Starbucks to close


Starbucks to close:

Vandals slathered glue over the windows of at least eight Starbucks shops in San Francisco early Tuesday in what authorities called a coordinated effort to fool people into thinking the stores had closed. The culprits went as far as to stick "closed" and "for lease" signs and notices on the stores, using bogus Starbucks Corp. letterhead. [...]

"The global economy requires a relentless substitution of quantity over quality and shareholder value over human values," it read. "At our current market level, Starbucks cannot in good conscience guarantee all of our beans meet both our rigorous quality standards as well as our commitment to social responsibility. We are moving over and making room for local coffee bars."

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38 Responses:

  1. christowang says:

    This resulted in people in San Fransico having to walk up to 2 blocks to find a Starbucks.

  2. How could the protestors guarantee that the local coffee bars would have better quality and be more socially responsible than the Starbucks outlets?

    • deepwinter says:

      The thing about Starbucks is that yes, they're evil and monopolistic and from Seattle, but as far as corporations go, they're simply not that bad. They live up to several of their claims, treat their customer service staff fairly, and give enough benefits that they have an extraordinarily low employee turnover. Presumably, this is because they are, in fact, a cult, but that's beside the point. All large corporations are cults.

      Oh, and here's an article with a picture, courtesy of our comrades at Indymedia.

      • soleklypse says:

        Yeah, really. Why don't these people, with all their energy and creativity, find a worthy issue to combat?

      • Don't Starbucks also fund extremist settler groups in the Israeli occupied territories? I heard someone claim that, though I've heard people in the Nu Marxist movement claim all sorts of outlandish things.

      • The Green Money Journal thinks Starbucks are ok.

      • cessibaby says:

        as an ex-starbucks employee, i can attest to the fact that really the employees aren't treated as nicely as everyone thinks...no barista at starbucks makes a living wage, you start a tadge above minimum wage and get raises of around .15 cents every 6 months..sure they give you the whole benefits, stock package option but as a 22 year old college student, i wasn't worried about stocks i was worried about having enough money to pay the rent every month, tips depend on the store and its doled out equally so you get the same amount no matter how hard you work. Its a very stressful and demanding job despite what people think, the reason it has a low turn-over rate is because its flexible and everywhere...for example i moved from LA to portland and i had a job waiting for me when i got there because i transferred stores and you're right about the cult thing, if you work more than 20hrs at a starbucks it becomes your life, your social network, your world, it swallows you whole, they make you believe you're lucky to work there when you get paid peanuts to shuttle faux coffee drinks as fast as humanly possible to mobs of insatiable people! Its a cult....but don't think its a nice cult, it just pretends to be!

      • I hate Starbucks because they turn perfectly good green coffee into fucking charcoal. (With the exception of their Gold Coast, which is mostly drinkable.)

        Screw social agendas, we live in a capitalistic society. They should burn in hell (which seems to already be their roasting environment...) because they're peddling over-produced, faux quality crap.

    • baconmonkey says:

      sweet bar-b-qued baby jesus, you're arguing about social responsibility amongst addiction peddlers.

      me, I only buy my crackrock from socially responsible dealers.

  3. suppafly says:

    hah.. thats awesome..

    • pexor says:

      Why is it awesome? It's infantile and criminal.

      • which is awesome

      • rasp_utin says:

        When you have long-standing local establishments forced out by Starbucks invading your town, down to the same street as said existing venues, and when many of your friends lose their jobs as a result, it starts to seem a little more awesome.

        These are sheets of paper being posted... certainly less harmful than the bricks that were hurled as fast as the encroaching chain could replace their front window glass where we used to live.

        • otterley says:

          Have you considered the fact that maybe people would rather patronize Starbucks than the local mom-and-pop coffee shop -- and that's why the locals are going out of business?

          It is, after all, a free country -- nobody is forcing the customers into Starbucks with a cattle prod.

          Blame Americans and their insatiable taste for bad coffee, not Starbucks for catering to them.

          • cessibaby says:

            well i outright disagree with your statement that america is a free country but, thats a whole different can of worms!

            the whole arguement about no one is forcing americans to buy starbucks, so don't blame the behemoth corporate monopoly is an old capitalist arguement that sounds nice but doesn't hold up...people don't go to starbucks because the coffee is better, they go because its everywhere and its fast and america is a convienence obsessed country, ok thats still not starbucks' fault itself right, but what disgusts me is that it does come into a city and purposely place itself next to an independant coffeehouse to run it out of business, or proliferate itself so much that its literally impossible to go anywhere else. It has also gone so far as to buy out other big coffee chains such as Seattle's Best. I don't know about you but things start to get scary when even the minor corporate stores are being swallowed up by one big uber giant. Thats not a free market economy and its certainly not freedom!

