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June 18, 2007


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Oh for the love of god...I want the last 10 minutes of my life back for wasting it on that stupid article. Get over it, it's out, it comes back out very soon. Baristas, if you have someone who wants raspberry, connect, discover, and respond to find a new drink they can have until it is released. Here in my area, we have people selling it and one lady keeps coming in asking for it, and we keep telling her that it's not out and that we won't be selling it until the 25th. She bitches that other stores are selling it. But then turns around and gets a different drink instead of going to one of those stores that are selling it.

Oh, and as for corporate telling us that we can sell it, no, I have not seen this. If any of you have, please enlighten me and tell me where to find it. It's a new promotion and that new promotion does not start until the 25th.


What does it hurt to "Just Say Yes"?? What are we proving by saying we can't sell it untill the 25th? Like I tell my partners, "Just do it!".


At my store we ran out of rasberry about 5 days ago BUT we have been telling ALL customers who order rasberry for the last 2 weeks that it has been discontinued and a new and improved juicy rasberry will be coming out on the menu on June 26th! They are excited to try the new syrup...but we don't serve it before the promo starts. The first store that gave these guys the new rasberry was in the wrong and caused problems for the other stores they went into. I have a customer who has got a Iced Grande Rasberry Mocha everyday for 3 years and she is waiting for the 26h.....A customer asked me for an eggnog latte a few days ago....maybe if they write a letter to corporate I can make them one next week! I personally think the customer who wrote the letter is a snob who thinks he is above the millions of other Starbucks customers who are patiently waiting.


My God. Serve the juicy raspberry syrup!

We are empowered to practice the "just say yes" philosophy daily. It is our JOB to create uplifting experiences that enrich people's daily lives. The conversations should not be about a raspberry syrup power struggle, the conversations should be about our customers' lives. Period.

Who cares about inventory or tracking raspberry syrup sales or a promotional launch?!?!

Get a clue.

It's about uplifting people, one cup of coffee at a time.


Then what is the point to have a launch date? Or seasonal drinks? Let's serve all the drinks all the time. Who wants a pumpkin spice latte or a ginger bread loaf? Beause we will now give it to any cutomer whenever they want it!....Just say yes....is not a translation to launch products whenever your specific store wants too making the neighboring store look bad when they follow procedure and put it out on the launch date. Maybe in this situation the store that gave it to him should have made it clear that they were doing him a special favor as a valuable and loyal customer but he should not expect to get the syrup where ever he goes.


Follow the launch dates!


OK, but how come when I write a nice letter praising a store's partners, I get nothin'! :-(
(waiting to try the new raspberry...patience...)


where's Darleen?

She's probably at her store not serving juicy rasberry!


I absolutely despise customers who throw the "Just Say Yes" policy in my face when they can't get their way. Go back to pre-school and learn that life isn't fair and it doesn't revolve around you. It is a SYRUP for crying out loud. I bet the guy who wrote this letter has never made a scene about anything worthwhile, just his partner's beverage choice. And buying a house based on it's location to a Starbucks? Whoa buddy.

Herman M.

Let me be sure I hear this right. There are folks here that are willing to ignore a release date?

Please reconsider. I enjoy making my customers' day as much as anyone, but not by preselling something. Sure, it's "just syrup", but if you will say yes to that, I can't see why you would say no to anything else.

And for some items, that can be a costly mistake. I would hate to be the partner that causes our company to lose the ability to sell new release CDs. We talk those up before release, and they are sitting in the back. If you haven't the willpower to avoid a syrup for a week, what will you do when a customer says "hey, give me a copy of that CD you mentioned, will you?"

You just say yes. The transaction is recorded and the record label sees that we presold the CD. Now the company is on the hook for a fine (rather large) and will likely not be allowed to sell anything from that label again. Once the other labels hear this, they will bail as well.

I hear it now, hundreds of you (well, tens) are priming to type in your retorts that you would obviously not do this. But you would for a syrup, right?

