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Are you ready for this??
Many of you know that we have cashier stations…just like any grocery store. And those stations have become a place of connection for our community. A brave mama let one of our cashiers (who happened to be our board Vice President Elizabeth Carter) know that the Starbucks sandwiches we have in stock meant a lot to her teen daughter.
It’s true, these protein packed frozen sandwiches that we pick up from our partners at Northwest Harvest in Seattle do mean a lot to our customers. Starbucks throughout our region send their donated goods to NWH to redistribute. And we are lucky enough to get a pallet each week.
But then the mama continued to describe why. You see, to a teenager that wants to fit in….Starbucks has become a status symbol of sorts. And kids that stop at Starbucks on the way to school, who walk in with their breakfast in a bag with the logo…..well, that’s a big deal. So her daughter takes the sandwiches from The Market and heats them at home, then carefully places them in a bag that she has saved and reuses each day. Over and over….she saves the bag in her backpack. Sure it could be wrapped in a napkin, but without the bag with the logo, it doesn’t feel the same as everyone else.
And now, we can sit here and talk about how this shouldn’t be this way. But the truth is, status symbols and fitting in have been part of being a teen for generations. It’s part of coming of age in a way. And in this generation, to this young girl…a Starbucks breakfast bag is a coveted item.
With this info from Elizabeth, I started to think about how many other young people we serve feel this way. Could access to these bags help ease part of their experience navigating through growing up in a status obsessed society? And while I know that something small can not take away the feeling of being “other” entirely….I also know first hand that small things can make big differences.
I called Alicia Cloyd, my friend and manager at our Bonney Lake Starbucks who also has a teenager, and told her the story. Within a day she had a case of bags for us to merchandise with our sandwiches and pastries….on the chance that there are other young people that want to fit in when going back to school this year.
Alicia….you are one beautiful soul. Thank you for showing up for this community and supporting the heartfelt work at The Market.