Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm going to Starbucks this morning, and I refuse to feel guilty.

Financial pros tell you that Starbucks is a wasteful habit to be indulged in sparingly.

I don't go every day. Once or twice a week, I do. I don't feel guilty about spending money at Starbucks. It's impossible.

When I was just starting as a writer, I worked at Starbucks. I had full healthcare coverage, life insurance, vision, and dental. I worked part time, and had full medical benefits. My co-workers were parents, artists, students, musicians, actors, film directors... And every single one of us would not have had health insurance, at all, if not for Starbucks. How many children have decent health-care coverage because their parent works part-time at Starbucks? I remember four kids at one of the shops I worked at, where the father was building his own company, while mother was working part-time. I remember a single mom, in college, who depended on Starbucks for health insurance for her baby, when her man disappeared the moment she was pregnant.

In my own life story, between leaving that job, at Starbucks, and my current one, I was on a cheap-o catastrophic plan that dominated my annual budget. It didn't cover anything unless I was hospitalized. I didn't see a dentist. I didn't see an eye doctor. I didn't get sick (thank god)!

I'm going to Starbucks this morning. I will spend about five dollars. That five dollars will go to a company that actually tries to provide part-timers who need it the company benefits plan, in full.

I don't see a problem with this. I look behind the counter, and I know there's a woman who's husband is retired, who probably - I don't know them that well - doesn't mind having decent medical coverage. I know there's at least one musician, back there. I wouldn't be surprised to know parents with kids are behind the counter, who really need the coverage.

If you enjoy the coffee, and you can afford it, I give you permission to visit Starbucks with no guilt. And you can tell the financial planners and budgeters of the world that you refuse to feel guilty for providing health insurance to people who would struggle to find anything otherwise.

Speaking of Health Insurance, I'd like to point out this little article from 2005 that is relevant to our current health insurance debacle.

Want to have even less guilt, this morning? Drop your Senators and Representatives a note about the public option, how you want to break the monopoly of the accountants, who seem to live in this fantasy world that insurers are competing for the business of poor people, elderly people, freelancers, artists, writers, actors, musicians, and etc.

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