Thursday, August 13, 2009

Concern or Cover-up

Anyone who has a love for Africa (or a concern for humanity) as well as a love for those spendy coffee drinks will get all warm and fuzzy walking into their local Starbucks. Pictures of African villages adorn their water bottle displays, traditional fabrics decorate bags and tumblers, and all around you they seem to shout "We care!" While our conscience urges us to "buy this thing and save a life because WE will donate .05 to an African charity!" (not taking into account that the price has been raised to compensate for their sacrificial donation)

But while standing in line last night, I found my mind wandering to a time only a couple of years ago when a love of their fellow coffee producers and their country was not so apparent and I had to wonder: this whole "Save Africa" push, Concern or PR cover-up?

I'm not staying that their marketing efforts appealing to customer's emotions are entirely bad, and it does reflect our turn selling their product. It is the marketing way; it is the American way. We want to help, we are shocked by photographs of unthinkable conditions and our hearts are pulled. Yet, at the same time, do I really want to give up my drink and instead send the entire sum to their aid? How much better to buy something for myself and help those who are far away? Win win, right?


Sheri said...

good food for thought. Am I willing? Do I REALLY want to help?
I guess that is the question.

Mainely Me said...


Jeremy and Ang said...

wow...i never heard about that. kind of sticks things in a different perspective including starbucks fighting a losing battle of giant losses this year. wonder if they lost the same amount they screwed the ethiopians out of. unfortunately its prob not enough for me to quit buying at least a couple a month. Starbucks is my A town treat. I make my own latte's at home but when in albany visiting I always go to NA starbucks.