SEATTLE: Starbucks has been on a major charm offensive since the
publication of an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on September
Columnist Robert Jamieson Jr. reported on an incident that occurred
September 11, when Midwood Ambulance workers were charged $130
for cases of water they needed to treat victims near Ground Zero.
He wrote that while the store refused to donate the water, Starbucks
issued a press release to "pat itself publicly on the back" for closing
its 3,000 stores nationwide on September 11.
Starbucks responded to the article with a letter to the editor from CEO
Orin Smith and a press release. "The rest of the story," Smith wrote,
"so negligently ignored that hundreds and hundreds of our people acted
selflessly to support the general public and protect one another
following the attacks."
Starbucks retains Edelman on a project basis, and works with Stanton
Crenshaw in New York. The latter firm has been assisting Starbucks
during the crisis, though neither agency would comment for this
Starbucks also issued a release last week with a statement from the Red
Cross' John Clizbe, VP of disaster services, which praised the efforts
Following a meeting with Smith, Jamieson penned another column to
correct the impression that Starbucks had done nothing to help.
Starbucks also distributed a letter from Smith in all of its stores last
week, describing how staff in New York went to three locations in order
to give out food and beverages to relief workers at Ground Zero.
And finally, in a bid to right the initial wrong, Smith refunded the
$130 paid by the ambulance team.