I read with great disappointment your open letter of 17 September 2013. As a current Gold level Rewards member, and someone who's history with Starbucks spans nine years, I had previously supported Starbucks for their stance on Second Amendment rights. Your previous decision to abide by local laws and not to cave in to those who demanded you ban legally carried firearms in your stores earned you the respect of gun owners across America. When anti-Second Amendment organizations called for a boycott of your stores, gun owners rallied to your defense, encouraging fellow gun owners to patronize Starbucks, in an attempt to demonstrate to you that when you follow the law, your fellow Americans will support you.
Sadly, yesterday's letter shows that despite gun owners' best efforts, their patronage is not wanted. Therefore, as of today, I will no longer shop at Starbucks Coffee. I do not make this decision lightly. I have a strong emotional connection to Starbucks. When my wife and I were dating nine years ago, she was working her way through college as a Starbucks barista. Between work and school, she didn't have much free time, so I would sit in Starbucks for hours, drinking coffee until she went on break so that we could talk, then drinking more coffee until she got off work so that I could walk her home and tell her goodnight. That was the beginning of years of delicious coffee, snacks, and desserts that I still enjoy. However, your letter yesterday put me and my fellow gun owners on notice - we can either choose our rights or your coffee.
You put me in a difficult position, Mr. Schultz. Even though recent financial difficulties have curtailed my spending somewhat, Starbucks had remained a place where I would take my son for some special time. Now I have to explain to him why we cannot go anymore. I have to explain to him that he cannot have the cake pops he so loves because the owner of Starbucks doesn't want his Daddy there anymore. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights is a difficult concept to explain to a four-year-old. He doesn't understand that a right not exercised is soon lost. I knew someday I would need to have a conversation with him about the Second Amendment and what it means to us, and how standing up for the rights spelled out in the Constitution, however unpopular, is the highest calling of an American, especially those like me who have taken an oath to defend them. I just never thought something as silly as coffee would spur that conversation.
You state that you wish to remain neutral in the national debate about the Second Amendment. Your letter clearly belies that neutrality. By asking Starbucks customers to choose between their rights or your coffee, you have taken sides. You have chosen to side with those that seek to remove what many consider to be a sacred right, second only to freedom of speech in our Bill of Rights. I will not threaten you with massive boycotts or financial retribution - I am only one man. I can only say that you have lost at least one customer, if that even matters to you.
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