Starbucks Employees Are Trashing the Idea of a Howard Schultz Campaign

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

It’s been less than a week since former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that he might be running for president in 2020 as an “independent centrist,” and employees at his former company are already getting grief about it.

According to HuffPost, Starbucks sent out instructions to its store advising “partners” (aka employees) how they should handle questions from customers about Schultz’s potential run.

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It seems as though all the publicity Schultz is getting for saying things that are either bad (like calling high tax rates on the rich and the elimination of private health insurance “un-American” and “not American,” respectively) or stupid (like saying that the best Democratic president of the last 50 years was...FDR), as well as his propensity for some of the worst tweets of all time, has been causing some nervousness at Starbucks.

HuffPost reported that the company’s “Barista Need-to-Know” update for the week, sent out to stores, contained, among other things, these bits of advice:

If a customer asks if we are selling Howard’s book at Starbucks:

No, the books are available at bookstores and online.

If a customer attempts to investigate, or share aggressive political opinions, attempt to diffuse the situation by sharing:

We respect everyone’s opinion. Our goal is simply to create a warm and welcoming space where we can all gather, as a community, over great coffee.

If asked about Howard’s political intentions:

Howard’s future plans are up to him.

Schultz also told 60 Minutes that his run would be separate from Starbucks, but HuffPost reported that the company “one copy [of Schultz’s new book] to each of our U.S. stores this week for partners to share.” In addition, employees would get 50 percent off the book for a limited time. How generous!

Some Starbucks employees are not having it.

“I find Schultz running to be extremely awful,” a Starbucks employee told HuffPost. “I just know he’ll splinter the Dem vote in 2020 and that he’s in it for himself.”

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“Just because you’re a businessman does not mean you’re also a stellar leader,” another anonymous employee said. “We learned that from our current president.”

These employees are joining people in both major parties and even some of the world’s worst, sleaziest political hacks in opposing a Schultz candidacy, which makes you wonder: if the people at the company he led for decades don’t want him, who is ever going to vote for him?

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