I’m Dumping Starbucks



Dump_Starbucks_LI’m one who believes that if I were to boycott everything that I’m encouraged to I’d be stuck in the Stone Age.  I just can’t boycott everything.  I do however believe that strategic boycotts can be effective, and so I am choosing to enter one today and I encourage you to join me in a free market exercise.

Starbucks has claimed to be “post politics and post partisan” nevertheless decided to jump into the political fray back in January in order as a corporation throw its support behind same sex marriage legislation in Washington State.  They are obviously free to do that, and we are free to demonstrate our disapproval.  It seems to be a odd business decision to make a decision that will alienate roughly half of your customer base.

And yet they did.  Voluntarily and apparently enthusiastically as reported by Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization of Marriage who attended a recent shareholders meeting:

Jonathan Baker, head of the National Organization for Marriage’s Corporate Fairness Project was there to ask if the board really approved the statement that gay marriage is "core to the Starbucks brand."

Yes, Schultz said. Most of the room there applauded, but what happens in Seattle doesn’t stay in Seattle.

Another shareholder asked how it could possibly be in the shareholders’ interest to wade into a hot-button political and cultural issue. A few brave souls in the audience applauded.

I was going to ask a question, too, but Schultz cut off questions just before I spoke, leaving me the sole person standing before a microphone with a question in my heart to ask:

Millions of good, honorable, decent and loving people believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason — these unions make new life and connect children to a mom and a dad. Of all the sustainable ecosystems Starbucks might want to support, surely this one is worthy of a company that bills itself as a company with a conscience?

I wanted to tell Schultz personally that we at the National Organization for Marriage were going to ask all his customers, employees and vendors who do not support gay marriage to make their presence known.

And thus the Dump Starbucks campaign was born.  A portion of every coffee, bag of coffee beans or ground coffee, lattes, etc. purchased goes toward their assault on traditional marriage.  If the CEO, Howard Schultz, decided to just personally get involved that’s a completely different thing, but they decided as a corporation to get involved – shareholders, employees, and customers who believe differently be damned.

Until they shift back into a neutral position, while I’ll miss my French Roast Coffee Beans and Café Americanos, I can get my coffee elsewhere.

Update:  Past CT contributor, Emily Heikes,  suggested an alternative – CityKid Java.  100% of their profits goes to help at-risk kids in the Twin Cities.  Now we can balance out our negative action with a positive one.  Please do purchase from CityKid Java.  You can buy coffee from them online.

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  • http://twitter.com/Theology4Girls Diane Bucknell

    Ugh Shane.  What a bummer.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      A bummer I’m giving up Starbucks or a bummer that I’m participating?

      • Sara

        Well I don’t know what Diane meant but I think it’s a bummer you are participating. What a horrible way to think. 

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Let me ask you this. Do you support the boycotts of businesses that supported California’s Proposition 8? Because if you do you’re a hypocrite.

      • Sara

        Of course I support those boycotts. I don’t think boycotting is a horrible way to think. I think your view of homosexuality is a horrible way to think. How’s that hypocritical?

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        I misunderstood, I thought you were talking about the boycott. Yes, what a horrible way to think holding onto a view that has been held for 6000 years.  I’m so arcane.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kyler.phoenix Kyler Phoenix

        what happened to your hollywood boycott? did you decide against it or are you currently engaged in it but no one is noticing? encourage all your bigot friends to boycott starbucks and maybe when it has no effect you’ll see just what a minority you haters are!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1079613705 Al Manning

    I’m all in!

  • Greenpointguy

    What about Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Nike?…all came out with the identical support of marriage equality statements in WA in January…and Apple, Facebook, Peets, Panera have all previously supported it. What are we to do, live in a cave?

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      No, did you not read my statement above about boycotts?

    • http://www.facebook.com/kyler.phoenix Kyler Phoenix

      no, caves are the birthplace of religion. they are considered holy to most people. you should live under a rock.

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Wow, you’re an incredibly tolerant person.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kyler.phoenix Kyler Phoenix

        i have no reason to tolerate nazis. neither does any other decent person.

  • OldeDaveNJ

    Actually Starbucks tends to draw younger, more affluent, college-educated customers … i.e. those who as a group tend to be much more supportive of giving same-gender couples equal rights under the law than the general population.  So I doubt the statement that they risk alienating half their customer base is accurate.  Their target demographic, as a group, may actually respond in a positive way to their position.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      I doubt it.  Perhaps in certain places and maybe in the stores, but I bet older Americans make up a lot of their grocery product purchases.

