March 25th, 2015:

Caution this coffee is incredibly thought provoking

It only took a week, and Starbucks is already done with their Race Together campaign, where baristas were encouraged to start a conversation about race with their customers. By writing the phrase “Race Together” on your cup o’ joe, they would jumpstart a not at all awkward or complicated dialogue at 8 in the morning over the loud whirring of frothing milk. I guess they were hoping it would lead to more interaction between humans of different color. Imagine the thrill of this experience: “Honey, I talked to a black person today, and you wouldn’t believe what I learned. Have you heard of slavery? Pardon my French but it was Effed. Up.”

Public reaction to the campaign was mixed. From “why are you doing this” to “no, please don’t do this.”  And while Starbucks claims “no seriously, this was supposed to last a week, we totally planned on giving up on this idea very, very quickly,” I remain skeptical. You can’t talk about race issues in America with an overworked and underpaid person, presumably of a different race, as they wait on your impatient, white, fancy-drink craving ass. Unless of course the conversation is limited to, “Hey is it hard to be black in America?” And they reply “Yes,” and hand you your coffee.

I've got a tall flat white and questions about race for Jhlom? Is Jhlom here?

I’ve got a tall flat white and questions about race for Jhlom? Is Jhlom here?

But hey, you gave it your best shot Starbucks. This is a conversation that we all need to have, just in a less cutesy, “isn’t this fun, instead of writing your name wrong on your cup let’s have a rap session about apartheid” kind of way. But this wasn’t the worst campaign. Here are some other Starbucks conversation starters that the public wasn’t ready for:

Campaign #1 – Holocaust: Fact or Fiction? – Whoa whoa whoa hey man we’re Starbucks, we’re just asking questions here. We want our employees and customers to express themselves. What, you think anti-semites don’t treat themselves to Caramel Flan Frappuccino Blended drinks when they aren’t spreading hate propaganda? Now who’s the bigot? OK, you’re right, it’s still the anti-semites. We’re very sorry for this campaign, we don’t know what we were thinking. Please have a free pastry on us.

Campaign #2 – This is a two part question: a) Do you think if you kill someone in heaven that you’re automatically sent to hell and b) what if the person that you killed was actually an undercover minion of Satan? Admittedly it’s hard to fit all of that on a cup, so it was shortened to SECRET MINION? underlined twice. This raises many theological and moral questions. If pushed to the limit, would you kill someone in cold blood in heaven? And that’s without even getting into the logistics of how you would pull it off. But if I had to guess – razor blade angel wings.

See? These terrible and completely real examples prove that you should never ask customers anything in the morning before they’ve had their coffee. In the best case scenario they’ll throw their drink in your face, worse case they may actually answer you.

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.