Starbucks launches petitions from customers against government shut down

Howard SchultzConcerned over the political wranglings that have led to a shut down of the US government, Starbucks Corp plans to circulate petitions from customers across the US urging lawmakers to reopen the government and avoid a looming default.

The coffee chain's CEO Howard Schultz said yesterday he was acting because of a ''sad and striking realisation'' that Americans had no platform from which to voice their frustration and outrage over the shutdown, which got underway last week after Democrats rejected Republican efforts to undercut the Affordable Care Act.

The "voluntary, non-partisan" petition called on the Congress and the White House to reopen the government, pay US debts on time, and pass a long-term bipartisan budget deal by the year-end.

Copies would be available in Starbucks stores, online, and in tear-out ads to run in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Washington Post.

Starting today, through the weekend, people would be able to take a signed petition to a Starbucks store or sign it in a store. They could also sign the petition online.

Schultz also sent letters yesterday to business leaders, asking them to be part of his initiative. He added, he had spoken with leaders of half of the 30 companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and all CEOs had shared his concern and outrage about the situation in Washington.

Starbucks has increasingly seen itself getting involved in critical issues of late. Last year the company advised gun owners that their guns were no longer welcome inside Starbucks stores.

Earlier this week, in a bid to promote the helping spirit, it started offering a free tall brewed coffee during the week  to any customer who bought another person a drink at Starbucks.

Starbucks was now trying to act as a sort of corporate peace maker between the federal government and its citizens.

Though Schultz offered no estimate how many signatures he hoped to gather, saying he did not have a goal, he said, he would have a lot of signatures.

Based on the company's typical weekly business, roughly 20 million customers would be expected to visit Starbucks' at  its 11,000-plus stores in the US over the next three days.

The petition would also be shared with business leaders, according to Schultz. In the past two days, he said, he had spoken with more than half the CEOs of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones industrial average, and there is 100 per cent consensus about concern and need for the American people to be heard.