Answering a disgruntled investor over advocacy of same sex marriage Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz offered investors this advice:
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much." link
An interesting challenge [again] faces investors and customers: How are we using our money, and to what end – whether investing a nest egg or just buying a small coffee – I mean short coffee.
Every major corporation uses its profits as it sees fit to invest in opportunities, political, economic and social to advance the best interests of itself. They often give to many charities representing a variety of services, not all of which Christians would consider worthwhile uses of their money. (Think Microsoft and Amazon and Apple.) And some corporations, even those espousing “family” values, have gotten rough press about how they treat their employees.
Starbucks has been a wonderful and successful company, putting employee well being right up with customer education and satisfaction, and the company has indeed made many investors a lot of money. See Howard Schultz’ biography and How Starbucks Saved My Life.
A thirty-eight percent return is hard to beat, but, Starbucks’ investors and customers now have a clearer understanding of how the profits their money earned is being used, including knowing their money is providing health care and other opportunities to the employees.
What we do with this information may vary. Some of us may apply there for a job! Others threaten boycotts. One Starbucks friend urged a kinder, gentler response – describing the Lord Jesus as perhaps enjoying a latte at a local Starbucks, with fellow customers and baristas. No, doubt Joanna would have been buying! (Luke 8:3)
How He would have addressed the CEO’s gauntlet, I can’t imagine— “pride goes before a fall?”
Possibly some of us will stay with Starbucks – perhaps believing it to be the lesser of many evils in today’s world. Or, a few of us will now think of how better to invest our time and talents and resources differently, thanking Mr. Schultz for his gracious invitation to try other venues for making money. Maybe others of us might strike out on our own, having a bit of vision, passion and talents, like the skills that propelled Mr. Schultz?
Mr. Schultz' invitation prompts me to inventory how I “use” money. Dolly Levi in “Hello Dolly,” said, “Money, if you will pardon the expression is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow.
I wonder if it’s time to rethink how and what I am encouraging to grow.