Wall Street robber-baron and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is in the news again. As we've probably all seen, there is another boycott movement underway against the coffee chain, this time from Conservatives. Schultz is such a divisive figure that he manages to get his company boycotted on a regular basis by both Left and Right activists on a fairly regular basis.
So, only a few years after closing American Starbucks branches and aggressively outsourcing overseas; Schultz has suddenly found the capital to hire 10,000 new workers in the United States. Except that he doesn't want to hire Americans, but refugees from the seven countries that President Trump temporarily embargoed last Friday.
Now, a look at Starbucks' Worldwide Franchise Map reveals that Starbucks has no locations in any of the countries that Trump embargoed themselves. And a few of them are actually excellent coffee-growing locations, too. One would assume that a good business plan would be to invest in these countries to help the indigenous peoples while hiring Americans to ease our bloated unemployment rates and poverty levels. But Schultz isn't that kind of businessman.
No, to put it bluntly, Schultz is a jerk. Not only is he a jerk, but a certain type of jerk; one which all experienced and mature men recognize. The type of jerk whose ego feeds off the powerlessness he causes in others while laughing in his sleeve over the people who praise his façade as some great community leader. This character type, in other words, is the sort who's not only a jerk; but proud of being one, too. Schultz' hometown of Seattle is filled with these types.
Schultz' entire business history reads like a how-to manual on every form of corporate chiseling, antagonizing consumer-bases, price-fixing and unfair labor practices, tax cheating and regulatory evasions known to Wall Street. Schultz also seems to have a part-time hobby of suing small businesses over the most trivial trademark infringements.
Schultz has a net worth of almost $3 billion, so another boycott isn't going to effect him personally much. He doesn't really care too much if Americans lose their jobs, or stockholders lose money over such things. He's proven this time, and time again.
A better course for Conservative activists is not to boycott the company, but put pressure on the economic interests who can really pinch Schultz. Men of his character are driven more by power than profit. And that's his Achilles' Heel, because most businessmen are the opposite.
Here are some suggestions for activists:
1. Pressure the Starbucks Board of Directors to remove Schultz. This is where stockholders, chambers of commerce, and business associations can really make a difference. Especially local groups, which can negatively impact local franchises. I would suggest though a carrot-and-stick approach. Make these Starbucks officials some good deals and local support in exchange for a new CEO.
2. Pressure media to drop Starbucks advertising until Schultz is removed as CEO. Obviously, this won't be especially effective against the Corporate Media; but could really have an impact in smaller and local markets.
3. An often overlooked option: pressure foreign countries via their embassies, tourism and trade commissions to rethink allowing Starbucks franchises---especially countries where Schultz' political and social activism here is at odds with the host country's cultural values.
4. Pressure joint stock-funds to divest in companies in which Schultz has shares.
These are only suggestions, and no doubt some Conservative activists can come up with some equally good ones. Conservatives tend to be more active in the business field, and through the economic system is the way to deal with people like Schultz.