troops Rumor
  8. Holiday Horrors - Are Common Seasonal Decorations Toxic?
  9. Facebook 'Site Governance' Email is Legitimate
  10. RapidFax Malware Email
  11. Facebook Survey Scam - Free Bunnings Gift Card
  12. Plea to Help Find Homes for 52 Thoroughbred Horses
  13. Giant Table and Chairs Horse Shelter Photograph
  14. Wrestling Star John Cena is NOT Dead
  15. Facebook 'Pirates' Fraud Warning
  16. Leptospirosis Death Warning - Rat Urine on Soda Can Top
  17. Egg Windshield Attack Robbery Warning
  18. 'Assistance Internet' Email Account Phishing Scam
  19. Misleading Health Advice Email - 'Mayo Clinic on Aspirin and Heart Attacks'