Howard Schultz Tells SBUX Investor to STFU

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,129

Mod note: Best of Eddie, this was originally posted on 3/25/13.

Howard Schultz is my hero of the moment for the way he shut down an ignoramus at the Starbucks annual shareholder's meeting last Wednesday. Starbucks came out in support of gay marriage last year which led to a boycott of the chain by the National Organization for Marriage. When Tom Strobhar, head of the anti-gay marriage Corporate Morality Action Center, commented that, "In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing.", Schultz lowered the boom on him.

Howard <span class='keyword_link'><a href=http://tinyurl.com/3vxp6e4>Schultz</a></span>:

"Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don't know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.

If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."

In other words, sit down and shut the fuck up.

I'm particularly inspired by his response due to the fact that I had 400,000 nitwit lemmings protesting gay marriage on my front lawn yesterday:

I particularly love the sign across the street whose translation reads, "We want jobs, not gay marriage." I guess the building wasn't wide enough for a banner that read, "We want jobs with a 35-hour work week, 5 weeks paid vacation, 10 paid holidays, free healthcare, and a retirement age of 62, not gay marriage."

Anyway, my hat's off to Howard Schultz for dropping the hammer on this goofball. History will not look favorably upon the people who come out on the wrong side of this particular debate.

Comments (94)

Mar 25, 2013

You live in a cool hood, Eddie.

I wonder how often outrageous things like this happen at shareholder meetings with people simply never hearing of it?

Mar 25, 2013

MISLEADING TITLE!!!

Mar 25, 2013

The reason why those French are pissed is because their retarded government decided to impose gay marriage to the French citizens when a majority of them are against it. I am sorry but unless I am mistaken, that is simply not how a democracy works.
On the other hand, the Howard Schultz story is pretty funny.

Mar 25, 2013
bengigi:

The reason why those French are pissed is because their retarded government decided to impose gay marriage to the French citizens when a majority of them are against it. I am sorry but unless I am mistaken, that is simply not how a democracy works.

Not the case at all. 60% of the French populace supports gay marriage.

Mar 25, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:
bengigi:

The reason why those French are pissed is because their retarded government decided to impose gay marriage to the French citizens when a majority of them are against it. I am sorry but unless I am mistaken, that is simply not how a democracy works.

Not the case at all. 60% of the French populace supports gay marriage.

Well since there will never be a vote I guess we will never really know lol.

Mar 25, 2013
bengigi:

The reason why those French are pissed is because their retarded government decided to impose gay marriage to the French citizens when a majority of them are against it. I am sorry but unless I am mistaken, that is simply not how a democracy works.
On the other hand, the Howard Schultz story is pretty funny.

Not at all trying to start a flame war but this is how a democracy works. The whole point of supermajorities and curtailed powers of the legislative body are to protect against the tyranny of the masses.

Mar 25, 2013
Latrell Sprewell <span class='keyword_link'><a href=https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=1145861&c=cart&aff=44880&ejc=2&cl=175031>CFA</a></span>:

Not at all trying to start a flame war but this is how a democracy works. The whole point of supermajorities and curtailed powers of the legislative body are to protect against the tyranny of the masses.

Beat me to it. A democracy should protect the rights of the minority from the will of the majority.

Mar 25, 2013

How long after moving there did it take you to speak/write/think fluent French?

Mar 25, 2013
BTbanker:

How long after moving there did it take you to speak/write/think fluent French?

Wow. To be honest I would say that I'm not quite fluent yet. On a scale of 1-4, I'd probably rate myself around a 2.8 (with 3 being fluent and 4 being native speaker). So I do fine, but there are still some things I have to do in English (discussing programming, for example).

I had a couple years of French in high school and just kept up with it over the years, so I was able to hit the ground running when I got here in 2008. But if you really want fluency in a language and you have the time to devote to it, I'm guessing you could be level 3 in about a year.

Mar 25, 2013

Good for him. Gay marriage will be like how people in our generation think of interracial marriages, "what do you mean they weren't allowed to get married?"

Mar 25, 2013
Cruncharoo:

Good for him. Gay marriage will be like how people in our generation think of interracial marriages, "what do you mean they weren't allowed to get married?"

This.

Also, given the demographics of Starbuck's customers, I doubt this did much actual damage to SBUX. They would probably lose some customers for not taking a stand for gay marriage.

Mar 25, 2013
Cruncharoo:

Good for him. Gay marriage will be like how people in our generation think of interracial marriages, "what do you mean they weren't allowed to get married?"

I'm all for gay marriage, I think it's a human right to marry whoever you choose consensually (read: no dogs or kids, which is what idiots usually compare the 'adomination' gay marriage to). However, on a fundamental level gay marriage =/= interracial marriage for a lot of reasons. The most basic of which being the biological ability to have offspring.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Mar 25, 2013
Kenny Powers:
Cruncharoo:

Good for him. Gay marriage will be like how people in our generation think of interracial marriages, "what do you mean they weren't allowed to get married?"

I'm all for gay marriage, I think it's a human right to marry whoever you choose consensually (read: no dogs or kids, which is what idiots usually compare the 'adomination' gay marriage to). However, on a fundamental level gay marriage =/= interracial marriage for a lot of reasons. The most basic of which being the biological ability to have offspring.

