If there is one thing 21st century politically-minded people from all across the spectrum have in common, is that they love their boycotts.
As a capitalist, I understand this reaction, but I’ve never been good at these things. Offer me a good product I want, be pleasant to your customers, keep your place clean and hire employees who know what they are doing and willing to learn and a work, and you’ll get my business on occasion.
At the same time, I relish choice in consumer goods. Some companies have gotten so overwhelmingly huge, so widespread — thanks to their successful grasp of the capitalistic process — when a company head says something against our own values, whatever they are, we as capitalists immediately take the “hit ‘em in the pocketbook” approach to disagreement. Until we begin craving said product.
This is when we, as Americans, consumers and capitalists (whether we admit it or not), should embrace the opportunity to shop around, help out smaller and independent businesses, and discover how many great products there are out there. To find them we have to look past those familiar logos.
Me? I love coffee.
Caffeine is my poison. When a big company like Starbucks’ Grand Poobah makes a controversial statement (I'm sure he will again), I say let’s allow the #BoycottStarbucks and the #DrinkStarbucks sides battle it out, regardless of where we stand. Instead, seize this opportunity to show our loyalty to America as the land of opportunity by giving some business to other independent coffeemakers I personally think are, pardon the pun, cool beans!
Here are my favorites:
Remember when Starbucks said they were hiring refugees? Black Rifle Coffee’s answer was “we’ll hire veterans.” The result; pretty much everything at this veteran owned and operated company sold out quickly. Even so, order something and wait it out, because this is great tasting stuff. Some of their raunchier coffee names are hilarious, but don’t let that stop you from purchasing. Proceeds often benefit veterans groups. Personal pick: Silencer Smooth and AK47 Espresso, but their cocoa is also amazing. Heck, everything they do is stellar.
I need to also mention another veteran-owned company, Devil Dog Brew, with the mission to “support our Marine families, all active and Veteran Military, & Community 1st Responders with every purchase.” I learned about these guys when they did special “Sledge Brew” blend to help raise money for political commentator and musician Alfonzo Rachel. Personal pick: Trip Around The World Sampler Pack…for the undecided.
With all the hoopla surrounding this year’s Super Bowl’s commercials, people forget last year one smaller company got a chance to run an ad during Intuit’s ‘Small Business Big Game’ competition. They bill themselves as the “World’s Strongest Coffee,” and they aren't kidding. They’ve even sponsored NASCAR’s Ty Dillon, and were the official coffee sponsor of New York Comic Con. Catch their limited edition picks while you can. I loved their “For Honor” coffees coinciding with the video game of the same name, and recently picked up their Seasonal Blend. You'll never drink pumpkin flavor anywhere else after this.
Don't forget shopping local!
One of the best things about living in the United States is the variety of locally-owned business, and I've really taken notice of the growing number of regional coffee brewers who are creating their own blends for both their hometown customers and visitors. There's something about finding a place who has something that can only be found in their little corner of the worlds, and giving them a little business.
I don't boycott big companies like Starbucks, or even McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts. Hey, I like coffee. Keep in mind there are plenty of other independent businesses just waiting to fill your cup, and companies like Black Rifle and Death Wish will blow your socks off in the process.
Exercise that freedom of choice, and see what they have brewing.