Starbucks or Nothing?

By Brent Sandmeyer of Portland, Oregon. Brent is a freelance writer and political activist who grew up working in his family's local, independent bookstore.

Starbucks or nothing - that's the ultimatum laid out in a new series of ads by the union-busting java giant. Hmm. Does nothing come in half-caf with soy creamer? Fortunately, in Portland and beyond, good citizens are rejecting that false choice for something better- progressive local business. Baffled by Portland’s disdain for the best branding money can buy, last year Starbucks shut down three cafes in southeast Portland alone.

Traditional economic political activism is negative, relying on boycotts and pickets to punish bad businesses while doing nothing to reward good ones. But why not use a carrot instead of a stick? Look at Carrotmobbing, where activists “reverse boycott” a local business, sending a swarm of shoppers in exchange for the owner’s promise to spend part of the windfall on environmentally friendly enhancements to the store.

Democrats can use a similar principle to support businesses with a track record of donating to progressive candidates and organizations. BlueOregon readers probably already know those places, but you can also look up donors in your area on sites like and Invite a few friends along as your own mini Carrotmob. You don't have to buy anything that you don’t need- just be selective in where you buy it.

In this recession it can be sorely tempting to abandon local shops to save a little at a big chain, but consider these political implications of where your dollars are going.

For one, spending money at independent shops keeps money from moving up corporate food chains into the hands of lobbyists determined to undermine our common public interests- workers' rights, the environment, fair trade- you name it. With local business, you know where your money is going. You know which stores and owners support Democrats and which ones keep Limbaugh on all day, and you can shop accordingly.

When campaigns begin, they turn to local business and community leaders for donations, endorsements, and clout. You need some flyers, you go to Witham & Dickey, not Kinko's. You need a case of wine for a fundraiser, you go to Lemelson, not Charles Shaw. Put simply, the regional manager of Walmart is not high on the list. Having more successful local businesses means a wider pool of potential campaign support than if an area is dominated by chains.

Some progressive groups are already embracing the local strategy. The Oregon Bus Project has started giving its monthly donors a “Driver's License” that serves as a discount card at businesses around town that support the Bus- a win for everyone. This synergistic karma will help build a strong, local donor base, keeping the progressive Democratic wave rolling during next year's elections, when most of us will still be holding lean bankrolls.

As the Starbucks ads conclude: 'Because compromise leaves a really bad aftertaste.' Yes, yes it does. So shop smart, shop local, shop Democrat.

  • (Show?)

    Here's a helpful book, The Blue Pages, I bought a copy last cycle,

    It tracks donations made by companies based on party affiliation. Remember, most folks with large amounts of money give to several political parties...sometimes it is shocking to see just how much to each.

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    When I hear corporate execs talk about "efficiencies" and "economies of scale", I always wonder "sure, but for whose benefit?".

    "Corporate efficiency" means the efficient extraction of jobs and dollars from a local economy for the benefit of a corporation whose vast-majority owners live far away and don't need the money the way my neighbors do.

  • Daniel Ronan (unverified)

    Hello! Thanks for this post! I think it's really important that we try and shop locally as much as we can. What I also think is important is not villainizing those who shop at bigger chains, perhaps easing them into the notion of shopping locally by having them buy a few products from local shops. Money is an issue these days, so we can't blame people for taking the cheaper option.

    Additionally, I was on board with this article until its last sentence:

    "So shop smart, shop local, shop Democrat."

    No, it should read:

    "So shop smart, shop local, shop DemocratIC."

    I am sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine. If we're ever going to regain any sort of self-worth. I think we should stop talking like Republicans who brush us off with poor English. "Democrat" is a noun, not an adjective, like the other two adjectives in the sentence.

    So, yes, indeed, I will be shopping "smart, local, and democratic," but if you really wanted to go out with a bang and with most grammatical sense, you would change all of these words to adverbs:

    "So shop smartly, shop locally, shop democratically." (In which case, "democratically," is not capitalized.)

  • Walpurgis (unverified)

    Sorry man, I pass two coffee shops walking to work: A Starbucks and a locally-owned joint.

    The Starbucks has drinks that they make well every time, at a good price.

    The locally-owned place has expensive drinks that -- if they manage to even get my order correct -- have an exciting range of quality possibilities, depending on the day.

    So walking to work, I'll usually opt for patronizing the better-run business.

