Starbucks is offering a cool deal through Oct. 11. Buy someone his or her favorite beverage and get a free tall brewed coffee in return.
The "pay it forward" campaign, which began Wednesday, is part of the coffee chain's Come Together movement -- a push for national unity amid the government shutdown.
Starbucks' website explains, "In times like these, small acts of civility like these make a big difference...We’re hoping this small motivation will encourage you to be the spark of connection that helps bring us all a little closer at a time when showing our unity is so important."
Many people will view the campaign as a great way to encourage generosity. However, some critics will likely argue Starbucks should stay out of political discussions -- even when free coffee is involved.
Never miss a local story.
The Associated Press quotes a chief retail analyst who says the move is a great marketing effort, but probably won't impact the political world.
The coffee chain on Thursday announced "that it will ask customers and businesses to sign a petition calling for an end to the partial government shutdown that has forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job," according to the Associated Press.
Discussion time: What's your reaction to the campaign? Have you ever paid for a stranger's coffee at Starbucks?
More Sonya Sorich: