US Stamps

Coffee, postcards and gratitude; how Starbucks encourages use of the mail

Jan 26, 2018, 5 AM
Front and back of a postcard created by the Starbucks coffeehouse chain for customers to mail a note of gratitude to military service members. The card was sent in January and was franked with a 2016 Pets forever stamp.

Philatelic Foreword — By Jay Bigalke

We all enjoy the moment when we receive a personal note from a friend in the mail. But finding ways to encourage people to use the mails, specifically first-class letter mail, continues to be a challenge for the United States Postal Service.

A recent visit to Starbucks for coffee, an essential fuel for this editor, had an additional pleasant surprise.

Displayed at the counter were postcards picturing the American flag with the words “Honor, Duty, Service” and “Thank You!”

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Pens were available nearby, and the barista told me that Starbucks would mail the postcards at its expense to individuals serving in the military.

The back of the postcard is simple and includes text at the top: “Thank you for what you do,” along with the Starbucks name, and a logo developed specifically to note the company’s commitment to service members.

According to the newsroom page on the Starbucks website, the company “is committed to hiring at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018.”

The postcards provide support on that front while engaging the Starbucks customer base at the same time.

The project also puts stamps to work and supports the Postal Service with first-class mail.

The postcards I sent out were both franked with the Pets forever stamps from 2016. Both recipients expressed appreciation for the cards.

I reached out to Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, Wash., to see if I could get some additional information about the postcards, but I did not receive a reply before press time.

I can find a few references online going back to 2014 that show the postcard along with a Starbucks gift card with a similar design.

It is possible that stocks of these postcards are still being distributed, but whether they are available in a specific location might depend on local availability.

Even if this was an isolated experience, I found it refreshing for a large corporation to encourage use of the U.S. mail, and to provide a way for us to thank those who are serving our country.