    On the weekends, I've got the time to go to a different locally-owned place further away that has resonable prices AND good service.

    I patronize locally-owned businesses that offer good products, good service, and fair prices.

    So while I agree with the premise here, I (for one) stop short of patronizing a bad businesses just by the virtue of the fact that it's locally-owned.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    We would see more locally-owned coffee shops if Stabucks and other larger outfits didn't weren't given an advantage by the usual set of codes, rules etc in start-up and construction.

    There was an article some years back about a guy in Gresham who bought an old town Gresham pharmacy that had closed and who was converting it into some sort of brew pub. Fine so far. But he was having all kinds of trouble with what he called absurd rules and codes about the right nails, and what has to be where, when these were arbitrary decisions having no relation to safety (so we are not talking about what keeps the roof in place, or the walls etc). So much of his money was getting drained by this, and there was also the permits for this and that, and trying to keep track. He was thinking of giving up.

    A company like Starbucks has a large number of people to handle all of these details so that it's close to routine for them.

    In the end, demands for a large number of codes and regulations beyond what are needed to potect consumers, neighbors and the owners themselves, has led to there being less competition for Starbucks. This is called useful idiocy.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Stephen Holland (unverified)

    Bob T: There is a flip side to your argument, actually: Starbucks actually promotes independent, locally-owned coffee shops, which actually increases competition.

    Taylor Clark, a former writer for Willamette Week, wrote a well-researched (and interesting, fair-minded) book on the company. There's a pretty good summary of his arguments at the Willamette Week website here.

  • Kim Fellner (unverified)

    You can’t beat the cappuccinos at Peregrine, my locally owned independent coffee house on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. But like Walpurgis, I’ve learned that “local independent” does not necessarily mean good coffee—or righteous behavior. The research for my book, Wrestling with Starbucks: Conscience, Capital, Cappuccino, revealed that most independents paid their employees less than Starbucks, didn’t provide health benefits, had few staffers of color, and didn’t care all that much about Fair Trade coffee sourcing. Some were lackadaisical about service, and a surprising number didn’t even serve a decent cup of java!

    I too have issues with corporate domination and am always on the lookout for independents that deliver excellence beyond the capacity of a chain and/or have endearingly quirky personalities. But larger enterprises with a relative commitment to social responsibility sometimes offer better employment conditions and upward mobility for a much more diverse workforce and can, if inclined, wield enough power to create systemic changes like health care for part-timers and better coffee prices for farmers. And, when it comes to shopping Democrat(ic), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is well known to favor the Blue. In other words, while Starbucks has plenty of flaws, the issues are more nuanced than they seem.

    BTW, I’m going to be talking about this during a lunchtime salon on Saturday August 1st at the Western States Center Community Strategic Training Initiative at Reed College in Portland. For more information, contact the Western States Center.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    Stephen Holland:

    Bob T: There is a flip side to your argument, actually: Starbucks actually promotes independent, locally-owned coffee shops, which actually increases competition.

    Bob T:

    They're doing just fine either way. Their "promoting" doesn't change the issues I addressed. It's still a lot easier for Starbucks (or any chain selling any product) to open a new place than an indie can, just looking at the difficulties of paperwork, regulations etc.

    Remember, large companies long ago realized that numerous regulations are more a hindrance to smaller (and potential) competitors than they are to them. I'm not talking about the kind that make sure that a building doesn't collapse. Most have nothing to do with that. The trick has been to get them passed (even from the politicians' point of view) under the guise of "protecting the consumer", if not "reining in big business". Within a generation almost everyone belives the myth. No one ever accused Nader of doing serious research into this.

    That's why the big railroads welcomed and even lobbied FOR regulations during the days of the big, bad robber barons. Sadly, people today think it was forced on them. The records are there for people to see if you dig, but are dry reading to most people. Good thing Gabriel Kolko, a socialist historian, respected facts and refused to let the myth trump reality when he wrote his books. He realized that laissez faire (or even the slightly regulated one we had) was no liked by the big businesses, but that was too bad. They're not supposed to "like" it.