So where is the dividing line? Syrup? New flavor of mints? New bottled beverage? Limited edition ornament? New style of City Mug? Holiday advent calendar? CDs and DVDs? If you understand that "don't sell before" means it for recorded media, it should be just as simple for everything else, I'd think.


Thank you Herman! It's not about saying no about a syrup....but if saying yes then where is the stopping point the next time a customer asks for something early... there has to be a stopping point or promo launches don't become special anymore. But I still think the writer is a cry baby!


So What?? So what if we sell syrup early, it's not like we didn't have raspberry before (my store never ran out of it during the transition). Why should we wait for a "Summer Phase 2" launch date to give our customer what they want?? These are not CD's where we get fined for early sales. All of you that do not want to "Just Say Yes", I challenge you to call up your DM, RD or good old Howard for all I care and ask them what they think. Raspberry was carried year round. It was NEVER a seasonal offering like Pumpkin Spice or Eggnogg. Why make your customers wait?? 90% of our customers are great people, why punish them for the 10% we know that work the system??


Seriously, don't sell stuff before the release date, what's wrong with some of you? You become "the other starbucks". Then customers like this write corporate and rat you out just to get a free gift card. I wonder who got written up over this? If he so genuinely gave a crap about "his" partners he wouldn't have sold them out over a gift card. He's just another douchebag wanting something for nothing, and wanting things to go his way all the time because he is entitled. I hate this sense of entitlement in many of our customers, and we give them more power to walk on us each time we "just say yes" without regard to other policies.

The only thing he said that made sense was about cherry syrup. Cherry would be the best thing to happen to starbucks in years. :)


...Perhaps someone would like to try an orange mocha, an equally delicious and (somewhat) comparable drink? Trying new things is good for you.

With most new drinks, I agree with waiting till the launch date, but this is different because we already had a raspberry syrup. You can't really build anticipation for something that we already carry.

Maybe the stores that man went to let him try some syrup out of their partner bottle, because he was such a good customer at that location, and just didn't tell him that part?


For those of us who love our raspberry mochas, it is just a little bit irritating and confusing that the raspberry syrup is discontinued...but only for a few weeks...and only at certain stores, it seems. Obviously I don't fault the baristas for this, but why can't Starbucks just give me some raspberry syrup?


I am all about launch dates but my manager had us put out the Juicy Raspberry a few weeks ago when it came in our order! I can't say no when she's serving it to other customers and it's already out there. I can't see her admit she's wrong and pull it from our bars. She's usually good with launch dates but she slips on some things because she thinks she can make better decisions than the people in charge of the promo... really irks me when people make up their own standards rather that just follow SBUX standards.

Juicy rasberry not taste different

hm.. my DC store is doing something wrong.

when juicy rasberry came in, we immediately put in the bottle when the old raspberry was empty. this was a couple of days after juicy rasberry arrived.

and we have 6 regular raspberry still sitting on the shelf. lucky these things dont go bad. (ignore the expiration date. it's just sugar, water, and red dye #8. these ingridients dont go bad.)

andy baraista

Our store transitioned to juicy as soon as we ran out of regular. sometimes we just need common sense... we dont need to be jerks about a syrup. 99% of customers just want their raspberry mocha... lol. They dont care about exclusive sugar liquids... lol.

If the raspberry syrup consists of only water, sugar and dye...what makes it raspberry? That's odd.


straight from our RDO...just say yes

StL Shift

This should be a non-issue. If it is between losing a customer and doing things in a rigid fashion, just make the customer happy. How much money do you think this guy spent at Starbucks everyday over the years? Let's see - Iced Venti Mocha plus soy and another syrup? That's almost $5 there, more in some areas. Now, how many times a day did he visit? 2 to 3 times? Now multiply that over the years. This guy is the customer we want to keep, the customer who is invested in our culture and the partners in his home store. This guy is the product of the third place and just say yes. So when we put arbitrary corporate launch dates before our bread-n-butter customers, aren't our priorities a wee bit f*cked?