Agreed, but I don't think Crunch is comparing the two on a fundamental level--just observing that one day gay marriage laws will be perceived as antiquated

Mar 25, 2013
Kenny Powers:
Cruncharoo:

Good for him. Gay marriage will be like how people in our generation think of interracial marriages, "what do you mean they weren't allowed to get married?"

I'm all for gay marriage, I think it's a human right to marry whoever you choose consensually (read: no dogs or kids, which is what idiots usually compare the 'adomination' gay marriage to). However, on a fundamental level gay marriage =/= interracial marriage for a lot of reasons. The most basic of which being the biological ability to have offspring.

Yeah I wasn't really going on that level. But we also allow the elderly and people who are physically unable to reproduce get married if they are hetero couples.

Mar 25, 2013

Given the Starbucks demographic, how can someone think hating on the gay population is a good idea anyway? But yeah, this was awesome and video of it was getting passed around our listserv over the weekend. Great stuff.

Mar 25, 2013

I could care less about gay marriage, but Schultz handled it impeccably. Dude is a bad ass.

Mar 25, 2013

These Corporate Morality Action Center people sound like tools, but no more so than the Chick-fil-a protestors who couldn't stomach the CEO having an opinion they didn't like. I do think that STFU is just a great policy in general.

Mar 25, 2013

I thought everyone in France was gay??

Mar 25, 2013

.

Mar 25, 2013
onemanwolfpack:

I thought everyone in France was gay??

They are. I mean look at these guys...

    • 1
Mar 25, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

I'm particularly inspired by his response due to the fact that I had 400,000 nitwit lemmings protesting gay marriage on my front lawn yesterday

Hey Edmundo,
I was wondering why you moved to France. I've seen a lot of your posts on OWS, but I've never seen a real explanation as to why you're out there.

Mar 25, 2013
miermier:
Edmundo Braverman:

I'm particularly inspired by his response due to the fact that I had 400,000 nitwit lemmings protesting gay marriage on my front lawn yesterday

Hey Edmundo,
I was wondering why you moved to France. I've seen a lot of your posts on OWS, but I've never seen a real explanation as to why you're out there.

Just felt like it.

Mar 25, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:
miermier:

Hey Edmundo, I was wondering why you moved to France. I've seen a lot of your posts on OWS, but I've never seen a real explanation as to why you're out there.

Just felt like it.

Actually, I think the story is that his wife made him move there.

Mar 25, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

Just felt like it.

I'll never understand why this answer isn't used more often. Highly underutilized by adults.

Mar 25, 2013

nm

Mar 25, 2013

I don't hate kids, per se, I just have no use for them (the exception being my own kids, of course).

Mar 25, 2013

If ever a people would support gay anything it would be the French. I literally cannot believe France is protesting this. The entire nation is emasculated.

Whatever. Glad that SBUX is making social moves with investors money. If I wanted to impact social change I would donate to a charity or PAC. Schultz should stick to making profit off coffee instead of pushing his political agenda.

Gotta love the double standard. You have SBUX, a public company using investors money to support political issues and he is a "hero". Then you have Chick-fil-a, a private company using private money to support political issues and they are scum. So happy to know how caviler Schultz is with other peoples money.

Mar 25, 2013
TNA:

If ever a people would support gay anything it would be the French. I literally cannot believe France is protesting this. The entire nation is emasculated.

Whatever. Glad that SBUX is making social moves with investors money. If I wanted to impact social change I would donate to a charity or PAC. Schultz should stick to making profit off coffee instead of pushing his political agenda.

Gotta love the double standard. You have SBUX, a public company using investors money to support political issues and he is a "hero". Then you have Chick-fil-a, a private company using private money to support political issues and they are scum. So happy to know how caviler Schultz is with other peoples money.

Is everything partisan with you? I feel like the entire point of this thread just went completely over your head.

Mar 25, 2013
duffmt6:
TNA:

If ever a people would support gay anything it would be the French. I literally cannot believe France is protesting this. The entire nation is emasculated.

Whatever. Glad that SBUX is making social moves with investors money. If I wanted to impact social change I would donate to a charity or PAC. Schultz should stick to making profit off coffee instead of pushing his political agenda.

Gotta love the double standard. You have SBUX, a public company using investors money to support political issues and he is a "hero". Then you have Chick-fil-a, a private company using private money to support political issues and they are scum. So happy to know how caviler Schultz is with other peoples money.

Is everything partisan with you? I feel like the entire point of this thread just went completely over your head.

I don't know. A CEO is making political points that are hurting the business and telling investors, who invested THEIR money to go shove it.

I don't know, how about Schultz do something crazy like just run the company. I'd be just as outraged if a public company CEO supported conservative causes. Companies exist to make a profit. Leave the public good and charitable work to charities and other groups.

Mar 25, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

Howard Schultz is my hero of the moment for the way he shut down an ignoramus at the Starbucks annual shareholder's meeting last Wednesday. Starbucks came out in support of gay marriage last year which led to a boycott of the chain by the National Organization for Marriage. When Tom Strobhar, head of the anti-gay marriage Corporate Morality Action Center, commented that, "In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing.", Schultz lowered the boom on him.

