Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Standing up for the little guy

When intimidation, name-calling and teasing doesn’t make a bully’s target cry uncle, then what else can a bully do? Oh, of course—beat the snot out of the dork.

The coffee klatch set are well acquainted with the hulking bully on the java playground that’s been stomping little places out of existence for years. December 1st, another perk entrepreneur got whupped.

Back in 2000, a woman named Samantha Buck opened a diminutive storefront coffee place in Astoria, OR and named the joint after herself. In 2002, she received a cease and desist letter from this major java player, along with an offered incentive, $500, to change her business’ name. When she refused, corporate America coffee took Sam to court.

According to the Seattle Times article announcing Sam Buck’s legal defeat, her courtroom nemesis now boasts 8,000 coffee stores globally. Just in the town I live in, they operate 8 store locations that I can think of right off the top of my head. It’s bad enough that, when faced with ever increasing rental fees and intentional mega over-exposure in the marketplace, the little coffee joes get squeezed out of the running. But to go after a shop owner for trademark infringement, when the owner named her place after herself, is none other than pure bully-ism, in my opinion.

I’m not a fan of roasted-to-oblivion coffee in the first place, but I do admit that I’ve enjoyed some of the cozy digs that said coffee corp. offers. I’ll forgo snazzy tunes and armchairs, however, to support cups of java brewed by local folks like Sam Buck.


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