Starbucks ‘Come Together:’ Free Coffee for People Who Buy a Drink for Others

October 9, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Starbucks will “pay you back” if you “pay it forward” by giving you a free tall coffee if you buy somebody their favorite beverage.

“I believe you will agree that this is a different yet authentic way Starbucks can help our fellow citizens to Come Together by supporting one another during a particularly challenging time, while continuing to make Starbucks stores a place of respite and comfort for millions of customers,” wrote Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president, and CEO, in a letter to employees.

Schultz referenced the government shutdown, the pending debt crisis, “waning consumer confidence, and the general sense of unease” in the United States in his Oct. 8 letter.

“Faced with this seemingly unending cycle of dysfunction and doubt, it would be understandable if many of us — and our customers — felt cynical, powerless or disengaged,” he said. ” So, as we have done in the past, we once again find ourselves asking a simple question: What can WE do about it at Starbucks?  After all, we’re just a coffee company.”

Schultz said that Starbucks will honor its community-oriented heritage by offering the free drink from Wednesday (Oct. 9) through Friday.

He’s calling it “Come Together.”

“Please join me in helping our customers Come Together to support and connect with one another, even as we wait for our elected officials to do the same for our country,” he said. ” And thank you all for the heroic things you do every day as a Starbucks partner. Together, we can continue to make a difference-one cup, one customer, one act of civility and kindness at a time.”

Starbucks has used “Come Together” at least once before–in the winter of 2012, when Schultz said the words were intended as a message to elected officials about the damage being caused by the divisive negotiations about the fiscal cliff. 

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