Howard <span class='keyword_link'><a href=http://tinyurl.com/3vxp6e4>Schultz</a></span>:

"Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don't know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.

If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."

In other words, sit down and shut the fuck up.

I'm particularly inspired by his response due to the fact that I had 400,000 nitwit lemmings protesting gay marriage on my front lawn yesterday:

I particularly love the sign across the street whose translation reads, "We want jobs, not gay marriage." I guess the building wasn't wide enough for a banner that read, "We want jobs with a 35-hour work week, 5 weeks paid vacation, 10 paid holidays, free healthcare, and a retirement age of 62, not gay marriage."

Anyway, my hat's off to Howard Schultz for dropping the hammer on this goofball. History will not look favorably upon the people who come out on the wrong side of this particular debate.

Pretty bigoted of you to call them nitwit lemmings, don't you think?

Mar 25, 2013
flats:

Pretty bigoted of you to call them nitwit lemmings, don't you think?

Let's see what Wikipedia thinks:

Because of their association with this odd behavior, lemming "suicide" is a frequently used metaphor in reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion

Nope, I used it right.

    • 1
Mar 26, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:
flats:

Pretty bigoted of you to call them nitwit lemmings, don't you think?

Let's see what Wikipedia thinks:

Because of their association with this odd behavior, lemming "suicide" is a frequently used metaphor in reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion

Nope, I used it right.

:-)

I'm not religious or even that conservative on social issues, so I don't care if you disagree with those who support traditional marriage. But, 15-20 years ago, it was courageous for homosexual people to come out with their sexual preference because they knew it was not the dominant opinion in society and they might be subject to scrutiny, marginalization, etc. for their choice. As the dominant cultural opinion has changed, we haven't gotten away from marginalizing, ridiculing, etc. people who have different beliefs than us--and that is the problem. Will it be "courageous" in 20 years for people to support traditional marriage because to not support same-sex marriage will mean you are marginalized, viewed as intolerant, etc.? If so, that is wrong. Plenty of intelligent, thoughtful people support traditional marriage and they should be allowed express that opinion without being called nitwit lemmings. That is my point.

Mar 25, 2013

1) Koch is impacting state law which would benefit Koch Industries and shareholders of Koch.

2) SBUX is impacting social issues which have had a negative impact on SBUX.

Coffee is agnostic. People buy Starbucks because it is what they want. Now you have people NOT buying it because Schultz couldn't keep his mouth shut.

Mar 25, 2013
TNA:

2) SBUX is impacting social issues which have had a negative impact on SBUX.
.

Again, I would love for you to prove/quantify this over a longer time horizon than the most recent earnings announcement. I personally think Schultz is impacting state law which would benefit Starbucks and shareholders of Starbucks (via happier employees). It's completely debatable. Just because in your narrow viewpoint you can see no positive coming from this doesn't mean it can't stand on its own merits.

Mar 25, 2013
duffmt6:
TNA:

2) SBUX is impacting social issues which have had a negative impact on SBUX.
.

Again, I would love for you to prove/quantify this over a longer time horizon than the most recent earnings announcement. I personally think Schultz is impacting state law which would benefit Starbucks and shareholders of Starbucks (via happier employees). It's completely debatable. Just because in your narrow viewpoint you can see no positive coming from this doesn't mean it can't stand on its own merits.

Prove? We have people boycotting Starbucks. 40% of Americans disprove of gay marriage benefits. Now this is front and center on Forbes. You have shareholders talking about it at meetings and the negative impact it has had.

This isn't debatable. Coffee is agnostic. If Schultz simply focused on running a company instead of being a social crusader you would have pro gay marriage benefit people and anti gay marriage benefit people drinking his coffee. There is a reason why people love Switzerland. It's cause they are neutral.

Furthermore I don't see you showing how this is a benefit long term either. I can show it is a negative in the short run, that's for sure. At the bare minimum this is a wash for Starbucks.

Sorry if I want companies to simply focus on making a profit and running the most efficient business possible. Leave the charity and social movements to organizations that focus on it. Do not take investors money under the guise of efficiently investing it to maximize profit and then turn around and start a social crusade.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/howard-sc...

"Schultz is no stranger to speaking his mind on political issues. His company used its cups in December to encourage lawmakers to "come together" on a fiscal cliff deal. In January, Schultz said that politicians' lack of leadership on both the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling debates was "sapping the lifeblood" of the country. "

Schultz should shut his mouth and run his company. If he owned Starbucks and it was his company I wouldn't have an issue. But when he is CEO of a public company and basically shits on shareholders who don't share his view I have an issue.

And if people want to be honest with this issue then they should blanket support CEO's being social activists with investor money. Not just when it is an issue they stand for.

Mar 25, 2013

Grasping at straws. You know what impacts Starbucks shareholders? Coffee prices. Discretionary income. Dunkin' Donuts. Political gridlock isn't something Starbucks should be commenting on. You keep trying to find some way to justify the fact that you like this cause and support a CEO using his company to push for it. If Schultz was a conservative Christian and supporting anti abortion causes the populace wouldn't be rejoicing.