            • otterley says:

              but what disgusts me is that it does come into a city and purposely place itself next to an independant coffeehouse to run it out of business

              It is only smart business sense to put yourself in the same traffic area as your competitors -- it's how you make your presence known if you want to be successful.

              Besides, if that building owners share your concerns about behemoth coffee companies taking over mom and pop shops, they're absolutely free not to lease their properties to Starbucks.

              As far as buyouts are concerned, same deal. Seattle's Best wasn't held at gunpoint by Starbucks. They could have kept themselves independent but they chose to be bought.

              Let's face it, the prank was cute and creative, but it was held by people who really don't respect the concept of freedom.

              There will always be independent coffee shops, if only because not everyone likes Starbucks. So stop worrying your pretty little head.

              • cessibaby says:

                I still disagree with your central point that monopolistic business practices equate freedom. It may be a smart business plan and fiscally perfect but that is not to be confused with living in a free society where you choose what you consume. Yes there will always be a few holdouts but thats not enough for me to be happy or for my "pretty little head" to remain silent.

              • jwz says:

                You know, if you want to make the "everything is ok in a free market" argument, you have to also accept that if a company's behavior and public image is such that it encourages locals to vandalize it, that's going to happen, an is part of the expense of doing business. Having your windows soaped is an "economic signal" that part of your market is not happy with your service and/or behavior.

                It may be pure economic Darwinism that Starbucks displaces small local shops, but it's also common in nature for the pack to protect its weak.

                • otterley says:

                  It seems to me that it's easiest to hurt Starbucks merely by not patronizing them.

                  Vandalism hurts all of us, not just the targets: insurance companies raise everyone's rates because the actuary tables change, the cost of law enforcement goes up, etc.

                  It's really hard to defend a cogent argument that it's OK to vandalize some places but not others, because in order to do that, you have to figure out how to develop a consistent formula as to who to drop in the "OK" box and who to drop in the "Not OK" box.

                  • jwz says:

                    I'm not arguing that vandalism is "ok" so much as that vandalism is inevitible.

                    It does hurt all of us, but it hurts Starbucks more, certainly more than silently not buying their product: not just economically, but image-wise: it gets the message on TV that "hey, a bunch of people really hate this company." See, those people can't afford to buy TV spots advertising their position, so they do what they can. This is natural and inevitible.

                    You're also conveniently ignoring the fact that "Corporate Persons" have a much greater voice and influence than any meat individual.

                • volkris says:

                  Vandalism isn't part of a free market, it's a legal matter.

                  Having your windows soaped isn't an economic signal, not having income is an economic signal. Having your windows soaped is a social signal that people around aren't happy with your presence. It has nothing to do with your service or behavior, only your image.

                  • jwz says:

                    It has nothing to do with your service or behavior, only your image.

                    I find that distinction specious. As is your hair-splitting about "social" versus "economic": you can't have one without the other; they are inextricably intertwined. You don't like the word "marketplace"? Fine, call it an "ecosystem." Same thing.

              • spritek says:

                hey i am pissed OFF sbux employee randomly searching online & have ran across this lj thread and must say....
                the issue w/ their business ethics[or, one of many] is that its not simply moving next to competitors, it is paying off city/county zoning agents to rezone areas, paying off health co. workers to stop by establishments EVERYDAY to nitpick the bsiness to closure, etc. They have been trying to run cafe du monde[french quarter, new orleans] out for ten years running! this is not a company that shows any respect for freedom, law, or dignity.
                They are extremely underhanded-and sadly, they're not even good at being underhanded[i know, i work there! wanna see some docs?]so much as they are at lying believeably...

                but, as mark twain said, if you can fake honesty & good ethics you'll be successful in america.
                i had a point to this rant, but i just lost at some point. sorry!

            • volkris says:

              they go because its everywhere and its fast and america is a convienence obsessed country,

              Riiiiight, so you're saying that people go there because they want to? Or what?

          • jlindquist says:

            Have you considered the fact that maybe people would rather patronize Starbucks than the local mom-and-pop coffee shop -- and that's why the locals are going out of business?

            If it were only that simple. It isn't.

            In several locations in and around San Diego, mom-and-pop operations were informed by their landlords that their leases would not be renewed, that the management had "other plans" for their premises. Those "other plans" were the Starbucks that immediately replaced them.

