Dear Mr. Schultz,
While I have expressed my doubts about the wisdom of encouraging any potentially controversial conversations while in the time-sensitive position of serving customers, I appreciate that your heart is in the right place.
People across the country already engage in conversations about life's many challenges and controversies as they develop relationships with baristas, clerks, barbers and mechanics across multiple interactions as those interactions lead to a greater feeling of familiarity and friendship.
Sometimes it leads to greater understanding and/or tolerance of different points of view. Sometimes it leads to lawsuits (ask the owner of Arlene's flowers), but I for one appreciate the role the free market has in bringing people together in a diverse society and do not underestimate the difference a kind Starbucks barista may have on a regular customer.
At my station, AM 770 KTTH we're already a bit ahead of Starbucks on this one. We launched our "freedom series", a series of debates designed to tackle controversial issues in an engaging, stimulating, but also civil way.
We've already covered the topics of the $15/hour minimum wage, religious freedom, and guns (a controversy in which Starbucks has had plenty of attention). Coincidentally, our next topic is "Race in America" (tickets and info here).
I invite you to be my guest or even to participate should you choose. If you're worried about being treated fairly, let me alleviate those concerns by pointing out that Seattle's open-Socialist member of the City Council, Kshama Sawant, thanked me for being fair after the minimum wage debate.
I know you are an enormously busy and successful man and I doubt this open letter even crosses your desk. But if it does, and you have time, the invitation is genuine.
I promise to limit rebukes regarding the Sonics to two.
David Boze, moderator