    We're off-topic here, but take a look at these statements in Congressional testimony from railroad officials back on the late 1800s and tell me they were fighting regulations, all from "Railroads and Regulation" by Kolko:


    Quote from Joseph Nimmo, Jr., head of government railway statistics department of the Treasury Dept. and champion of railroads, "Report on the Internal Commerce of the U.S.", 1879, p. 190.--

    "At the present time [1879] railroad managers appear to be quite generally of the opinion that the only practicable remedy for the evils of unjust and improper discrimination, is to be found in a confederation of the railroads under governmental sanction and control, the principle of the apportionment of competitive traffic being recognized as a feature of such a confederation"



    Quote from J. W. Midgley, chair of Southwestern pool, ibid., Appendix, p. 57.--

    "I am strongly of the opinion that special authority is necessary to give permanence and assurance to apportionment schemes. Such result would be desirable not less to the public than to the railroads; and when, by proper representation, this is made manifest, there should be no difficulty in securing the necessary legislation"



    Quote from Albert Fink, Vice President of Louisville & Nashville Railroad, and director of various failed pooling agreement commissions, "U.S. House, Committee on Commerce, House Misc. Doc. No. 55, p. 189. --

    "The first step....should be to legalize the management of the railroad property under this [pool] plan and to abandon the antiquated notion that a government, or combination as it is called, of this kind is against public policy. It can be clearly shown that it is absolutely required for the public interest. The great defect in the present plan, and its great weakness, is that the co-operation of these railroad companies is entirely voluntary, and that they can withdraw from their agreements at pleasure.

    "I do not propose that the government shall compel the railroad companies to transact their business in the way I have described, but simply compel them, in case they voluntarily adopt that plan, to comply with the terms of their agreements....This step alone I think would be sufficient to accomplish the purpose, because the self- interest of the railroads requires the adoption of this plan, and it is only the absence of authority to compel them to adhere to it that leads to disruption.....

    "Another method that could be adopted by the government is to enforce the tariffs established by the railroads and approved of as reasonable and just by the government....Some of the provisions of the [Senator John]'Reagan Bill' [regulatory powers for Congress with no commission], with some modifications, could, if applied, aid the railroad companies in carrying out their plans, but they could not be effectively applied without the co-operation of the railroads....

    "I am free to say, however, that I have little faith that any law prohibiting the payment of rebates will be of much use....Still a law of this kind could do no harm; it would aid me in performing the duties imposed upon me by the associated roads of the Joint Executive Committee"



    Quote from Charles E. Perkins, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, to John Murray Forbes, April 28, 1878, in Thomas C. Cochrane, "Railroad Leaders, 1845-1890" Cambridge, 1953, p. 431 ["Cochrane's book is a goldmine for the period" - Gabriel Kolko] --

    "I don't see any danger in the Rice bill [H.R. 77, providing commission to regulate railroads, written by Charles Francis Adams, one-time President of the Union Pacific] for Railroad Commissioners. There is no precedent for nearly every state has already provided for some kind of supervision of RRds. I think such men as Adams [railroad exec], Fink [railroad exec], and Cooley [railroad attorney] who are named in the Bill as the first Board of Comrs. are just the kind of men we want to study this RR question instead of leaving it wholly to State politicians.....The public will regulate us to some extent - & we must make up our minds to it....We can go to sleep and rest assured that their report will not be communistic....We ought to try to pass the bill". [emphasis in original]



    Quote from M. E. Ingalls of the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis & Chicago Railroad, quoted in Julius Grodonskiy's "Jay Gould: His Business Career, 1867-92", Philadelphia, 1957), p. 505. --

    "It seemed to my mind as though something was absolutely necessary to be done to save the railroads of this country from utter ruin and destruction".



    Quote from Henry Ledyard, President of the Michigan Central, to J. W. Midgley (commissioner of Southwest Railway Association and other pooling associations), March 30, 1885, in Thomas Cochrane's "Railroad Leaders, 1845-1890" (Cambridge, 1953), p. 391. --

    "The great difficulty is not between the roads which want to join, but in handling the roads which do not want to belong to any pool." [i.e., using government to force some competitors to be less competitive].



    Quote from John P. Green, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in "Hearings", U.S. House Committee on Commerce, 48:1, January, 1884, pp 1-2 . --

    "[I admit] that a large majority of the railroads in the United States would be delighted if a railroad commission or any other power could make rates upon their traffic which would insure them six per cent dividends, and I have no doubt, with such a guarantee, they would be very glad to come under the direct supervision and operation of the National Government."