I support a CEO focusing on profits. That is why I give them my money. The reason why a CEO should remain neutral and focus on the business is because not all investors share the CEO's opinion. Schultz is in charge of investors money. If he wants to support these causes he can.

I simply do not support activist CEO's. So now we have people boycotting Starbucks, we have this social issue hitting Forbes instead of how well he is running the company.

Mar 25, 2013
TNA:

I support a CEO focusing on profits. That is why I give them my money. The reason why a CEO should remain neutral and focus on the business is because not all investors share the CEO's opinion. Schultz is in charge of investors money. If he wants to support these causes he can.

You can appreciate the difference in corporate governance philosophy. Schultz is telling you to vote with your money. You don't like his management style or corporate values, you can sell your shares and go buy Dunkin. No one forced you to buy SBUX shares.

The mission statement and corporate values of SBUX is pretty clear. If you take the listing of their principles as indication of priority, it's: Coffee, Partners (employees), Customer, Stores, Neighborhood, Shareholders.

Mar 25, 2013
freeloader:
TNA:

I support a CEO focusing on profits. That is why I give them my money. The reason why a CEO should remain neutral and focus on the business is because not all investors share the CEO's opinion. Schultz is in charge of investors money. If he wants to support these causes he can.

You can appreciate the difference in corporate governance philosophy. Schultz is telling you to vote with your money. You don't like his management style or corporate values, you can sell your shares and go buy Dunkin. No one forced you to buy SBUX shares.

The mission statement and corporate values of SBUX is pretty clear. If you take the listing of their principles as indication of priority, it's: Coffee, Partners (employees), Customer, Stores, Neighborhood, Shareholders.

You are correct. Investors can take their money and walk. And some will and some wont. It Schultz had simply focused on running the company and making a profit this wouldn't even be an issue. His job is to run a company, not be a social activist.

http://beta.fool.com/danafblankenhorn/2013/03/22/d...

"Regardless of where they stand, management takes big risks with shareholders' money when it wades into politics. You're bound to alienate one customer base or the other, so the best thing to do, usually, is to shut up."

Amen.

Mar 26, 2013
TNA:

Grasping at straws. You know what impacts Starbucks shareholders? Coffee prices. Discretionary income. Dunkin' Donuts. Political gridlock isn't something Starbucks should be commenting on. You keep trying to find some way to justify the fact that you like this cause and support a CEO using his company to push for it. If Schultz was a conservative Christian and supporting anti abortion causes the populace wouldn't be rejoicing.

I support a CEO focusing on profits. That is why I give them my money. The reason why a CEO should remain neutral and focus on the business is because not all investors share the CEO's opinion. Schultz is in charge of investors money. If he wants to support these causes he can.

I simply do not support activist CEO's. So now we have people boycotting Starbucks, we have this social issue hitting Forbes instead of how well he is running the company.

Unless you bought on an IPO or a secondary offering, you gave NO money to SBUX. If you don't like their corporate policy, then sell your shares and GTFO.

Mar 26, 2013
andres17:
TNA:

Grasping at straws. You know what impacts Starbucks shareholders? Coffee prices. Discretionary income. Dunkin' Donuts. Political gridlock isn't something Starbucks should be commenting on. You keep trying to find some way to justify the fact that you like this cause and support a CEO using his company to push for it. If Schultz was a conservative Christian and supporting anti abortion causes the populace wouldn't be rejoicing.

I support a CEO focusing on profits. That is why I give them my money. The reason why a CEO should remain neutral and focus on the business is because not all investors share the CEO's opinion. Schultz is in charge of investors money. If he wants to support these causes he can.

I simply do not support activist CEO's. So now we have people boycotting Starbucks, we have this social issue hitting Forbes instead of how well he is running the company.

Unless you bought on an IPO or a secondary offering, you gave NO money to SBUX. If you don't like their corporate policy, then sell your shares and GTFO.

Yeah, because shareholders in the secondary don't own a piece of the company and their selling or buying doesn't translate into stock price going up or down.

If you own a share of SBUX and Schultz is running his mouth and impacting the performance of the company and the share price you have every right to voice your concerns.

It is just sad and funny how people cannot divorce their own views from investing. Go support GLAAD or something. I want the CEO of a coffee company to focus on selling coffee, not making a social statement.

Mar 25, 2013

TNA -- Normally, I would agree with you about this. Generally, companies should stfu about political stuff. The exceptions are mostly hippyesque type companies where it's part of the culture and why people buy there. It's like some eco-sustainable-fully-recycled XYZ company that charges huge premiums (for an otherwise unremarkable product) supporting wind energy or something similar. Or, North Face supporting environmental causes. I think a lot of people buy coffee from Starbuck's because it is perceived as hip or sustainable or whatever. Dunkin' Donuts would have trouble pulling this off.

Mar 25, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

TNA -- Normally, I would agree with you about this. Generally, companies should stfu about political stuff. The exceptions are mostly hippyesque type companies where it's part of the culture and why people buy there. It's like some eco-sustainable-fully-recycled XYZ company that charges huge premiums (for an otherwise unremarkable product) supporting wind energy or something similar. Or, North Face supporting environmental causes. I think a lot of people buy coffee from Starbuck's because it is perceived as hip or sustainable or whatever. Dunkin' Donuts would have trouble pulling this off.

