Alright, folks. It's time for me to get this off my chest.
Starbucks' Ethos water and Einstein's Breast Cancer Awareness Mug promotions are really, really getting to me. I bought an Einstein's bagel this morning for breakfast, and on my way out of the store I noticed this: For every $17 mug you buy, Einstein's donates $1.50 to breast cancer research.
At Starbucks, every $1.80 bottle of Ethos water contributes a whopping $.05 to "helping children around the world get clean water". For that matter, American Idol's Idol Gives Back campaign raised $60 million... while every 30 second ad spot on the show runs for over $750,000 a pop.
Look, I think it's great that some kids in Ethiopia are going to get $10 million worth of clean water from Ethos. Or that $60 million went from Idol to UNICEF and others. Or that Einstein's is giving some money to fight cancer, or whatever†. But what really gets me going is that these companies are profiting off the guilt of some yuppie who just spent $5 on a mocha-latte-frappucino-extra-foam-hold-the-cinnamon-i'm-on-a-diet and wants to "help" the wide-eyed photogenic African kid in the glossy photo.
Lets rag on Starbucks for a moment, because it's just so blatant. Current market price for a bottle of water is $1.00. If Aquafina, Dasani, or Deja Blue decided to charge $1.80 for their water, they would be laughed right in to bankruptcy. So what did Ethos do?
They realized that they could effectively charge $1.75 for the same goddamn water by claiming that it would help charity.
And then Starbucks decided it was a good PR move and sponsored Ethos in all its stores. Same goes for Einstein's. $1.50 off a $17 mug that cost you $4 to make? Charity is about giving, not recieving. Didn't your parents teach you that?
So, this is me, giving the proverbial finger to all you corporate chains that are profiting off the backs of other people's misery. And because I know corporations can't have feelings, ethics, or morals, instead I'm pointing that finger directly at the CEOs and CFOs of all three. I sincerely hope you can't sleep at night.