    Quote from Chauncey Depew, attorney for the New York Central (a Vanderbilt attorney), in "Hearings", U.S. House Committee on Commerce, 48:1, January, 1884, p. 39. --

    "I think I can safely speak for the whole railroad interest of the United States that whatever may be the constitutional objections to the power of Congress, and they are certainly very great, and from the legal side I have grave doubts about it; however, from the practical business side, if there was a national board, with supervisory powers, fully authorized to investigate and report to Congress, I do not believe that there is a railroad, great or small, within the limits of this republic that would ever raise that constitutional question."



    Quote from Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (director, later President, of the Union Pacific) to Rep. John D. Long of Commerce Committee, January 3, 1884, John D. Long Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. --

    "I assured him [Rep. John Reagan of Texas, author of RR regulation bill], and I was authorized to do so, that such a bill should encounter no opposition from the railroad companies in its passage."



    Quote from Charles Francis Adams, Jr. to Rep. John D. Long, January 7, 1884, John D. Long Papers, Mass. Hist. Society. --

    What is desired, if I understand something having a good sound, but quite harmless, which will impress the popular mind with the idea that a great deal is being done, when, in reality, very little is intended to be done."



    Quote from Charles Francis Adams, Jr. to Rep. John D. Long on March 1, 1884, John D. Long Papers, Mass. Hist. Society, and also Congressional Record, XVI, 48:2, p. 887 for same views in a public hearing. --

    "If you only get an efficient Board of Commissioners, they could work out of it whatever was necessary. No matter what sort of bill you have, everything depends upon the men who, so to speak, are inside of it, and who are to make it work. In the hands of the right men, any bill would produce the desired results...."



    Quote from G. R. Blanchard (Erie Railroad, and later commissioner of the Joint Traffic Association, a pooling effort) in "Traffic Unity, Popularly called 'Railway Pools' " (New York, 1884), pp. 30, 34.

    "[What was needed was] a national railway commission to co-operate with and not oppose this recognized committee....The country therefore owes to railways conservative protection against radical assaults; and their co-operative traffic federations, which are intended, within just limits, to secure uniformity, stability and impartially among railways, their patrons and the States, should be reinforced, ratified and legalized by an intelligent public conviction."



    Quote from unnamed railroad president, in Senate Select Committee on Interstate Commerce, "Testimony", 49:1, January 18, 1886, p. 819. --

    "The point reached since the end of 1884 in the prevailing contagion of depression and loss, from the effects of ruinous rates, which were uncontrollable from a lack of adequate protection of railroad interests in the past, is not to be remedied by waiting upon 'the survival of the fittest. ' This misapplied phrase of the scientist cannot furnish appropriate data in any recognition and adjustment of difficulties which may attend the commercial affairs of a people."



    Quote from a Report No. 46 issued by the Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce , January 18, 1886, 49:1 p. 175 --

    "The committee has found among the leading representatives of the railroad interests an increasing readiness to accept the aid of Congress in working out the solution of the railroad problem which has obstinately baffled all their efforts, and not a few of the ablest railroad men of the country seemed disposed to look to the intervention of Congress as promising to afford the best means of ultimately securing a more equitable and satisfactory adjustment of the relations of the transportation interests to the community than they themselves have been able to bring about."



    Quote from William P. Shinn, railroad analyst, "The Relations of Railways to the State", in the journal Railway Review, XXVI (March 13, 1886), 121-122. --

    "The rate wars which have of late years so devastated the finances of railroad companies, are all inaugurated and carried on upon inter-state traffic. They are detrimental alike to producer, transporter and consumer; they introduce elements of chance in transactions of business which should rest entirely upon supply and demand....

    "In the interests of producer, transporter and consumer, governmental regulation of inter-state traffic is necessary and desirable.....

    "The leading railroad companies, which formerly (and as I then thought, unwisely) opposed such a commission, are now almost without an exception in its favor; not because, as has been charged, they expect to be able to control it, but because it places between the companies and the public a responsible organization to which both will acquiesce....all experience goes to show that under the light of investigation nine-tenths of the complaints made, fail of substantiation, and thus grave causes of friction are removed.

    "The good results of the railway commissions in the states of Massachusetts and New York are too well known to need more than a passing reference..."



