Starbucks to send message to legislators

WASHINGTON — When Obama administration officials and congressional lawmakers take a break from their wrangling over the "fiscal cliff" to grab some Starbucks coffee, they'll get a message right on their cup imploring them to strike a deal.

Employees in Starbucks Corp.'s Washington stores will write "Come Together" on customers' cups in hopes of pushing policymakers to avoid the tax increases and federal spending cuts coming on Tuesday.

"Rather than be bystanders, we have an opportunity — and I believe a responsibility — to use our company's scale for good by sending a respectful and optimistic message to our elected officials to come together and reach common ground on this important issue," Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz said on the company's blog Wednesday.

"It's a small gesture, but the power of small gestures is what Starbucks is about!" Schultz wrote. "Imagine the power of our partners and hundreds of thousands of customers each sharing such a simple message, one cup at a time."

The campaign, which was to run Wednesday through Friday, is the first time the company has asked its employees to write a specific message on customers' cups, he said.

"We're paying attention; we're greatly disappointed in what's going on and we deserve better," Schultz said in an interview with Reuters. "If (talks) do not progress, we will make this much bigger."

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