Starbucks Memo

(see the original on The Reverend Billy's site)


A memo distributed to all Starbucks store managers reads......

April 24, 2000

"Reverend" Billy preaches anti-corporate sentiments in NYC Starbucks locations.

The Village Voice recently published an article (April 19-25, 2000) titled "Rage Against The Caffeine" which highlighted Reverend Billy's efforts to wage a campaign against large corporations… particularly Starbucks. According to the article, Reverend Billy announced a summer campaign in which he'll preach in all Manhattan Starbucks.

Reverend Billy sits quietly at a table with devotees and then begins to chat up the customers. He works the crowd with an affirming theme but gradually turns on Starbucks. Towards the end, he's shouting. Then the Reverend's devotees hand around anti-Starbucks leaflets. After that, he heads out the door. According to a store manager, he may stand on your tables.

What should I do if Reverend Billy is in my store?

  1. Treat him as any other customer and do not respond to his or her devotee's antics.
  2. Ask him politely to leave the store.
  3. Call the police, if he does not leave.
  4. Page your district manager and marketing [BLANKED OUT].

Question & Answer

Who is Reverend Billy?

The creation of actor Bill Talen, Reverend Billy began preaching the anti-consumerist gospel in the Times Square Disney Store three years ago. He wears a white dinner jacket over a black T-shirt and a priest's collar.

What does he say about Starbucks?

Reverend Billy says that our store's "earth-tone touchy-feeliness masks corporate ruthlessness." The leaflets that he hands out say that Starbucks is screwing the planet, the farmers, the Baristas and New York's neighborhoods.


What should I do if the media comes to my store?

Do not answer any questions. Nothing is off the record.

Refer all media inquiries to [BLANKED OUT].


How do I respond to my customers if they ask how I feel about Reverend Billy's comments?

Starbucks has achieved success one cup at a time, one store at a time. We started as a small business in Seattle's Pike Place market more than 28 years ago. Since then, each one of our stores has become a unique part of its neighborhood. Our stores are about people. The customers and partners (employees) at each location give the store its own personality and atmosphere.


If you have any questions please contact [BLANKED OUT] Starbucks New York City marketing specialist at [BLANKED OUT].