No doubt and I tend to agree with you. SBUX is all about environmentally friendly farming with coffee and fair trade. Fine. It is germane to coffee. But this isn't and it is getting blow back.

I just see a difference between Starbucks being green and supporting farmers with regards to coffee and Schultz sticking his nose into this issue and basically telling an investor to piss off.

IMO, maybe people like what he did, maybe the don't, but I don't think ANY investor should be cheering this on. While gay marriage benefits might be popular and something the majority of SBUX drinkers can get behind it is real easy for a CEO to stick their foot in their mouth.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/whole-foods-ceo-re...

Whole foods - Hippy, green, pays a "living wage", all that kind of stuff and look at the blow back he got for sticking his nose into something he shouldn't have.

Oh, BTW - http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers/benefits-u...

Healthcare for domestic partners.

Mar 26, 2013

@flats As a libertarian, there is one basic litmus test through which I view most issues in life: does this make people more free, or less? In this case the answer is pretty obvious.

And let's face it: marriage is just a bad idea period; gay, straight, or otherwise.

Mar 27, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

And let's face it: marriage is just a bad idea period; gay, straight, or otherwise.

Nope. As per your description of divorce in france, marrying a french seems a good idea. Open adultry, what more can you ask for?

The Auto Show

Mar 29, 2013
huanleshalemei:
Edmundo Braverman:

And let's face it: marriage is just a bad idea period; gay, straight, or otherwise.

Nope. As per your description of divorce in france, marrying a french seems a good idea. Open adultry, what more can you ask for?

I like you more and more as time goes by

Mar 26, 2013

Just to be the lawyer in the group, I would like to state that I am pro-gay marriage, or whatever politically loaded term you want to assign to it.

However, from a legal standpoint, it is a very slippery slope to redefine terms that are set in stone. Should gay marriage be held to be a federal issue (i.e. pre-empting state law) and upheld, the doctrine of stare decisis (i.e. precedent) will likely allow for future cases to be brought claiming that marriage should now include other relationships, for example, polygamy. I'm an not saying that these cases have merit. However, lawyers are forbidden under the Model Rules from bringing forth frivolous lawsuits (not that they still don't). By re-defining marriage, it would no longer be frivolous, and in fact would provide further support for their position that other relationships should constitute marriage. This is why you often hear people say well can I marry my sister now? (but note that the people saying this stuff actually don't have the logical or analytical thinking necessary to understand what they are saying).

I believe that this is one issue (mentioned above) that should be taken seriously.

Defining gay marriage as civil unions solves this problem, sense then you are creating a new term and definition that has been specifically defined. That being said, I do see (to a certain extent) why it wouldn't be "equal" if that were the solution that were decided on.

Again, no problems with the LG community, totally think this is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause and is a moment of SCOTUS history, but there are merits to the concern as to how to rectify this problem...and I have just touched on one of them.

We'll see towards the end of June/July most likely.

Mar 26, 2013

Lets be exact. Gay people can get married, they just can't get the same benefits from the government. I'd support removing marriage benefits totally since the government shouldn't be involved.

Either way what I don't support is a CEO advocating for social issues and it hurting stockholders, which is what happened with SBUX.

People want to argue because they support this and cheer for it, but if Schultz came out against this issue people would be calling for his head. I am fine if others want to be intellectually dishonest, but I prefer my CEOs to manage and leave social issues to the relevant causes.

Mar 26, 2013
TNA:

Lets be exact. Gay people can get married, they just can't get the same benefits from the government. I'd support removing marriage benefits totally since the government shouldn't be involved.

Either way what I don't support is a CEO advocating for social issues and it hurting stockholders, which is what happened with SBUX.

People want to argue because they support this and cheer for it, but if Schultz came out against this issue people would be calling for his head. I am fine if others want to be intellectually dishonest, but I prefer my CEOs to manage and leave social issues to the relevant causes.

http://www.npr.org/2013/03/26/175350841/its-bad-fo...

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act -- the federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And among those asking the justices to strike it down is a broad cross section of corporate America.

Nearly 300 companies have filed a brief arguing that the law -- called DOMA for short -- hits them where it counts: their bottom lines.

Boston lawyer Sabin Willett smiles, remembering when he sent the brief to be printed at a shop in New York.

"The printer, he said: 'All these pages and pages of corporations,' he says, 'you know what that's going to cost? My God,' he says, 'You have to list them all?!' I said, 'That's the whole point!' " Willet recalls.

On the list are Johnson & Johnson, Starbucks and Citigroup. There's Apple, Nike and Morgan Stanley, too. And it even includes municipal employers -- Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles, and some counties and chambers of commerce. So many signed up -- 278 in all -- that the appendix listing them is longer than the written argument itself.

Jack Christin, associate general attorney at eBay, says the case against DOMA is pretty simple. "It's bad for business," he says. "It's bad for our company and our employees. And it simply needs to go."

