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Starbucks’ Plea to Customers: Help End the Shutdown!

Daily Ticker

Starbucks wants your help to end the shutdown in Washington, D.C. - which has now lasted 11 days.

CEO Howard Schultz has started the "Come Together Petition" -- it was available to Starbucks (SBUX) customers to sign this morning in 10,000 stores, online and "like" the petition on Facebook (FB) which will count as a signature. The company also took out full page ads in major newspapers.

The petition urges leaders in Washington to:

  1. Reopen our government to serve the people.
  2. Pay our debts on time to avoid another financial crisis.
  3. Pass a bipartisan and comprehensive long-term budget deal by the end of the year.

“The responsibility is on the President and Congress to reach a compromise,” Schultz told Bloomberg News. He insists government dysfunction is worse than in 2011.

Schultz, whose firm serves about 45 million customers a week in the U.S., has jumped in to contentious national debates before, including gun control and budget issues.

"No businesses in America, especially small businesses, are immune from the fracturing of consumer confidence that is going on," Schultz told The Wall Street Journal, although he declined to comment on whether its business has suffered from consumers cutting back on coffee purchases because of uncertainty about the economy. But the shutdown is damaging confidence, according to recent surveys.

Since the shutdown began Oct. 1, U.S. consumer confidence has plummeted at the fastest rate since the week Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, according to polling by Gallup. On Friday, the University of Michigan reported its consumer confidence fell to 75.2, the weakest since early January.

Comments on Facebook so far range from the serious: "Can Sbux just sell coffee, please, and stay out of politics?" -- to the silly: "What u Need is a petition to get pumpkin cream cheese muffins back!"

The petition already has more than 71,000 "likes" as of 10 a.m. ET.

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