What I Learned When I Bought a Starbuck Indivisible Wristband

Since November 1, 2011 Starbucks has been doing its best to help boost the economy via a cause marketing standard; the wristband.

'Indivisible' wristbands are $5 at 6,800 company-operated stores in the United States.

All the money goes to the Opportunity Finance Network, an umbrella group of 180 Community Development Financial Institutions, which specialize in making loans to small businesses. Starbucks seeded the effort with a $5 million donation.

Studies suggest that new businesses in particular are the ones most likely to generate jobs.

(Parenthetically, another company that started small and grew big, the Boston Beer Company, which makes Samuel Adams beer, has offered a small business mentorship and financing effort called Brewing the American Dream since June 2008).

Since all this has been well-covered elsewhere in great depth, I want to describe the exemplary way the transaction took place when I bought mine late 2011 at a nearby Starbucks.

The wristbands at my Starbucks were displayed on a shelf below the cash register. The barrista was super friendly. She took my order and I told her that I wanted to buy the bracelet.

“Oh, that’s so great! This is such a great idea,” she said as she reached for the wristband.

“Do you know what it’s all about?," she asked.

I did, but I let her go on.

“We’re working to help the economy recover and put people back to work.” And with that she reached and grabbed for the explanatory brochure at the left.

I didn’t open it then. But inside the brochure is an infographic worthy of an Al Gore presentation.

I handed her my credit card and she said, “Thanks for doing this.”

She was so unrelentingly cheerful and good-humored that I really felt thanked.

Plainly she had been trained well enough to understand and explain the effort as well as get behind it. It won’t be that way with every barrista at every Starbucks. But it was with this Starbucks and this barrista.

And that, my friends, is how a cause marketed paper icon or a premium items like a stuffed animal or even a wristband ought to be sold.

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