I've always tried to shop at establishments that I consider to be socially conscious. I'll get my rare cup of coffee at Starbucks rather than the other guy because I like the fact that their baristas are relatively well-paid (nothing to raise a family on, but it might save a few youngsters from stripping to get through school), even part-time employees qualify for benefits and they're involved in a buttload of local, national and international charity. The same goes for all my purchases. If I've got the choice of a philanthropic corporation, I'll buy from them.
But with President Obama's call to service, something weird is starting to occur. Corporations are no longer content with luring me in with their own charitible efforts... Now, they're asking ME to do the work.
Slate has noticed it too. Chevron, Liberty Mutual and, yes, Starbucks, have all waged advertising campaigns that echo the sentiments of Obama's vague request for responsibility. It's brilliant, really - they get to ride Obama's coattails and identify themselves as socially conscious (reaping all the benefits that come with it) without doing anything.
Community service is good. We should all be doing something because, the more we do for each other, the less the government has to do for us. But, to be honest, this whole "corporate motivation" campaign strikes me as disingenuous and makes me feel icky.
What do you think? Am I just being cynical and these corporations really are trying to make an impact, or is this just another thinly-veiled marketing technique?