Monday, December 19, 2005

Tall, Skinny, Decaf, Hypocritical Latte, Please!

The following email exchange is between myself and the district manager of Starbucks. I originally emailed her because I wanted to suggest they take steps to leave less trash on the sidewalk at the end of every shift. I actually thought they would be receptive to my message and that I could count on them to encourage the township to initiate a more robust recycling program. I was wrong.
-----Original Message-----
jay lassiter
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 11:07 AM
Delma W.
Subject: customer feedback
> I have always believed that you can tell a lot about a cafe by the way they make a single cappuccino. Sure, i love a gigante mocha as much as the next guy, but the one-shot cap is still the best indicator of what kind of of overall experience you're going to have at the coffeeshop, in my opinion. Usually the drinks and the staff is great. It is for this reason, that i choose to spend $4 on a cup of coffee at Starbucks in Haddonfield. Unfortunately, on a recent "trash day", the staff put a dozen clear plastic trashbags on the sidewalk which were full of recyclables that were destined for a landfill. This is the 3rd time i have noticed this.
Seeing the store's disregard for the environment offended my sensibilities. For Starbucks to ignore its PROGRESSIVE policies in such a visible way, right on the sidewalk is a drag. It also contradicts the Starbucks mission statement which, according to your business card, seeks to contribute "positively to community and environment." Whatever the reasons you are not recycling, I suggest that you revisit them. At present, the store is ill-equipped and the staff is not trained to properly dispose of its trash. Throwing everything out together on the sidewalk in clear plastic bags is unacceptable.
As neighbors, we share this burden. I am eager to help with a solution. I would be happy to come into the store and spend time with the managers teaching them how to process the store's waste in a greener manner.
> I look forward to your reply and i appreciate you making yourself available for feedback. Jay Lassiter
~~~~~Her reply follows...~~~~~~
Delma Wells wrote:
After speaking with the store manager he has informed me that the Township will not pick up the recyclable from Kings Highway because it interferes with traffic flow in the A.M... I will continue to work with the town to find an answer. I hope to resolve this ASAP, and will keep you posted.
Thanks again
Delma W.
District Manager~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~My reply follows...~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 14:49:56 -0800 (PST)
From:"jay lassiter"
Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by
Subject: RE: customer feedback in NJ
To:"Delma W"
Miss W:
I am not surprised that you're having some issues with the township. Unfortunately, we can't rely on them to "do the right thing" and therefore it is us, the businesses and the citizens to STEP up. I believe that being a good corporate citizen requires initiative and some creative thinking to overcome the obstacle of lack of complaince on the part of the township. This is why I invited you to work with me personally. As an activist with the right intentions, I sometimes lack the "muscle" with the bureaucratic machine that is Haddonfield township, which is why I took this grievance to you directly. If starbucks were to take the initiative by working with concerned local residents and activists for a sustainable solution to the waste management issues , then you are honoring your committment of a positive contribution to the community and the environment. We can not wait for Haddonfield to get its act together and make it easy for us!! anything short of this is falling short of the mission statement. sometimes a positive contribution comes in the form of a good example. who knows, maybe a huge change begins with US?? After dealing with Borrow Hall, you and i both know that doing the right thing isn't easy. Maybe if we are able to show the township how this CAN work, then they will respond and make it easier for all businesses in Haddonfield who want to recycle but have no idea what to do!!!
I am not just talking about milk jugs either. i am talking about bottles and cans, newspapers, cardboard, as well as compostable refuge such as coffeegrounds which the city would LOVE to take off your hands for compost! if the That is why, Ms. Wells, I again invite you to have the management of the store contact me to move forward with my suggestion. Then we can develop a strategy to get greener. If the township sees citizens and businesses making recycling a priority, their policies will fall in line. I am sure of it.
jay lassiter
That email exchange happened 2 weeks ago. I heard nothing more from the Starbacks district manager since. I was hoping they might help me out in my attempts to jump starting local recycling programs. If Starbucks can be consciencious of the plight of some far-off indigenous coffee farmer, then they can surely stop shitting all over their own neighborhood!


Anonymous said...

Dear Jay,
What's good?
I love your latest entry; as a teacher, I can tell you
that anecdotal evidence is a very effective tool. I
am embarrassed for the Haddonfield Starbucks; their
thinly veiled green marketing ploy has crumbled into
the detritus of bullshit that it is. They might as
well have a nuclear reactor sitting on the curb. I
hope a lot of locals read this!!

Monique said...

Well Jay, are you ready for this?
About three years ago I was invited to the U.N for a special event. I was early and went to the cafeteria for coffee and what not, and guess what? they did not recycle either! I thought the recycle bin must not have been put out, but no, when I asked I was told that all goes into the same bin. How about that?

Sebastien said...

Hey Jay,

I think you are great!
Ihave not seen someone as committed as you to some of the causes that take me to heart.

Thinking of you very often, now that you have this website.... I hope the melbourne dot on your world map reminds you of someone very far away but very close....

Chrissy said...

Hey Jo-
BRAVO! I applaud your letter and latest grass-roots effort to get local business in line with their own under-realized and oft mis-leading corporate statements to be eco-friendly. As a fierce and militant recycler, I have many times tried to contact local schools, parks, and businesses to question their recycling practices; only to be met with much the same rhetoric..i.e. "there is just not the proper system in place.." blahblahblah....In this day and age..there is NO excuse (NOT even the almighty dollar) to throw items in the trash that are easily put to better use! Shame on them!

debbiecakes said...

Take it straight to Starbucks Corporate Grande. They should have something to say about it, if you make it sound like you're gonna make a big stink at their storefront on trash pick-up day.