Just tell the customer, "Look, I will do this for you. Other stores, other partners might not. But I will. Please understand that I'm not supposed to do this." Only a royal ass would get that partner in trouble.

You know what else? A manager who has their priorities straight (it's all about the customers!) will always okay this move. Smart managers know that making customers happy - especially when the request is realistic - is the best way to be successful. The dates are arbitrary, not like the strict regulations regarding CDs and DVDs and books. Those are legal guidelines.

If corporate doesn't want these products to make their way to the customers, then they need to stop sending them to stores so early. Customers hear us talking about them, and of course they are interested. Besides, the quality of employee in this company has gone down drastically. Most of them are petty and not customer focused. Turnover is at an all time high. Established partners are dismayed with the company for many, many reasons. And all this hullaballoo about a freaking syrup is one of those reasons.

What does Starbucks gain by giving the people some Raspberry? $$$$$$$$$$$ and customer loyalty. What do they lose if they withhold the new product? $$$$$$$$$ and customer loyalty. Get it?

You could just do what I do and sample them the raspberry in their drink. It's already accounted for as it's for partners. We have less than 20 partners, and half of us don't like Raspberry, the others hate the new syrup. So our bottle is just sitting there, asking to be sampled.

It's amazing how short-sighted and rigid some of you people are. Try something for me: breathe a little. It helps.


Luckily, I don't have to worry about this. We still have regular raspberry. And we probably will until the 25th.

I would Just Say Yes, though. We're here to create enthusiastically satisfied customers. We can't get that enthusiasm unless we first have the satisfaction.

I don't see it as a problem if one or two customers ask for a raspberry mocha. We're not promoting the syrup until the 26th.

Syrup and CDs/merchandise. There's obviously a dividing line. One is internal, the other is not.

seventysix [76]


oh please! Now he's told everyone he's a MINI Cooper owner everyone's going to think we're all like that.l Thanks a lot bub! We're not and I resent his implication!

Gimme a mocha creme frap and get out of the way! I need to make up the last ten minutes of my life.


we ran out of raspberry a month or so ago. so did all the stores around us. one of our daily regulars loves the raspberry so much and our store so much, when he was in a store that did have the raspberry, he bought himself 2 bottles of the stuff(that's all they would sell him). it sits in the cupboard under the bar with his name on it and we only serve it to him.
we also had him try the juicy raspberry and he hates it.
we know he's a freak, he knows he's a freak. but he's our freak and we love him. plus, he's all proactive about it and not whiny.

equal among equals

If a customer asked me to sell them juicy raspberry, I would probably say no. I would explain the launch date, offer alternatives, even offer a comparable drink for free, and try to connect.

But when a customer persists, explains that another store has sold it to him, and is generally insistent - just say say. The point of that policy, as well as recovery coupons, is that no customer should ever walk out disappointed. I think being that particular about your drink is a bit silly, but it's not my job to decide someone else's priorities.

In other words, follow policy, until it interferes with a customer's ability to leave your store enthusiastically satisfied.


Starbucks response: "Hi Andy, I am extremely sorry to hear of your challenges with the Raspberry syrup. I lead the product efforts and it was surely not our intent to have this happen. I am following up immediately with my team when I get into the office tomorrow to ensure the stores know it is ok to use the new syrup, there may have been some confusion"

Assuming the response letter is authentic, it indicates that it is ok to use the new syrup!
We've been using the new syrup for a week now.


