Of the good reasons to avoid Starbucks – the over-priced, burned coffee or the crushing of independent competitors – here, in the US, is another: the danger of getting hit by bullets from customers' guns.
Hidden gun goes off at Starbucks
The state of Virginia has allowed "open carry" of guns for many years, and reinforced by law since 2004, allowing the carrying or wearing of guns in public other than assault rifles. Individual stores and businesses retain the right to exclude guns from their premises – but Starbucks has decided not to exercise that right. The result is scenes such as this, as reported by the Associated Press:
Dale Welch recently walked into a Starbucks in Virginia, handgun strapped to his waist, and ordered a banana Frappuccino with a cinnamon bun. He says the firearm drew a double-take from at least one customer, but not a peep from the baristas.
Gun rights activists have been targeting Starbucks' branches around the country, holding meetings in which dozens carrying guns turn up and buy lattes. Starbucks itself won't comment, other than making a statement that the company follows state and local laws and has its own "safety measures" in place in its stores.
Dale Welch, the gun-toting, Frappuccino-buyer above, is a 71-year-old who lives in Richmond, Virginia, one of the safer parts of America more generally. "I don't know of anybody who would provide me with defense other than myself, so I routinely as a way of life carry a weapon — and that extends to my coffee shops," Welch said.
Gun control advocates aren't pleased with Starbucks, a company that prides itself on its social responsibility. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has begun an petition, telling Starbucks corporation chairman, Howard Schultz: