Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Caffiene, Fair Trade, and Grace

I went to Starbucks this morning to meet a friend for coffee. I am not a regular customer of their admittedly delicious coffee Starbucks for two reasons: I am frugal, and I try to drink only Fair Trade coffee. I was looking forward to this meeting, both because of my friend and because I had read that Starbucks has begun serving some Fair Trade coffee.

When I asked for Fair Trade coffee, I got a quite unexpected answer from the barista: we only brew Fair Trade on the 20th of the month. I found this quite amusing, in a cynical kind of way. Some Starbucks executive must have figured out that the business return on being able to say "we buy Fair Trade coffee" and then serving it once per month was a good business model!

I am reminded of why liberal talk radio failed when broadcast between Rush Limbaugh and Don Imus. I am thinking of why "blended worship" music, encompassing both traditional music and praise music, so often fails. The reasons are the same: nobody is happy. In the case of radio, it's like having an opera station with one hour of rock and roll per day. That one hour is going to anger the opera lovers, and not enough rock and roll listeners will know which hour to tune in. In blended worship music, no body gets the kind of worship experience they crave. So it is, I think, with serving Fair Trade coffee. For people who care about this issue, one day per month is laughable. For people who don't care about this issue, it makes no difference in their loyalty. I don't know- perhaps Starbucks has discovered people who sort of care of Fair Trade and are glad to hear that on some level, Starbucks buys some Fair Trade Coffee.

I suppose the barista did not hear me say "decaf" when I asked for it. I actually thought of going back and verifying that it was decaf, but for whatever reason, I did not. Well, I should have listened to that voice. I have been all jitters ever since. Talk about a high! I haven't had caffeine like that in more than five years. I cannot believe I did not get sick to my stomach (one of the many reasons I stopped). I have been flying all morning...and well into this afternoon, I am still going. No wonder folks love this stuff. I have to confess, I am half tempted to begin drinking it again!

As I was sitting there, drinking my coffee, and waiting for my friend, the barista came by and asked where we knew each other. We worked out that members of her family are a part of our community of faith. She then came back and gave me a free bag of Fair Trade coffee...a gift of grace. (Sadly, it is caffeinated, but it will make a great gift.)

So thanks be to God for caffeine, Fair Trade, and baristas who know me. What a way to start the day!

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