Freedom Isn’t Free, but Coffee and Donuts Are

posted in: Campaign 2008 | 0

Like millions of Americans, I exercised my civic duty and voted today. It was a breeze. No line at all and we were in and out in five minutes – literally. I VotedI even got my standard little “I Voted” sticker. In fact, I still have the last one from when I voted in the Virginia Primary. I put it on the dashboard in my car and for some reason, just left it there. However, today that sticker is actually worth something.

At the end of my last post I pointed out that voters can take advantage of tons of free stuff today, November 4th, after voting. Using the election season to promote your brand is pretty smart marketing. For example, Starbucks is giving away free cups of tall coffee. So, I stopped by and it was quite crowded. I overheard one woman say, “I love the fact that everyone has their stickers on today.”

Several were gathered around the counter to receive their “Voter coffee.” The staff was so overwhelmed by customers, I asked the barista whether traffic had been this heavy all day. He told me that they had served over 600 cups and gone through approximately 60 bags of coffee since opening this morning. So, quick math here: 600 cups x .12 oz = 7,200 oz. Divide that by 128 and you come up with 56.25 gallons! And all this by only 1:30 PM ET. Wow!

Of course, I had to share with the Twitterverse. @dkarchner saw my tweet and responded:

@almacy asked 2 different rockville starbucks – 500 cups and 700 cups, respectively. cc: @annielaurieless than a minute ago via twhirl

I also sent out a note via Twitter seeking info regarding other perks available to voters today and here’s what I heard back:

gbyehuda @almacy Chik-fil-a, many others!
LizMair @almacy I’ve heard a rumor that Chick-Fil-A is giving away free sandwiches to people with “I Voted” stickers

kholmgren @almacy – Chick-fil-a is giving out free food too!

deborahdawn @almacy The H Street Martini lounge will have a “free gift” for those with “I Voted” stickers.

suicide_blond @almacy my girl lem compiled a list of freebie that is impressive

But, as it has been said, “Nothing in life is free” and some have voiced concern that giving things away to voters could be perceived as paying them to vote. To that point, BigWheelOne sent me this: “@almacy Unfortunately, voter perks are illegal. Anyone can get them if they ask.”

According to an article via, here’s how Starbucks addressed the issue:

A statement from Tara Darrow of Starbucks says, “We’ve been excited by the number of positive responses received about our free coffee offer. To ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee. We’re pleased to honor our commitment to communities on this important Election Day. We hope there is a record turnout on Tuesday and look forward to celebrating with our customers over a great cup of coffee.

So, whether you visit Krispy Kreme, California Tortilla, Chick-fil-A, Shane’s Rib Shack or Ben & Jerry’s, there is no doubt that there are several options for how to eat free on Election Day.

Anything less would be, well, un-American!

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