I have a customer who orders raspberry syrup by the case. They were asking me to order it for them for 2 weeks and it kept being zero'd out on my seattle order. They were pissed!!! I tried to explain to them that we were getting ready to launch a new version and as soon as it was ready I'd get them a case. When we got our shipment in I called them and told them to come to the store, when they got there I GAVE them a free bottle to hold them off until we start the launch. No, it wasn't policy, and no, it wasn't a case...but the look on their face when I gave them the free bottle made it all worthwhile. Take ownership of your store, if you have and a loyal customer that wants it, JUST SAY YES!! This is what I have been trying to get through to my team, I will not get pissed off if they make a decision using our guiding principles as their guide. Better to keep a customer, who cares if you have to sometimes bend the "rules"


In other words, follow policy, until it interferes with a customer's ability to leave your store enthusiastically satisfied

Well said equal among equals! You are a true "legendary" partner. You get an online "BE CONSIDERATE" green apron card.


we also had him try the juicy raspberry and he hates it.
we know he's a freak, he knows he's a freak. but he's our freak and we love him

All these beautiful posts are making my heart swell!! What a way to start my day!! I'll bet your freak loves you too itsnotamermaid ! You get an online " BE WELCOMING" green apron card too. I freakin' love you guys!!!!

You know I think it's extremely shitty of that lady from corporate to send that customer that letter, when we got a memo SPECIFICALLY telling us NOT to use the Juicy Raspberry until promo launch! That makes all the store partners look bad when they were just doing what they were told to do. Granted, they should have just said Raspberry was discontinued and not said anything at all about Juicy Raspberry. This company is so fuckin inconsistent and huggy-wuggy. Starbucks needs to grow some fuckin balls.


Everyone keeps saying it's about "uplifting people" and "who cares, just say yes!" You guys, we are a corporation...ok? I think that internal audits, people losing jobs, and mess-ups in inventory are a lot more important than giving someone their raspberry. If someone told you that either you can lose your job and sell them raspberry, or tell them to wait, what would you choose?

Companies set up regulations to be followed. I know how some rules are "meant to be broken", but I don't see anything wrong with this. Overall, waiting till the 25th is the best decision, and if the heads of a corporation had hundreds of people think of this beforehand, then I will trust their judgement.


This guy is the product of the third place and just say yes. So when we put arbitrary corporate launch dates before our bread-n-butter customers, aren't our priorities a wee bit f*cked?

I'd say we are more than a wee bit f**ked, you guys are so my hero's today! So before I answer every single post, I don't have time I want to give a shout out to :AZ MGR ,sixyearpartner , BNBARISTA, andy baraista and all the others who still believe that we have the power to change things one cup at a time! You all get online "BE WELCOMING" green apron cards.

And to no name who said: "She's probably at her store not serving juicy rasberry!" Wrong!! I am a firm believer in giving my customers what they want. I am not afraid to stand on my priciples, and have and will continue to go up against my DM any day of the week when it comes down to it. So...rock on baristas, do what you have to to keep your customers happy. Spread the love and you'll get it back 100 times greater!


This company is so fuckin inconsistent and huggy-wuggy. Starbucks needs to grow some fuckin balls.

I knew it wouldn't be long before someone burst my "happy" bubble. And of course there is NO NAME to reply to, who needs to grow some balls no name?? I am not gonna let one or two nasty posts ruin my mood, the other posts more than made my day. It's all about perspective, if you can make someone happy, do it. Do you think this company was built on being "rigid"? Why do you think we have a "just say yes" policy to begin with?


if i have an alternative syrup that i can use in place of something and if it makes the person happy, then I'll do it. consequences be damned. if i get written up for trying to make a customer happy, then fine by me.


Yeah, this is ridiculous. My husband loves raspberry hot chocolate (it's about the only thing he drinks at Starbucks), and when they ran out of the raspberry syrup, he simply asked, "Do you have Juicy Raspberry in yet? No? Okay, I'll have an orange hot chocolate instead." (It's not as good as Valencia, but it's better than you might think.) BFD. Even knowing or suspecting my local Starbucks is "holding out on me" (assuming they do have JR syrup in stock) doesn't bother me. Whatever, people--it's a SYRUP.

fat island barista

From what I understand, the overreaching policy that was supposed to apply here was to "just say yes."

If you've got people petty enough to fire you for 3 pumps of juicy raspberry syrup, then they aren't following the "just say yes" policy either. But then again, I hear about many, many bad apples in the SBUX barrel these days.

