Richard Lutz aims his pistols at Starbucks
Today I was walking to a nice restaurant to make a Christmas reservation. An annual event when a bit too much cash is spent on food and wine that costs a week’s shopping.
Once a year. It’s worth it.
I was stopped by a shambling man with a week’s growth of beard, a stoop, a limp and an apologetic sad grin.
‘I’m broke.’ He showed me a dirty hand with pennies cupped in it, not 10p or 50p pieces, not to speak of a £1 coin. He was broke. He said he needed money for food.
I believed him. He was sorry he had to stop me. Sorry that he stopped me. He apologised. I gave him what I had.
I went on to the restaurant, a Birmingham haven of tranquility and fine food to make the reservation.
We live, my friends, in an unequal world. The game’s a bogie, the deal is made and laid, the chips are stacked for those who haven’t a chance.
Take Starbucks. It raked in £3.1bn of revenue in the past 13 years in the UK. It doled out a measly £8.6m in tax because of a bookkeeping trick to ensure the accounts showed little profit. This corporate piracy was capped by making sure a lot of the cash went to Holland where tax rates are lower.
Yes, it was legal. Still is. But unfair, unequal, creepily miserly when you consider these lost taxes keep police on the street to ensure busted up guys like the one that approached me don’t harass their customers; that emergency crews are at the ready in case there is a fire in one of their premises or that roads are paved and maintained to guarantee their amaretto biscuits get to the counter fresh and tasty each morning in its 750 cafes.
But that’s not all. In order to make the books even more delectable, it emerged that their workers have been punched right in their barristas with cutbacks to their lunch breaks, maternity rights, and sickness benefits.
Life is unequal. I wish I gave that old boy more. And I’m glad I scurry past those evil Starbucks cafes each time I stroll down the High Street in the better neighbourhoods of our cities.
Lobby groups are beginning to protest outside Starbucks. A lot of people have had it. I hope the Starbucks bosses paddle back to the States on a raft of blueberry tartes or float away on a river of café mocha caramel whatever. I hope they pack up and leave.
Don’t go to Starbucks. It’s too expensive anyway. Buy a perculator, a cafetiere or a jug and make it at home and take it with you. Or use a local cafe. Or try drinking tea. But not Starbucks. Never Starbucks