Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Do you have a socializing spirit?
Are you, at least, fond of getting together with others when the drinks are free?
At least then you can get something out of pretending to like people or being prepared to be seen with them.
If so, I have some joy for you.
For reasons that might drift from optimism to uncontrolled generosity to insidious marketing, Starbucks has come up with its latest coffee-fueled gimmick.
I’m sorry, I meant the equally edifying Fruitcake Frappuccino.
Now, Starbucks is launching, for a very limited time, the Pop Up Cheer Party.
I can feel you already conjuring what this might involve. Well, in around 100 locations every day, Starbucks will hold a little celebration between 1 pm and 2 pm.
To find out where these might be you have to go to the very special Starbucks Cheer site.
Each day, the company will reveal where the baristas are going to get the party started.
Your incentive to participate, however, is that you’ll be able to secure whichever little — or, in Starbucks language tall — espresso drink lifts your little heart. Without paying.
Why on earth is Starbucks doing this?
It claims that “as 2016 wraps up, we hope everyone will ring in the new year with love in their hearts.”
Who are they trying to fool? A momentary perusal of Twitter will tell you that what’s in people’s hearts is rage, rancor and bile, with the occasional nod to humor.
A more sanguine view is, naturally, that the 1-2 pm period is somewhat fallow at this time of year.
So why not get a few people in, give them a drink for free and hope they buy a soggy scone or two?
I fear that one or two customers might worry that by calling it a party, Starbucks expects them to socialize.
I cannot find any evidence that there’s a quid pro quo here. There’s no written expectation that you’ll ask your fellow customer how they are, what they do for a living or wonder about their spouses, ex-spouses, children, pets or football teams.
This, therefore, seems to be a simple, heartfelt, loving promotion that runs through January 2.
So come on, America. You’ve been given the magic word to prepare for a Happy 2017.
No, not love. Not heart. Free.