Monday, March 31, 2008

Southwest Airlines Haiku

We have all been free
To move about the country
On unsafe airplanes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Starbucks Baristas: Ready to Wait on You Hand and Foot… and (Sometimes) Kidney

I fear that I’ve become overly cynical.

Today I read a story about a Starbucks employee preparing to donate her kidney to a customer and I thought to myself, Wow! How did Starbucks make this happen?! Not only did they convince barista Sandra Andersen to get tested to see if her kidney was a fit for regular customer Annamarie Ausness, but she’s actually going to go through with it. You can’t buy this kind of positive PR!

The fact of the matter is that you really can’t buy this kind of PR. At least I don’t think you can. Could it be that good PR coming from positive media attention is often spontaneous and deserved? I’d say yes, but I also believe that Starbucks is an operation that prides itself on hiring and taking good care of quality employees—the kind of people who make customers feel like part of a special community—a community where they can ask for a “Venti Skinny Mocha Frap” (or whatever) and not get looked at like a dum-dum. By investing time and resources in employee acquisition and retention, Starbucks invests in its image and—every now and again—brings on board an associate who is ready to go to extraordinary lengths to please her customers (including—but not limited to—sacrificing body parts).

I’m certainly not discounting the communications/PR effort that likely went to landing this story in The New York Times and There’s no doubt in my mind that once Starbucks’ communications/PR folks found out that this was happening, they did everything in their power to get the word out. And I’m sure they did a top-notch job. The bottom line is that this isn’t a stunt. This is a good person doing a genuinely good and selfless deed. To me it’s refreshing to see news of this nature getting national exposure, especially when you consider the fear, hate, and negativity that makes up most of the news we see today. This is a story that deserves its coverage.

I don’t know about you, but tomorrow morning I’m not only going to Starbucks for my ($2.06) cup of Joe, but I’m tossing a little extra coin in the tip jar. Who knows… Maybe my barista is my bone marrow match.