Starbucks Balks At Bloomberg’s Super-Size Ban
In fewer than 24 hours New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on sugary drinks goes into effect. The fact that Bloomberg thinks restricting New Yorkers’ access to sugary drinks to 16-ounce sizes at restaurants, at movie theaters sports venues and street carts will actually curb obesity is a joke. Residents will still be able to get whatever super sizes they want at grocery and convenience stores, as well as add their own sugar to drinks bought at restaurants. Plus, getting a 16-ounce Coke at McDonald’s won’t amount to a hill of beans when it accompanies a Big Mac and large fries.
Starbucks is standing up to Bloomberg for its own reasons. The chain has said it has no plans to make changes to its business based on the ban at this time. The company cites a clause in the new law that exempts beverages with a 50 percent or higher milk content. Because a “majority” of Starbucks’ drinks fall outside of the ban, the company feels it should not have to comply, even for non-coffee drinks such as the super-sweet green iced-tea lemonade.
But Bloomberg doesn’t see it that way. He told “Face the Nation” that Starbucks’ stance was “ridiculous.”
“Starbucks knows how to market things, knows how to package things,” Bloomberg said. “They can change instantly when it’s in their interest to do so.”
Of course Starbucks isn’t just playing dumb. Although the ban is to be enforced by city health inspectors during inspections, it’s not yet clear how significant the penalties to merchants’ sanitation scores will be or if any greater action will even be taken. Plus, there’s a 90-day grace before any enforcement action will occur, so Starbucks has time to sit back and watch the dust settle before it makes any decisions. Pretty smart movie, if you ask me.
Starbucks isn’t the only organization standing up to Bloomberg. The American Beverage Association and a New York Korean-American grocers’ group have each filed lawsuits claiming the ban is illegal. The ABA has also filed a motion to stop the ban until a judge can decide whether it is even legal. While no rulings have been made, Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills says the company “recognizes pending litigation,” and therefore “doesn’t want to make any knee-jerk reactions.”
Whatever judge reviews this case should surely throw this ban out. I mean, come on. With all the fuss right now in the nation about protecting 2nd amendment rights and not infringing on people’s right to bear arms—even AK47 assault rifles—how can a mayor possibly infringe on an individual’s right to purchase a super-sized Dr. Pepper?
[Image via Flickr/niznoz]
I want more stuff like this!