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Local Starbucks offers free coffee on 9/11

A Starbucks in Brooklyn is advertising free coffee on Sunday, 9/11, “a day to come together.” Is this appropriate, or tacky?

It's a day to come together. Share free brewed coffee and conversation on this Sunday between 8-11 am

A sign in the store reads, “It’s a day to come together. Share free brewed coffee and conversation on this Sunday between 8-11 am.”

Some context: As far as I know, this is a local promotion unique to this shop. (Update: I’m wrong. It’s running in several cities. See this Starbucks blog post for details.) This particular Starbucks (at Court and Dean in Cobble Hill) serves a neighborhood that suffered significant losses on 9/11, including many members of the local fire companies. I guess the store managers know Sunday will be a hard day for some of their customers, and wanted to make a gesture of support.

Let’s hear some opinions about this. For the most part, businesses are steering clear of using the 9/11 anniversary in any kind of marketing or advertising—quite sensibly, in my opinion. I can’t imagine it ever feeling right to connect “free Starbucks coffee” and “9/11” in the same thought. This promotion feels ghoulish and trite, like leaving a stack of coupons in the lobby of a funeral home that say, “We’re sorry for your loss. Please enjoy a free cup of coffee.”

But we’ll see. Maybe people will just sit down and enjoy the coffee.

(Hat tip to the Brokelyn Twitter feed.)

* * * *

Update: As Sarah notes in the comments, Starbucks now has a blog post up about this promotion, which is running in several cities.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising, Marketing, Signage


  1. Brian Papa says:

    Starbucks on 43rd and 3rd in manhattan is offering the same.

  2. Carol says:

    It’s happening in Maryland, too.

  3. sarah says:

    “This Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., our stores in the New York Metro, Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas will also offer a complimentary cup of brewed coffee to everyone who comes in.”


  4. Stephen says:

    The coffee might be free, but don’t even ask what they’re charging for water.

  5. i could never see free coffee in england how could starbucks get his coffee into england at a free price.if the coffee was for free they would charge you for a entrace fee or have some kind of recepiente inside where you could donate how much you could towards renovations for more coffee tables

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