      • OldeDaveNJ

        Actually, my comment was based on an E*Trade analysis Starbucks Corp. for investors …

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Ok, I stand somewhat corrected.  There’s no way though that a company can completely tell who is frequenting their stores. I understand that their target group is younger.  Even if it isn’t 50/50 does it make sense to alienate a large group?  I guess what I’m going for, and what National Organization for Marriage who organized this boycott is pushing for is neutrality.  We understand swinging to the opposite side of this would be just as damaging for them.  I’ve never seen a company get in hot water for staying away from hot button issues like these though.  

      • OldeDaveNJ

        Well, the decision presumably was as much a matter of principle as marketing.  And while they may lose some customers, they may draw others given their target demographic.  (I’m not young, but I’m well educated and well off and would go more often because of their stand if I didn’t dislike their coffee so much.)  And supporting groups that oppose same-gender marriage doesn’t seem to have damaged Chick-fil-a much; their customer demographics are skewed the other way … 3/4 of their stores are in the South central and eastern US.

      • Greg B.

        NOM doesn’t care about “neutrality”. They’re fine when corporations take an anti-gay stance (think Chick-fil-A). They see it as a 1st Amendment issue. Starbucks embarrassed them with a public smackdown and this their way of having a temper tantrum… but it’s backfiring. Add to this the damaging info that just came out of the Maine case and it’s shaping up to be a very bad week for NOM.

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        I’m not doing this for NOM.  I’m doing is a matter of conscience.  So for me, it’s not really a power struggle.  It’s being a steward of where I spend my money.

        Greg, I’m also sure there are people who boycott Chick-Fil-A, actually I’m certain of it.

        Starbucks has every right to make the decision they did, and I have the right to spend my money elsewhere and encourage others to do the same.  It’s as simple as that.  Whether they change their mind is really irrelevant.

      • Hector

        Shane, I am gay and when I read all the comments that people have posted here it truly makes all the bullying, teasing and harassment that I suffered by friends (people like you) and my family, they just fade into the past. Have a cup of coffee, come meet us and we will share our story with you over a cup of Starbucks. 

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Hector, I’ve never bullied, teased or harassed a homosexual. I just don’t believe marriage is meant to be between one man and one woman. I’d be more than happy to meet you for coffee though (other than Starbucks) if you happened to live in my area. I’ll even buy.

  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com PolishBear

    DEAR SHANE:

    The National Organization for Marriage wants everyone to boycott Starbucks because they support marriage equality for Gay couples. OneMillionMoms wants everyone to boycott J.C. Penney because Ellen Degeneres is a spokesperson. Groups like Focus on the Family have, in the past, organized boycotts against Ford, Pepsi, McDonald’s, and even Campbell’s Soup for DARING to support fair treatment for Gay Americans. And at the end of the day such boycotts have been utterly ineffectual, although the organizations behind the boycotts have garnered some news coverage. I suppose that was probably the point.

    But I’d like to address your more fundamental point, namely that these boycotts are designed to stop the “assault on traditional marriage.” Actually you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who DOESN’T support “traditional marriage.” And in fact absolutely nothing about “traditional marriage” is changing as far as Straight (i.e. heterosexual) couples are concerned. Nothing is being “redefined.” Most people are Straight and always will be, and they will continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have. None of that is going to be affected when Gay couples are allowed to do the same.

    • rmcray08

      WELL STATED.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Sure the definition of marriage is being redefined, and it then kids are being indoctrinated re. the change… you can’t possibly know the long-term impact.  Already people in Canada are suing for their right to marry multiple people.  We were assured by people who supported SSM that this would never happen, but now we see the slippery slope happening right before our eyes.

      Then there are the long-term religious liberty implications of this that always seem to accompany same sex marriage rulings and legislation.

      Anyway, like I said before I’m not a serial boycotter.  But I don’t want to give my money to a business that promotes this as a core value when I can buy my coffee elsewhere.  It’s a matter of conscience for me.

      • OldeDaveNJ

        I’ve never heard any supporter of SSM say that polygamists wouldn’t sue for state recognition of their relationships, either here or in Canada.  Perhaps there have been, but that is more a case of sloppy language than anything substantive.  It should go without saying that anyone is free to try and sue for anything they want. 

        The real question is whether polygamists in the US will get anywhere with such suits, and whether there’s a link between their suits and SSM.  It is just a fact that the 14th-Amendment arguments supporting SSM generally don’t apply to polygamy.  In fact, it’s not even clear under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which only comes up because government provides certain benefits/protections based on marital status, that polygamists ARE being discriminated against.  There is nothing in traditionalist marriage laws that prevent polygamists from entering into a healthy, successful civil marriage with any one of the partners, obtaining the benefits/protections that go with it, and living together along with the rest of the partners in the relationships.  Traditionalist marriage laws, however, DO fundamentally preclude people who are strongly homosexual from ever entering into a healthy, successful marriage (and obtaining those same state-granted rights/benefits) with anyone, ever.

