#TrumpCup campaign hits Starbucks, draws questions

Donald Trump supporters are nudging Starbucks servers to announce the name of their candidate by ordering coffee under Trump's name.

It is a tradition at Starbucks that servers ask customers for their names, and when an order is ready, shout out those customers' names. Trump supporters are ordering food and drink and telling Starbucks employees their name is Trump, compelling servers to call them to the counter for their orders by shouting out "Trump!"

The campaign dubbed #TrumpCup on social media is the latest wave in what has been a contentious campaign and post-election cycle. Some media reports questioned whether the Starbucks effort was motivated by the fact that CEO Howard Schultz endorsed Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, for president. But creator Timothy Treadstone said the idea was actually a social experiment in First Amendment rights.

Treadstone, a 29-year-old political consultant and social media strategist from Los Angeles, told USA TODAY that he was motivated to start the campaign after seeing video on social media in which a Trump supporter attempts to give his name as Trump at a Starbucks. The audio is muffled, but it appears as if the Starbucks employee is not responding to the repeated request and that the employee then asks a coworker to call the police.

After seeing the video, Treadstone posted to his Twitter account, @bakedalaska, on Thursday night: "Operation #TrumpCup 1) Go to Starbucks & tell them your name is Trump 2) If they refuse take video Pls share & spread the word."

"This is not a protest; it's not a boycott," Treadstone said by telephone. "This is a social experiment ... This is just something we’re doing to keep Starbucks accountable. We want to help out our economy, keep people accountable and have a little fun."

Treadmill's comments were in part a response to questions that have emerged on social media in which members of the public asked about the effectiveness of a campaign that would bring more, not less, business to Starbucks.

Twitter user @tarzdan_ wrote: "So let me get this straight, you're going to protest against a company by giving them money?"

Tweeted @CaptainsLog2016: "I don't think Trumpkins have thought this whole #TrumpCup through. If you have to buy a product form the place you're boycotting... #FAIL."

Starbucks released a statement regarding #TrumpCup: "Over the years, writing customer names on cups and calling out their names has been a fun ritual in our stores. Rarely has it been abused or taken advantage of. We hope and trust that our customers will continue to honor that tradition. We don't require our partners to write or call out names."


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