            No question, Starbucks by and large treats its employees well, and sells a product that many, many people enjoy. But there are some very fishy things about their business practices nonetheless.

            • spritek says:

              No question, Starbucks ....sells a product that many, many people enjoy.

              ONLY because they have no idea what well made coffee drinks are. Starbucks quality is shit; i give away every free pound, and never drink their shit.

              No question, Starbucks by and large treats its employees well

              really? they treat their employees well? their "excellent insurance" really isn't, their wages certainly not livable[and w/no option for overtime coupled w/ disapproval over full-time work loads], and the management at the lower levels are among the worst retail management i have ever dealt with.

      • jlindquist says:

        Dear God... someone protesting a large corporate presence they object to in a clever fashion that is highly visible and non-destructive!?

        Oh no. That's not awesome at all. No sir.

        • volkris says:

          non-destructive?

          • jlindquist says:

            Were windows broken? Were fires set? Were store fixtures destroyed?

            No, they weren't. Hence the term "non-destructive". They used removable substances to obscure the windows to mimic a shutdown. They didn't use spray paint.

            • volkris says:

              Just because the substances were removable doesn't mean they were nondestructive.

              That's also assuming that there wasn't any breaking of keys in locks and such, which I've heard there was.

              But in the end even just placing these signs in the windows WAS destructive. If they were easy to remove they were insignificantly physically destructive, but significantly destructive to the business' image, loosing it potential profits.

              • jlindquist says:

                If there were locks damaged, then you're right, that's different.

                "If they were easy to remove they were insignificantly physically destructive, but significantly destructive to the business' image, loosing it potential profits."

                By that reasoning, any form of successful protest, even if it were a bunch of people standing outside quietly holding picket signs, not at all obstructing the door, are "destructive" if others are convinced to turn away.

                That's bullshit.

                (And it's "losing", goddammit. Where the hell did you learn English?)

                • volkris says:

                  By that reasoning, any form of successful protest, even if it were a bunch of people standing outside quietly holding picket signs, not at all obstructing the door, are "destructive" if others are convinced to turn away.

                  Sorry, I thought it was obvious that the context of the discussion assumed use of the business's property. The protest you describe is a different matter entirely.

                  And it's "losing", goddammit. Where the hell did you learn English?

                  An old girlfriend screwed me up on the spelling of many similar words

      • suppafly says:

        not really.. its not hurting anything and its making a point.

  4. ciphergoth says:

    http://www.theonion.com/onion3709/starbucks_phase_two.html

    SEATTLE-After a decade of aggressive expansion throughout North America and abroad, Starbucks suddenly and unexpectedly closed its 2,870 worldwide locations Monday to prepare for what company insiders are calling "Phase Two" of the company's long-range plan.

    • selectronica says:

      Heh. Pretty funny.

      But my favourite Starbuck's spoof is still the Coffee Slurry Pipeline story that aired on April 1, 1996 on NPR's ATC. The premise was that, in order to maintain quality control in Seattle, Starbucks was going to roast the beans for the whole world in Seattle and then run them through pipelines to their outlets. The first was going to Boston and was "nearing completion" at the time of the story. They "interviewed" all sorts of actual Starbucks people, geologists, economists and I was halfway through listening to it, saying to myself over and over "You've got to be kidding!" before I realized that it was April Fool's Day- and they were kidding. But it was very well produced, unfortunately I could not a link to it. But if anyone ever gets a chance to listen to it, it is worth it.

  5. marklyon says:

    If these vandals are firmly convinced they have a better plan, why don't they raise some cash and implement it? Destroying someone else's property isn't a solution, it's a cheap cop-out by people too spineless to contribute to society.

    Maybe I've not experienced the massive Starbucks invasion. We have three of them in Jackson, MS where I am from, but seven local coffee places that do just as well. They succeed by giving us what Starbucks doesn't - art gallery space, concerts, and free wireless internet.

    • sixty4k says:

      That's part of the interest in this little act, is that they managed to make a statement without actually damaging anything physical.

      It's not about competing with Starbucks, it was done to comment on Starbucks.

      And yes, when there's a starbucks every two blocks, perhaps their getting a little out fo control. Don't worry, they'll get to your town in time.

      • marklyon says:

        Jammed locks, broken windows, and glue-slathered windows were all cited in the article. Destruction is an inappropriate term, but it is vandalism. It is wrong. If I came to your house or business and did the same thing, you wouldn't find it an interesting "comment" on your invasion of the neighborhood.

        If there wasn't a market for it, Starbucks wouldn't expand into those neighborhoods. After all, they're not where they are because they like to lose money.