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Well you probably haven’t heard it because you aren’t the one making the slippery slope argument.  I heard it a lot.  You may be right perhaps polygamists won’t get anywhere… yet.  Twenty years ago most people thought homosexuals would get nowhere with their lawsuits as well.

    • GLP123

       Actually, NOM and company say that marriage is being redefined for EVERYONE, when you permit marriage equality for same gender couples.

      It goes from being something focused on a couples genitals (as NOM prefers) to being something focused on love, commitment, devotion, and family (as most normal people view marriage).

      NOM supporters fear that they, and other straight couples, can no longer consider marriage about a penis and a vagina coming together in the holiness of god and the State.

      They will have to think of marriage being about all those other silly reasons a couple chooses to make such a strong commitment to one another.

  • Greg B.

    Although polls may show that roughly 50% answer ‘no’ when asked about changing existing law to allow for same-sex marriage, you’re making a giant leap in your conclusion that that half would participate in a boycott of a corporation who holds the opposite view. Half of all Americans are not anti-gay activists! Only a small (but loud) minority are. Look no further than than the number of people who have signed NOM’s pledge compared to the number who have signed an opposing one thanking Starbucks for supporting equality. It’s currently about 22K anti-gay vs. 300K pro-equality. 

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      NOM just launched this.  For me it’s a matter of conscience so I would do it regardless so I really don’t care about the numbers.  Besides online activism is hardly an scientific measure of people’s attitudes.  When I can buy coffee elsewhere it makes no sense for me to buy from a company with a core value that is the antithesis of what I believe.

      • http://www.KenChristensen.com Ken Christensen

        As a matter of economics and conscience, I’ve decided to spend my $5 on an entire breakfast at Chick-fil-A, where their corporate philosophy almost completely aligns with my own. Why spend money supporting a company that so blatantly defies the Holy God I claim to fear… not fear in the sense of mortal terror, but fear in the sense of a humble realization of my total depravity apart from the redemptive gift of Jesus’ sacrifice and it’s covering, and restoring my relationship with God.

        It was hard, because I like the folks at my local Starbucks. And I like my venti decaf vanilla caramel mochas…

  • GLP123

    Isn’t NOM alienating half of its support suggesting that ANYONE should be drinking caffeinated beverages in the 1st place?   Many of NOMs supporters are members of the Mormon LDS church and they wouldn’t set foot inside of a Starbucks to begin with.

    This boycott is doomed to spectacular failure.  First off, many of Starbucks clientele are younger more open-minded people who will ONLY frequent Starbucks more often upon learning of such a boycott.

    I for instance rarely have gone to Starbucks in the past few years, but now have found numerous occasions to go and just got back from the grocery store with 4 packages of Starbucks branded coffee products.  I might have purchased more but the shelves were getting low and I wanted to leave some for other supporters.

    The point is, SUPPORTERS of Starbucks position, which is a much larger percentage of its customers, CAN make the effort to make purchases from them.  Those opposed are mainly going to be people who aren’t going into Starbucks all that often, if ever, and the most they can do is not buy something.

    Given that the Thank Starbucks petition is far outstripping the boycott Starbucks petition by a 12 to 1 margin, and that all those people CAN make purchases and extra purchases, this boycott is not only futile but counterproductive.

    • http://twitter.com/Chefwhiz Terri L. Cossaboon

      I just returned from one of their Atlantic City stores. I bought a venti hot chocolate, almonds, brownies, candy bars, and ALL of their Madeleines (84 packages). My total came to $191.52.

      I don’t usually shop at Starbucks because I’m not a fan of coffee, but I will be dropping in a lot more in the future, as well as doing my best to patronize any and all other companies that NOM dislikes.

      Very best wishes to you all.

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Like I said a free market exercise… If I were a betting man I’d bet I can keep up not buying from them longer than you can dropping $100s.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      It will be 100% effective in the goal of them not receiving any more of my money.  Whether the boycott is effective or not doesn’t really matter to me.  I just can’t as a matter of conscience support a business that has this as a core value, especially when I can so easily buy coffee elsewhere.

      By the way, Starbucks does sell decaffeinated beverages.  I also doubt 1/2 of NOM’s support is the LDS Church anyway.

  • clarknt67

    Maggie and NOM’s plan just revealed in court documents:

    “The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constiuencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politiician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the cost of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persauding the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington D.C.; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.

