Filed Under (Current Events) by on 02-27-2008

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I hate to rip off Foamy the Squirrel, but I think Starbucks officially hit schmuck status tonight when the news reported it’s 4 hour closure and the masses distressed in front of the cameras. If you didn’t hear, Starbucks Coffee shut down all 7,100 company-operated stores in the U.S. this evening to “Perfect the Art of Espresso”.

It was reported that the chain closed all of it’s doors this evening at 5:30 pm to conduct an in-store education and training event for more than 135,000 of it’s employees across the U.S. This coming quickly after the recent announcements about nearly 100 U.S. stores scheduled to close later this year and the cutbacks of over 200 corporate employees last week. However, in a written statement made by the company Chairman and Chief Executive, Howard Schultz, the focus seemed to be more about the customer experience, than making money. “Tonight is about making sure our baristas have what they need to deliver on the promise we’re making to every customer, and for every beverage.”

I think it’s a brave move for Starbucks, and I think for a company to be able to admit their faults and essentially cutoff all revenue for four hours or more is outstanding. It shows a commitment to improvement that many companies would scoff at.

Starbucks even went to the trouble to try and lighten the blow in their press release by giving it’s customers alternatives to Starbucks during the closure:

“12,600 Seconds in Time” – 5 GREAT THINGS TO DO IN JUST 3 ½ HOURS
1. Thinking of a change in hair color? A full color with highlights takes just about 3 hours.
2. Watch almost all of the nominated short films.
3. When was the last time you made a home cooked meal? You can roast an 8lb -12lb turkey in 3 ½ hours.
4. What better time to organize those closets, it’s a jump start on spring cleaning.
5. After patiently waiting 12,601 seconds, head to Starbucks to get that espresso!

Though Starbucks was able to make light of the matter, most of it’s L.A. customers could not. Instead we got to see a bunch of people piss and moan about it on the evening news. Aren’t we fighting a war in Iraq? Aren’t there political debates going on? Don’t we still need to think about immigration reform? If this were a business bit, I would get it, but this was headline news for some of the local stations
(Watch the video associated with the story).

Sure, Starbucks is an icon, and in my opinion it’s not even that, it’s more a status symbol for people. But honestly, do you need to stand outside the doors and cry into your latte because they closed shop for a few hours? Break out of your routine and try something new, you might just surprise yourself. You might discover that The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf have a pretty kick ass coffee too. Hell they have some kick ass teas as well. Or perhaps you can hit your local coffee shop and try their fresh home brew, maybe it will blow your “Tall Skinny Mocha hold the whip cream” out of the water. Regardless, I think people should be getting fired up about more important things than time without their local trendy coffee shop…


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