The Defense of Marriage Act prevents same-sex couples from getting medical coverage and other tax and retirement benefits that other employees receive for their spouses. And that complicates things for any business that employs people in any of the nine states and Washington, D.C., where same-sex couples are lawfully married.

"We're basically treating people differently," says Mark Roellig, general counsel at MassMutual Financial. He says DOMA forces his company to keep track of a dual system, and that costs time and money.

"You have to keep separate sets of books. You've got to continually be adjusting. And then also picking up the potential legal risk if you make a mistake," he says. "So it's ongoing administrative costs that are pretty significant."

His company does not want to discriminate, Roelling says. So MassMutual uses a workaround to give employees benefits for their same-sex spouses. But then DOMA forces those employees to pay more in taxes and MassMutual pays more, too.

Profit cuts are not the only reason businesses are complaining about the law -- it's also about the work environment. Hannah Grove, executive vice president at State Street, a financial firm, says DOMA is hurting company's ability to create an inclusive atmosphere.

"In order to compete in today's global competitive environment, our employees are one of our greatest assets," Grove says.

And Paul Guzzi, CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, says, "Talent is talent." He has signed the brief opposing DOMA. He says in the nine years since Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same sex marriage, normally risk-averse conservative companies have come around.

"Cultural change takes time, and I think this is the time," he says.

Guzzi says the broad range of businesses now denouncing DOMA maybe more than anything else reflects a growing mainstream acceptance of same-sex marriage.

"Any public backlash would have happened a long time ago. We're hopeful that the law catches up with where -- as the brief shows -- a lot of corporate America is," says Thomas Maloney, director of government affairs at Marriott. His company signed the brief without fear of getting boycotted, he says.

Overall, 278 employers signed on to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. The number of companies that filed a brief arguing DOMA is good for business? Zero.

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Mar 27, 2013
TNA:

Lets be exact. Gay people can get married, they just can't get the same benefits from the government. I'd support removing marriage benefits totally since the government shouldn't be involved.

Either way what I don't support is a CEO advocating for social issues and it hurting stockholders, which is what happened with SBUX.

People want to argue because they support this and cheer for it, but if Schultz came out against this issue people would be calling for his head. I am fine if others want to be intellectually dishonest, but I prefer my CEOs to manage and leave social issues to the relevant causes.

Where's your proof that his actions have hurt the shareholders? I guess you will have to wait until the next earnings conference and see how much business they will lose out from people who don't buy at Starbucks to begin with!

Mar 26, 2013

Incest should be decriminalized also. It's found in nature, it has been practiced historically, it's only taboo because of genetic issues which can be mitigated through condoms and birth control. Only reason people are against incest is because they find it disgusting which isn't a valid cause.

Being on the hate and hypocrisy.

Mar 27, 2013

I agree. Government should not be providing benefits to any married couple. Neither should businesses.

And wow, no companies signed up against DOMA. I am happy that they decided to keep their mouths shut and run their business. If only the ones who signed it had decided to so the same.

Mar 27, 2013
TNA:

I agree. Government should not be providing benefits to any married couple. Neither should businesses.

And wow, no companies signed up against DOMA. I am happy that they decided to keep their mouths shut and run their business. If only the ones who signed it had decided to so the same.

But Koch Industries was just looking out for shareholders? Shouldn't they have just kept their mouth shut?

I think it was fairly well evidenced in the DOMA article I posted, but just to reiterate - gay marriage is an issue that affects companies, their employees and their bottom line.

You come into this thread screaming hypocrisy and then proceed to exhibit just that.

Mar 27, 2013
duffmt6:
TNA:

I agree. Government should not be providing benefits to any married couple. Neither should businesses.

And wow, no companies signed up against DOMA. I am happy that they decided to keep their mouths shut and run their business. If only the ones who signed it had decided to so the same.

But Koch Industries was just looking out for shareholders? Shouldn't they have just kept their mouth shut?

I think it was fairly well evidenced in the DOMA article I posted, but just to reiterate - gay marriage is an issue that affects companies, their employees and their bottom line.

You come into this thread screaming hypocrisy and then proceed to exhibit just that.

Koch Industries was/is lobbying for something which will directly benefit Koch Industries. If Schultz wants to throw money at Congress to keep competition from entering the coffee market, then fine.

Gay Marriage Benefits is a personal issue. And your one article about the added complexity that the government causes doesn't prove your point, it only indicates how government costs business and individuals money. How much has complying with Obamacare cost these businesses? EEOC?

I hope you are as intellectually consistent when a CEO voices HIS opinion on an issue you don't support. I also don't see what Koch Industries has to do with this. If the CEO of Koch is saying his company is for or against a personal, individual issue, then I am also against that.

CEO's should run the business and leave social/personal issues to other parties.

Duff - please quote me where I said it was ok for Koch's CEO to support a social cause as the voice of his shareholders and company. Lets see that quote before you start calling me a hypocrite, which I am not.

Mar 27, 2013

God, you again. Let me see. If Schultz said nothing there wouldn't be an article in Forbes about this, it would be about coffee. If he focused on his business there wouldn't be investors talking about boycotts.

This is beyond just people who don't buy Starbucks. You have Sxhultz telling an investor who dared to speak his opinion at a investor meeting to go sell his stock if he doesn't like the social stance Achultz decided to make with the company.

