Enjoy rich café mocha goodness with a side of irony.

But mostly just the irony. Enjoy this piece in the WSJ about how you can’t (at the moment) get a personalized Starbucks card that says “Laissez-faire” on it. From a company that is synonymous with the freedom to spend way too much money on overpriced coffee you don’t really need. From the article:

But why should it be considered inappropriate? The phrase itself is an imperative. It’s French for “leave us alone,” more or less. And it comes to us through history as advice offered to Jean Baptiste Colbert, finance minister under the French King Louis XIV in the 17th century. Colbert is best known for his statement: “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.” When Colbert asked a group of merchants, “What do you want from us?,” the answer was, “laisser nous faire.” “Laissez-faire” is, then, an old piece of economic advice with an impeccable French heritage.

Maybe Starbucks considers the phrase inappropriate because it’s “overtly political commentary”? Certainly my friend regards it as a firm statement of political philosophy.

And so, at my suggestion, my friend went back to the Web site and asked that his card be issued with the phrase “People Not Profits.” Bingo! Starbucks had no problem with that phrase, and the card arrived in a few days.

I wondered just what the company’s standards were. If “laissez-faire” is unacceptably political, how could the socialist slogan “people not profits” be acceptable?

I don’t have anything against Starbucks. They serve a decent cup of coffee. It’s not as good as McDonalds, but it is a lot more expensive. And isn’t that what really matters?

Hint to Starbucks: when your corporate policies become the butt of blogger jokes, you might want to change them.

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One response to “Enjoy rich café mocha goodness with a side of irony.

  1. Pingback: High on the Hog Blog | Starbucks and ‘Laissez Faire’

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