    Pitting Americans against one another hoping to “fan hostility” is not a Christian action. This is reprehensible behavior. 

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Could you include a link?

      Listen choosing not to support a business financially with your hard earned money when they support something you disagree with is not “fanning hostility.”  It’s good stewardship.  Were you against boycotts of businesses that supported California’s Proposition 8?

      It’s a matter of conscience for me.

      • Bob_Barnes

        Include a link? What desert island have you been on for the last 24 hours?

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        I guess I don’t live online like you Bob.

        I did see this today - http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/27/politics/marriage-group-memos/index.html

        This is news?  It’s no different than voter outreach – African-Americans and Hispanics tend to hold to traditional values.  Sometimes those values get trumped by other issues.

        An example – there was a huge, huge turnout for African-American voters who when to the polls in California back in 2008.  They voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama.  They also voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 8.

        I guess many in the African-American community don’t view gay marriage as a civil right.

        It’s voter outreach plain and simple.  Try to connect on similar values.  You may disagree with those values, but the strategy is legitimate and both sides have done it.  So I find the outrage in the SSM both hypocritical and amusing.

      • Ophu

        Perhaps you should remove the turd-colored glasses you’re wearing. Then you’ll be able to se the s/it hitting the fan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14824636 Laramie Wall

    Bummer…. I’m small business first kinda guy, now I kinda want to support starbucks for being good supportive people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyler.phoenix Kyler Phoenix

    wow! just read all the comments. so shane how does it feel to be so alone? even on your own website you cant find a handful of people to agree with your disgraceful views. shane, just so you know, its just going to get even more lonely for bigots like you. you are participating in propaganda against gays that is akin to “the protocol of the learned elders of zion”. it is vile and disgusting. as are its participants.

    • http://www.KenChristensen.com Ken Christensen

      It really doesn’t matter what Shane thinks. Or how alone he may or may not be. God calls adultery sin, yet many try to get away with it. He also calls the practice of homosexuality a sin. Neither Shane nor I set the standard, God does that. I can’t meet God’s standard even if I were to try with every fiber of my being.

      You would do well to learn from history, and the ridiculous notion that we can enact laws that circumvent God’s law. There were efforts by several state legislatures to change the value of pi to 3, instead of the more precise approximation of at least 3.14. It sure makes the math easier, but could you imagine the implications of this? Why we’d never be able to put a satellite in orbit! Today, the most common of calculators can give you the value of pi, 3.1415927.

      So doesn’t it seem more than a little foolish to attempt to pass a law saying that pi is 3? It is even more foolish to think that we could make a law that says that marriage can occur between people of the same sex, and somehow that would be just fine with God. It is equally foolish that our Supreme Court could declare that abortion (the murder of the unborn) is legal and lawful, and God would ignore that too.

      Do not be decieved, God is not mocked. You reap what you sow.

      I beg for God’s mercy, for I am a sinner.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Tyler, I’m not alone… do you see all of the Facebook likes?  This is usually what happens.  Many people don’t want to bother with battling in the comments.  Usually I don’t even jump in.  That’s more of a younger liberal thing.

      But I want to thank you for your tolerance shown in calling me vile and disgusting.  God bless you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Teri-Simpkins/100000534363476 Teri Simpkins

    You know Shane, it must be hard to be you.  Not once does Starbucks say “Hey, we’re pro-gay so when you buy our products, you’re supporting something you might be against. No one asks you if you’re for or against gay marriage when you walk through the door.  They said that they are for diversity and that it was an easy corporate decision for them to make.  NOM just wants everyone to be like them.  So glad you’re on NOM’s side.  For the record, NOM lies more than most politicians and then lies when those original lies are discovered.  Just sad that so many closed minds agree with them.  As one blogger says, “Lies in the name of the Lord are still lies.” 

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      No they stated in their shareholders meeting that its a core value.  Anyway, they made their decision.  I made mine.

      It’s a free country.  It’s a matter of conscience for me.  There are plenty of other places for me to get my coffee that are neutral on this.

    • Sara

      Yeah, weirdly I’m kind of with Shane on this. I think his views regarding gay marriage are totally lame, but just because a business doesn’t throw their views in your face doesn’t mean their views aren’t important. I happen to be with Starbucks though, and should probably boycott commenting on Shane’s site. Commenting only helps…

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        God bless you Sara, you’ll be missed.

  • Guest

    Shane, I’m 70 years old, a born-again Christian for something like 60 years, I unabashedly delight in jokes and one-liners about gays, and I also support their right to marry or not as they might choose.