Just because you support something doesn't mean all of your customers or investors do. It is best to keep opinions to yourself and focus on the job you've been tasked with.

Mar 27, 2013

You can't quote me because I never said it. This is also a personal issue. How you can't see the gay marriage benefits issue is not being a fundamental business issue for Starbucks is beyond me. This isn't advocating for coffee tax credits or for less regulation regarding coffee implementation.

As for the business costs associated with DOMA, it is simply because of government regulation. If government was out of the entire marriage debate it would not be an issue for anyone.

You support this cause and support CEO's who overstep their bounds and support it. Fine. I simply support CEO's being apolitical with regards to social, non business issues. This is one of them. While you can tangentially try and tie this issue with a business cost, there are countless government imposed business costs. This is just one of them and one with a vocal and popular following.

I am the one staying on point.You brought in Koch when it wasn't relevant. You accused me of being a hypocrite and then decided you weren't going to quote me. Because you can't.

Mar 27, 2013
TNA:

You can't quote me because I never said it. This is also a personal issue. How you can't see the gay marriage benefits issue is not being a fundamental business issue for Starbucks is beyond me. This isn't advocating for coffee tax credits or for less regulation regarding coffee implementation.

As for the business costs associated with DOMA, it is simply because of government regulation. If government was out of the entire marriage debate it would not be an issue for anyone.

You support this cause and support CEO's who overstep their bounds and support it. Fine. I simply support CEO's being apolitical with regards to social, non business issues. This is one of them. While you can tangentially try and tie this issue with a business cost, there are countless government imposed business costs. This is just one of them and one with a vocal and popular following.

I am the one staying on point.You brought in Koch when it wasn't relevant. You accused me of being a hypocrite and then decided you weren't going to quote me. Because you can't.

It's almost like you read my post, blacked it out, then decided to respond anyways. I clearly explained why I didn't quote you (you were misconstruing my point, which I further clarified even though it should have been unnecessary). I laid out an argument for why gay marriage is a business issue, not just for Starbucks but also the huge group of companies that have petitioned against DOMA (it's also laid out pretty clearly in the article I posted). Pointing out other policy matters that might be more obvious business catalysts is in no way a refutation of the business argument I laid out.

I also said that this wasn't a political discussion, and I personally don't give two shits about how you regard government regulation - it is what it is and the companies in question need to operate under its framework.

I brought in Koch because it was relevant - it was company management using their influence to direct government policy, just as Schultz did. If you are just going to ignore my arguments about the business relevance then I don't know what to tell you except to pull your head out of the sand.

I stand by my statement that you were being a hypocrite. You also seem a bit butt hurt about the tides turning on gay marriage public opinion (admittedly irrelevant).

For real this time though. I'm done with this thread.

Mar 27, 2013

Gotta love the insults when you can't win an argument.

Koch was irrelevant and you brought it up. You called me a hypocrite and then refuse to substantiate it. Gay marriage benefits are not what is costing companies money, it is the regulation regarding it. Just as Obamacare, ADA, etc and other government regulations add to the cost of business.

Is Starbucks in the business of insurance benefits? Are the in the business of gay marriage? They are a coffee seller and provider of food products. Do only gay people go to Starbucks? Does Schultz own Starbucks?

Glad that you are done with this topic since you seem to simply like to call people names and run off. Nothing I have said has been for or against this issue. I simply state that a CEO should focus on their core business and not bring their company into personal matters.

As for you arguments on the business relevance, it is only related to additional costs associated with providing benefits to individuals not neatly encompassed by law. I will agree that this issue has a cost to a business. Just as all kinds of government regulations and laws have costs. It is not the primary cost nor is it even one of the top 10 costs.

Since you bring in Koch, let me bring in another example. TurboTax lobbies government to not have the IRS provide a free, online tax service. This would directly compete with TurboTax. This is a company directly influencing policy, much like what Koch does. The difference between these two examples and Starbucks is that they are influencing a business issue, not a social issue.

I am waiting for you to back up what you say when you call me a hypocrite. Here is the definition in case you are confused.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrite

" a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings "

Nothing I have said in this thread has been hypocritical. Also, not sure how I would be "butt hurt" against marriage benefits for gay couples. I do not care what individuals do and who they marry. Personally, I am against government interference in the person lives of people and extending benefits to married people regardless of sexuality.

Mar 27, 2013
TNA:

Nothing I have said in this thread has been hypocritical.

Yes it is. Saying it's OK for a company to try to influence policy for business purposes and then saying it's not OK for Shultz to lobby for gay marriage (while simultaneously acknowledging the merits that there are costs associated with it [but still ignoring the employee welfare and corporate culture aspects of the business argument]) simply because "it's a social issue" is hypocritical.

Also, starting your post proclaiming yourself as the winner of an argument is pretty indicative of the exact opposite.

Mar 27, 2013
duffmt6:
TNA:

Nothing I have said in this thread has been hypocritical.

Yes it is. Saying it's OK for a company to try to influence policy for business purposes and then saying it's not OK for Shultz to lobby for gay marriage (while simultaneously acknowledging the merits that there are costs associated with it [but still ignoring the employee welfare and corporate culture aspects of the business argument]) simply because "it's a social issue" is hypocritical.

