Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

The Capitol Hill Starbucks, a Portrait in ‘Come Together’

The Starbucks “Come Together” campaign has attracted national headlines. And the scene at the Capitol Hill Starbucks at 3rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast suggests that, if nothing else, baristas are coming together on their handwriting.

On Thursday, after one barista handed over a paper cup with the words “come together” scribbled on the sleeve, the other baristas started chattering excitedly.

The Capitol Hill Starbucks, a Portrait in Come Together

(Courtesy Neda Semnani)

“Look at that,” one barista, a polite, older man said, proudly pointing at the cup.

Starbucks unrolled its “Come Together” campaign earlier this week, when its chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, announced the companywide campaign to ask America’s political class to “fix” the national debt.

“As many of you know, our elected officials in Washington D.C. have been unable to come together and compromise to solve the tremendously important, time-sensitive issue to fix the national debt. You can learn more about this impending crisis at www.fixthedebt.org,” Schultz wrote on the company’s blog.

What effect the campaign will have has been a source of jokes on the Internet and arched eyebrows around D.C.

“Has anyone asked about [the campaign]?” HOH asked the Capitol Hill baristas. “Has there been any reaction from Hill people?”

“People have noticed,” the barista who pointed out the writing confirmed. “Some, like you, asked about it.”

“There was a story today in The Washington Post,” the next customer in line cut in.

Did they think the “Come Together” campaign was working?

“Well, Congress is back in today, so it must be,” said the barista manning the espresso machine. He seemed to be the chattiest of the bunch, wearing a white polo shirt and a white baseball cap twisted to one side.

“Have any lawmakers come in? Have they said anything?” we asked the staff, though we focused on him.

Mr. Chatty said that he handed a cup of coffee with the “Come Together” sleeve to House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, on Wednesday. When HOH followed up with the speaker’s office, the staff said Boehner hadn’t been in town since before Christmas. Chatty must have confused Boehner with another smartly dressed, older white guy.

“Did he say anything?” we pressed.

“He doesn’t say anything ’til he gets to the press,” Chatty said with a smirk, before snarking something about Boehner’s tan.

Everyone laughed, some politely, others genuinely pleased. All of them, well, together.

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