Coffee shop rewards card brewing up controversy

Coffee shop rewards card brewing up controversy

A coffee shop rewards card is brewing up controversy.

The card shows Republican leaders, including President Donald Trump. When the cards are punched, it looks like there are bullet holes in the leaders' foreheads.

The owner of the Black Forge Coffee House on Arlington Avenue in Pittsburgh said the punch-card program was created for publicity and he doesn't condone violence.

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"The joke is that they look like they have been shot," owner Nick Miller said. "It's based on shock value. I want people to remember the brand."


Miller said the shop's unique style is what separates it from others, and he wants to do marketing that will make his business stand out.

"What we do is over the top," Miller said. "I thought it was creative. (A) way to get out their frustrations without being violent."

He said most of the comments he’s received have been positive, but the shop got mixed reactions when it put a picture of the card on social media. Along with a picture of the card, the Black Forge Coffee House posted, "Our new customer loyalty punch cards have arrived! Stop in today, buy a drink, take out a scumbag, and be that much closer to a free coffee!"

In response to the post, some people commented that it's just not OK to depict people with apparent gunshot wounds in the head.

"Who would ever think this is appropriate, no matter what your views are?" a woman named Rose posted  on Facebook. Another would-be customer, Kelsey, wrote, "You know how I wanted to try this place? Never mind."

Ticco Robinson said he doesn't fully agree with the card, but said it may be a conversation-starter.

"That is the first step, but I think in addition to starting the conversation, we have to actually be willing to listen to that conversation. I think that's where problems arise where a lot of people on the right and the left -- as soon as a disagreement comes into focus -- people don't want to talk anymore," Robinson said.