    Starbucks boycotting will not be very high on my list of priorities. In fact after reading today’s news items about NOM’s tactics, I am as a Christian rather disappointed in their conduct. I will be adding NOM to the same category of diminished admiration that I now feel toward Komen.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      I’m sorry to hear you delight in jokes and one-liners about gays.  How exactly is that Christ-like?  I disagree with redefining marriage, but I also believe all people need to be treated with dignity and respect.

      Regarding NOM it’s no secret that social conservatives court African-Americans and Hispanics because we share the same values.  It isn’t a racial thing, it’s a shared-values thing.  It’s also been happening for years.  This is non-news.

  • http://www.KenChristensen.com Ken Christensen

    Right, and men love darkness because their deeds are evil. Do you honestly think that we are giving up Starbucks because we hate homosexuals?

    Hardly. Because then I’d be the other “H” word… Hypocrite. I’m supposed to love my enemies! So while a part of me rejoiced when Osama bin Laden was killed, another part of me hoped that the Bibles they found at his compound were for more than just opposition research.

    Hell is a real place, and a dreadful place. I don’t want anyone to go there. But go there people will if defying God they must.

    I hope you don’t look back on the day you called Shane and others like myself haters, only to discover too late that we speak the truth in love.

  • http://www.KenChristensen.com Ken Christensen

    Thank you, Shane!

  • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

    For starters, this just launched. Secondly you’re assuming that everybody involved on both sides will engage in online activism. Third I’d say the other side is more engaged online at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they make up the majority.

    • clarknt67

      The thank you petition launched a day later. And has 10 times the signatures. This “it just launched” is not persuasive that it will ever build steam.

  • OldeDaveNJ

    Shane – your article raised at least three issues:

    (1) Is it appropriate to boycott a business that supports causes you disagree with?  I don’t really see many arguing that there’s anything very wrong with that.  I don’t patronize Chick-fil-a, so it would be silly of me to say it’s wrong.

    (2) Are there any negative business implications when a company takes a stand on an issue like this?  You initially seemed to think so, but you’ve sort of stopped arguing that point. I doubt Starbucks will see much impact from this at all; given their target customer base it may even be good for business.

    (3)  Then there’s the most important question: are you on the right side of this issue?  For both theological/Biblical reasons and legal/Constitutional reasons, I think you are very much on the wrong side.  I won’t bother with the Biblical reasons because  (1) the notion that the scriptural passages generally used to condemn homosexuality probably don’t apply to the kinds of relationships we’re talking about here probably would be lost on you and (2) they are totally irrelevant to the issue of civil marriage.  The government recognizes/supports civil marriage through the granting of certain rights/benefits/protections to couples for the purpose of promoting healthier families.  That’s true regardless of whether the family consists of the couple themselves, the couple plus biological children, or the couple plus children in their care/custody through adoption, IVF/surrogacy, or previous relationships.  And that purpose applies to families built around same-gender couples just as much as those built around straight couples.  The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment requires that such benefits, etc. be granted in an equitable, fair manner consistent with that purpose, unless there is some overriding reason based on the public good for discrimination.  And under the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment, justifications for such discrimination in the law would have to be non-religious in nature.  I’ve yet to see any credible, non-religious argument as to why same-gender couples and their families should be denied the same benefits and protections that straight couples receive. 

    An example.  Many couples rely on spousal health coverage provided by the employer of one partner to meet the health needs of the other partner.  But most companies that provide such health coverage to the spouses of married, straight employees are perfectly free to deny that same coverage to the partner of a civil-unionized employee (even assuming they live in a state where civil unions exist).  Once DOMA falls, and I believe that will be soon, same-gender couples in states that recognize SSM will have substantially more benefits than same-gender couples in states that do not … even those with civil unions.  Do you really think that denying an individual health coverage simply because they happen to be a homosexual in a loving same-gender relationship rather than a straight person in an opposite-gender relationship is the caring, Christian thing to do??

  • Sara

    Jesus would have been on Starbucks’ side. 

  • David Agosta

    The tenfold backlash against the boycott doesn’t tell you how wrong you are?

  • clarknt67

    Curious if your conscience bothers you that you are maintaining this website undoubtably with the help of Microsoft and/or Apple products.

    Both Microsoft and Apple signed the same letter of support that Starbucks did. 
    Isn’t it a little hypocritical to boycott only Starbucks?Shouldn’t you be targeting Microsoft and Apple as well?

    Isn’t it supporting immorality to continue to use Microsoft and Apple products?

  • Carl Mndz

    Currently about 25,000 people have signed a pledge saying they will boycott Starbucks. On the other hand over 600,000 people have also signed an online petition saying they support starbucks. You can find it at http : // sumofus . org / campaigns / thank-starbucks / (get rid of the spaces)….