Also, starting your post proclaiming yourself as the winner of an argument is pretty indicative of the exact opposite.

Get real. Comparing whatever costs associated with insuring a tiny portion of a work force with a business lobbying for something that is directly related to their primary business is silly. If Startbucks was in the business of marrying people I would agree that this is a business issue. They are not.

Schultz should start lobbying for the elimination of pennies because 5 employees are allergic to copper and it increases sick time which hits the bottom line.

It is ok for a company to influence when it is their business. Schultz lobbying for coffee tariffs is part of the business. This is not a primary part of their business. It is largely a social issue. The only time it impacts a company is with regulation and insurance compliance which has a cost. Not a primary business activity.

I mean hey, if you think this thinly strung argument is the same as Alcoa lobbying to impose limitation on aluminum importation then cool, you have a point. Last time I check SBUX was in the business of coffee.

Mar 27, 2013

Mind = BLOWN

Mar 29, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

Mind = BLOWN

I did a double take as well. I rememer years ago liking O'Reilly and then during the Bush years he became kind of an asshole. I guess it was that or lose his job.

But I still think Hannity is going to burn in hell. I swear, that guy is the biggest jerk on TV. He takes pleasure in not just being an asshole, but teaching people how to be assholes, and I'd wish evil upon him but it's bad karma.

Mar 27, 2013

Not sure why your mind would be blown. He supports civil unions and says states should decide. Not sure why the Federal government, which should be weak and limited, is passing such broad and nationally encompassing laws. Marriage without the church is nothing but a legal document joining two people. Nothing more than a partnership agreement in business.

Mar 27, 2013
TNA:

Marriage without the church is nothing but a legal document joining two people. Nothing more than a partnership agreement in business.

I wish you could get the Bible beaters to understand that...

Mar 27, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:
TNA:

Marriage without the church is nothing but a legal document joining two people. Nothing more than a partnership agreement in business.

I wish you could get the Bible beaters to understand that...

I personally think you could really isolate the pure hate mongers if you just kept the civil union term, but there isn't even agreement on that. Marriage triggers thoughts of church and a wife and kids. You use that term and people are going to get upset. You use civil unions and people don't really care as much.

Lets go back to pre-civil war times when the government had nothing to do with people getting married. Churches did the ceremony and that was that. Why we need to go to a government building and file a certificate is beyond me.

Mar 27, 2013

Think a more fundamental question being raised here is who gets to define a company's mission and direct a company's actions - is it shareholders or management? Are shareholders "along for the ride" or "have a say to management"?

Clearly in this case, Schultz is telling Strobhar he's just along for the ride, and if you don't like the way I'm driving the bus then you can get off. Philosophical differences on corporate governance aside, this case illustrates that management power > individual shareholder power, unless the shareholder wants buy a majority stake or get enough votes to form a majority.

Let's also keep in mind, Stobhar is only 1 shareholder. Based on the reactions from the rest of the shareholders at the meeting ("At that point the audience interrupted in cheers and applause") - the rest of the ownership group is clearly supportive of Schultz's stance. Granted there is no way to tell if the audience in attendance represents a majority stake in the company, but clearly the other shareholders don't have an issue with their CEO's direction.

Mar 27, 2013
freeloader:

Think a more fundamental question being raised here is who gets to define a company's mission and direct a company's actions - is it shareholders or management? Are shareholders "along for the ride" or "have a say to management"?

Clearly in this case, Schultz is telling Strobhar he's just along for the ride, and if you don't like the way I'm driving the bus then you can get off. Philosophical differences on corporate governance aside, this case illustrates that management power > individual shareholder power, unless the shareholder wants buy a majority stake or get enough votes to form a majority.

Let's also keep in mind, Stobhar is only 1 shareholder. Based on the reactions from the rest of the shareholders at the meeting ("At that point the audience interrupted in cheers and applause") - the rest of the ownership group is clearly supportive of Schultz's stance. Granted there is no way to tell if the audience in attendance represents a majority stake in the company, but clearly the other shareholders don't have an issue with their CEO's direction.

This is an interesting point. I tend to think CEO's, as they are often replaced, are shepherds of the established mission of the company. I also think Schultz was expanding SBUX's stated mission to fit his personal opinions.

Either way I think we can agree that these shareholders, cheering aside, are in it to make money. If the stock takes a hit they won't be cheering.

Mar 30, 2013

Hah if you take the picture out of context it would seem there's an enraged mob outside Eddie's door.

Eddie, what the hell you do, go public with your Euro short and break the bank all Soros style or sumtin?

.........I call this one "it was late and I was tired"

Mar 30, 2013

starbucks tries to depict itself as a lifestyle company and this fits along with that. prominently displayed on their website is this:

http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility

shit is not just about the coffee, it's to make people feel like they're making a difference by purchasing their product. gay marriage fits in with all this hippy shit and i'd argue that a great portion of their customers probably support it as well. i don't see this as any different as flaunting all this blah blah fair trade sourced from some starving africans blah blah bullshit.

Mar 30, 2013
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