    Quote from editorial in the Chicago Inter-Ocean, January 2, 1887 (reprinted in "Public Opinion", II, Jan. 8, 1887, p. 249) --

    "Perhaps the strongest argument that can be presented in favor of the passage of this bill is found in the fact that many of the leading railway managers admit the justice of its terms and join in the demand for its passage....The irregularities that have gradually crept into it [railroad system], got beyond their capacity to manage....The effort to maintain rates was equally unsuccessful. Then came the last resort - the pool - but that, too, proved impotent....And now, acknowledging the inefficiency of their own weak inventions....the managers are content to leave the settlement of the whole matter to the law-making power of the country...."



    Quote from trade journal "Railroad Gazette, XIX, (Feb. 18, 1887) p. 112 --

    "We do not ourselves apprehend any very destructive consequences, either industrial or political, from the present law [whic created the ICC]".



    Quote from the Railway Review, XXVII (March 12, 1887), p. 148.

    "The Pennsylvania Railroad officially states in the current annual report that it has 'favored the enactment of a proper law, which, while guarding the interests of the public, would afford to the railways the protection to which they are justly entitled in the conduct of their business'. This is in reference to the passage of the interstate law.

    "The leading and the progressive railways of the country have long entertained the same view of the matter as that expressed above."



    Quote from Aldace F. Walker (pro-railroad original member of ICC who resigned after two years to head a railroad traffic association and to later became president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe [!] ), to Joseph Nimmo, Jr. (see item ONE), Nov. 22, 1887, letter in the Interstate Commerce COmmission Library, Washington, DC. --

    " is a fact that as a prevention of rate wars and destructive competition it [the ICC] is already recognized by intelligent railroad men as better than the pool."



    Quote from Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (Union Pacific), speech given in December, 1888, in C .C. McCain, ed., "Compendium of Transportation Theories" (Washington, 1893), p. 183. --

    "....we would welcome the rigid and literal enforcement of every provision of the interstate commerce act."



    Quote from George B. Roberts (President of the Pennsylvania Railroad), to fellow railroad presidents, in the Interstate Commerce Law Association's "Proceedings of Conferences between Presidents of Railroad Lines West of Chicago and St. Louis and Representatives of Banking Houses, January 8th and 10th, 1889" (New York, 1889), pp. 22-23 --

    "We feel satisfied that the law properly enforced will remove a great many of the difficulties that are now surrounding the management of railways."



    Quote from Marvin Hughitt, (Board member of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad), ibid. [item 22 above] p. 21 --

    "The Northwest Board for whom I speak, favors as I said the Inter-State Commerce Law and wishes to see it enforced with all is provisions."



    Quote from Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (Union Pacific) to ICC commissioner (and former railroad attorney for Vanderbilt's New York Central) Thomas M. Cooley, January 31, 18889, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. --

    "I feel, therefore [since ICC legislation was perceived as not being enforced enough], that the enforcement of this act must soon become, if it is not now, a matter of mere self-preservation to the company I represent."



    Quote from a November, 1895 agreement of the Joint Traffic Association, "Proceedings of the Board of Managers of the Joint Traffic Association, December 13, 1895, to June 30, 1896 (New York, 1896?), pp. 25, 32-33, and passim. --

    "[Thirty one railroads signed this agreement] to aid in fulfilling the purposes of the Interstate Commerce Act, to co-operate with each other and adjacent transportation associations, to establish and maintain reasonable and just rates, fares, rules and regulations."



    Quote from Aldace Walker (ICC commissioner and later Pres. of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe etc, see item 19 above), "Speech Before the Sunset Club, Chicago, April 2, 1891" (Chicago, 1891), p. 6 --

    "The phrase 'free competition' sounds well as a universal regulator, but it regulates by the knife. Unless the weapon in turn itself is held in check it is too dangerous an agency to be endured"



    Quote from A. B. Stickney, President of the Minnesota & Northwestern, in his "The Railway Problem" (St. Paul, 1891), pp. 222-221; also p. 162. --

    "For a quarter of a century they [railroads] have been attempting, by agreements between themselves, to make and maintain uniform and stable rates. But as such contracts are not recognized as binding, by the law, they have rested entirely on the good faith of each company, and to a great extent upon the capacity as well as good faith of each of the traffic officials and employees. In the past they have not been efficacious, and judging from experience and from our knowledge of the foibles of human nature, it is too much to hope for any sufficient protection to the rights of owners growing out of such agreements in the future.....Their alternative protection is the strong arm of the law. Let the law name the rates, and let the law maintain and protect their integrity."



