With upwards of 161,000 people registered to attend this year’s Dreamforce conference, the numbers speak for themselves. To have a seat at the table―or say, a coffee booth―of this Salesforce event is no small matter.
Local Union St. coffee shop, Wrecking Ball, was offered this very deal only to reject the generous contract in the name of humanity and political principles.
True to the company name, Wrecking Ball has quite literally made a real bulldozer of a statement by facing off against Salesforce. Their decision to turn down a contract of $40,000 was due to Salesforce’s business involvement with U.S Customs and Border Protection― the muscle enforcing the Trump Administration’s push to separate families seeking asylum across the U.S-Mexican border.
In an Instagram post, co-owner of Wrecking Ball Nick Cho wrote, “We hope that folks at Salesforce understand that it’s not personal, but we have to sacrifice something to show that our values are not for sale.”
The decision is radical in its straightforwardness and simplicity. Money talks so loudly, particularly in a place as affluent as San Francisco, that at times locals may be prone to think the city would straighten out Lombard Street just for a fat payout or a massive real estate deal. In a time when nothing is sacred, it is heartening to find a situation where our generation’s conscience lies in small-businesses and baristas. And truly, with the coffee snobbery that runs rampant across suits and techie circles alike in our golden metropolis, to deny someone a quality pour over is perhaps a cruel and effective punishment.
Though surely Wrecking Ball did not reject this opportunity as punishment, but rather as protest. The fact that this small business was willing to decline an offer that would essentially cover two full months of operation costs is perhaps more meaningful than had a company with more capital made the same decision. Why? Because such a contract would have offered unmatched exposure and immediate financial security at a degree that a larger business may not have experienced the benefit of so directly.
Other small business and individuals across San Francisco are taking up the flag of protest by way of fundraisers and social media engagement. The Assembly, a women’s members-only clubhouse located in the Mission District, organized a fundraiser on June 26th to benefit the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas-based organization that works to provide legal services to struggling and underrepresented illegal immigrants and their families in South and Central Texas.
In a modern day standoff of David and Goliath proportions, Wrecking Ball’s audacity and resolve of character are at the core, quintessentially San Francisco. The Salesforce tower may have ravaged our gorgeous, pastel skyline with its atrocious, phallic tower, but it can’t take our coffee. And it won’t take our conscience. Enjoy your sub-par brew, conference-goers. We’re siding with the baristas on this one.
// Photography courtesy of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters.
Isabella Welch is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in history. Her writing has been featured in history journals, travel blogs, arts & culture magazines, and more. Director of Editorial & Creative Development at Bob Cut Mag, lover of stories and tinto de verano, she’s usually found wandering the Headlands.