Starbucks affogato drink in Shinjuku 2023.

Despite Social Media Claims, It’s Too Soon To Tell if the Starbucks Boycott Is Working

All around the world, many are calling to boycott Starbucks and other companies alleged to be involved in funding the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The coffee chain giant recently sparked controversy for suing its own labor union for using the Starbucks logo in support of Palestine. Although Starbucks has consistently denied funding the IDF since 2014, the company was compelled to deny the allegations in a recent statement.

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The Starbucks union believes the company is only filing a suit against them to perpetuate an “anti-union campaign,” according to reports. Regardless, it appears that many are taking to social media to #BoycottStarbucks all over the world. There have been sightings of empty shops in some states, as well as queue-free Starbucks coffee shops that were once packed with customers outside of the United States.

But is it really working, or is it just that so many people on social media platforms, including TikTok and X (formerly Twitter), are pushing for a boycott? Some baristas claim that there are significantly fewer customers in their stores, which suggests the boycott is effective. Boycotts are happening around the world for Starbucks, and not just in North America. In Malaysia alone, investors were advised to sell shares of Starbucks’ franchise owner in the country, Berjaya Food. More than a month of boycotting during the busiest season of the year, and it turns out that the boycott did work, and it took international effort to get here. Starbucks lost roughly $11B in shares amidst holiday promotions, which is proof that individual actions can lead to the win of great causes.

Ultimately, boycotts are only effective when consumers make the decision to vote with their wallets. If you want to boycott Starbucks, either for its union-busting or politics, the best way to do so is to avoid spending money there and encourage people you know to do the same. There are other cafes out there for you to explore, so don’t admit defeat to big corporations and take your money elsewhere.

(featured image: Vanessa Esguerra / Starbucks)

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Vanessa Esguerra
Vanessa Esguerra (She/They) has been a Contributing Writer for The Mary Sue since 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, she (happily) rejected law school in 2021 and has been a full-time content writer since. Vanessa is currently taking her Master's degree in Japanese Studies in hopes of deepening her understanding of the country's media culture in relation to pop culture, women, and queer people like herself. She speaks three languages but still manages to get lost in the subways of Tokyo with her clunky Japanese. Fueled by iced coffee brewed from local cafés in Metro Manila, she also regularly covers anime and video games while queuing for her next match in League of Legends.