    Quote from Aldace Walker (again) in Aldace Walker, "Has the Interstate Commerce Law Been Beneficial?", Forum, XVII (April, 1894), p. 215 --

    "....there is need of some system of governmental authority, not only to control the roads, but to protect them, - to protect them not so much against the public as against themselves and against each other."



    Quote from Albert Fink (V.P. of Lousiville & Nashville RR) in his "The Legislative Regulation of Railroads," Engineering Magazine, IX (July, 1895), p. 629 --

    "If Congress would pass a law to this effect [legalized pools], I would consider the whole railroad problem in this country settled, and upon truly American principles."

    [wrote Kolko regarding this quote: "Ideological questions of laissez-faire and competition bothered almost no one."]



    Quote from Aldace Walker (A. T. and Sante Fe again), "The Pooling of Railway Earnings", Railway Magazine, II (February, 1897), pp. 122-123 --

    "It is not believed that intelligent railway managements object to proper regulation. On the contrary, there is a general and hearty desire apparent in all railway circles to secure in some way the extinction of illegitimate methods and the establishment of fair and reasonable rates which shall be honestly and honorably maintained."



    Quote from Martin Knapp (pro-rail ICC Commissioner whom Senator Chandler of New Hampshire wanted fired for so being) and Paul Morton (one-time V.P. of Atchison, Topeka & Sante Fe), "Speeches Before the National Association of Merchants and Travelers, August 7, 1899" (n.p., 1899), pp. 7-8. --

    "The benefits supposed to result from railroad competition I believe to be greatly exaggerated....I go to the extent of saying that we cannot have that free and fair competition in trade which is the condition of industrial freedom without methods and rates for public transportation which amounts to a monopoly."



    Paul Morton (V.P. of A. T. & Sante Fe), Aug. 1899, in Knapp and Morton, "Speeches..." (see above), pp. 12, 14; Railway and Engineering Review, XXXII (1899), p. 451--

    "I am so much in sympathy with the changes in the Interstate Commerce Law, wished for by the distinguished commissioner who has just addressed you, that I can add very little to what he has said much on the subject.....I am very earnestly in favor of legalized pooling, and I do not object to the Interstate Commerce Commission having proper supervision over pool rates."



    Quote from Paul Morton (Sante Fe RR, see above), 1899, Knapp and Morton, "Speeches....(see above), p. 14.

    "I am opposed to any construction of the old States Rights doctrine. For fear that this may grow, I would like to see all transportation.....declared subject to federal supervision and amenable to the national commission."



    Quote from Wall Street Journal editorial, April 2, 1902:

    "The wiser heads in the railroad world see that there is a chance now, by conceding Government control over rates, to secure Government protection....They see that sooner or later the public will demand rate control [after more than 30 years!], and they see that if that demand be refused it will eventually be enforced without corresponding protection being given."



    Quote from James Loga, general solicitor of the Pennsylvania Railroad (and author of the Elkins Bill, S. 3521, in early 1900's to strengthen the ICC), writing in "Railroad Gazette", XXXIV (March 21, 1902), p. 208) --

    "....For my part, I have faith in the integrity of governmental agencies; especially those of the dignity of the Interstate Commerce Commission. I believe not only the shipper but the carrier needs governmental help...If this act is passed, railroads can no longer be subject to the dictation of the great shippers as to rates and facilities."



    Quote from the Railroad Gazzette, XXXV (February 20, 1903), p. 134 --

    "....all that will be asked of the Commissioners by the public will be that they go ahead and catch every law-breaking rate-cutter in the country."


    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • (Show?)

    Portlanders drinking Starbucks coffee are akin to Tuscans drinking Franzia.

  • urban planning overlord (unverified)

    What a hatchet job this post is. Starbucks, the "union-busting" company, provides health insurance to its full and part-time workers, provides tuition reimbursement for employees going to school, and provides a stock purchase option to employees. I know because two of my children have worked for Starbucks.

    Starbucks ain't Walmart. Never has been, never will be.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)

    Lemelson, by the way, makes great wine. I recently spent a week in Yamhill County tasting rooms, and no vintner offered more wonderful pinots. They're not cheap wines, but surpass those from makers who charge even more.

  • Brent (unverified)

    Thanks for the comments! For the record, I am not an anti-Starbucks fanatic. I simply prefer to support businesses that grow up with the community, instead of franchises that are dropped in, then yanked as soon as their profits dip below corporate standards. Plus, I don't think their coffee is very good.

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