This kind of stuff makes me lose faith in the people who try to manage the baristas on the floor.


Wow. I mean, WOW. I am amazed at such an insignificant thing causing so much stress for this guy...and then in turn causing such a ruckus amongst you all.
It's a freakin syrup!
Now take a moment, step back and read all of this madness again...

Don't you feel silly?

At least it made me laugh.


To JuicyRasberryNotTaste :
Your comment -and we have 6 regular raspberry still sitting on the shelf. lucky these things dont go bad. (ignore the expiration date. it's just sugar, water, and red dye #8. these ingridients dont go bad.)
I really hope you are joking about ignoring the expiration date, considering that is a health code issue. Just about everything in the store has expiration dates, made sooner by opening them.
Also, as others stated,
Just Say Yes is the policy for the new Juicy Raspberry Syrup - from corporate.

Herman M.

All over our region it was as simple as this:
"I'm sorry, we didn't get any raspberry syrup in our order. We are expecting it by the end of the month."

Paired with DMs who were on top of the job and ensured the existing stock was distributed among stores so it runs out at the same time, this is a winning combo. There are plenty of stores that had excess in the back. Even here I see several folks mentioning the bottles sitting on shelves or "not running out".

Was the transition handles at all well? Nope. We're getting worse at this stuff with gaps between promos and the like. There should have been, at most, two weeks that old raspberry was unavailable along with guidance on ordering to cover the gap. Similarly, the new syrup shouldn't have been pushed to the stores so early. As tight for space as many stores are, unusable product in the back room suddenly becomes stocked and in use.

Combine these two and sure there are extra bottles of old stock in stores. But I guarantee that not every customer will like this new concoction. Then there is something to use while they find a new favourite. That, too, is legendary.

Blame here? Surely not the retail partners who are now torn between directives not to use something and the customers. This bungle goes to retail promotions.

Tall Drip

I'm with the store manager here. The syrup isn't out until a certain day? You're just going to have to wait. It's that customer entitlement mentality again...it's not SBUX that's the problem here, it's the typical SBUX customer.

Why can't I walk into Best Buy and DEMAND a new Xbox, two days before the release date? After all, I know they have it in stock. Disclaimer...I couldn't give a rat's ass about any Xbox, but is it not a fair analogy?


To Herman N. :
'There should have been, at most, two weeks that old raspberry was unavailable along with guidance on ordering to cover the gap.'
We were trying to cover the gap by ordering enough to hold us over. However, it was zeroed out very early on, and whatever the stores in our district had on hand was used up at least a month before the new one was scheduled to begin. Raspberry was a popular customization around here.
Also, as you stated, the new syrup was sent very early. Hence we were instructed to 'Just Say Yes'
We don't do that for other things (CDs)
though. We are very careful about that.


WEll, if you all can justify it in your own ways using Starbucks standards, great then do it. But I have been taught to try and CONNECT with that customer and DISCOVER something new that can tide them over until the new raspberry comes out. I actually did that yesterday. The customer wanted the raspberry mocha frap, I explained that we were out and that it had been changed to taste better and that it would be launched in one week. She asked if I could make one for her, I said unfortunately I couldn't because it was part of the new promotion, but she would be happy she waited and asked her if she tried the orange mocha or the orange cream. She had not, and so I made her one and let her have it on me. She liked it so much that she left the tip in the amount of the drink she normally got. She said it was not the raspberry, but would get this until then.

So see, there are ways of using Starbucks to make a customer happy, and not give something out before the launch date. Get them excited, find something they can use to replace it until then. Am I the only one who uses CDR?


That complaint letter was really painful to read -twitch- I ever write a letter like that, I hope someone smacks me up side the head.


I think the only reason I kept reading that letter was because I drink iced venti soy raspberry mochas. I'm just glad that my store still has the old raspberry.

Out of curiousity (and to make myself feel better for having read that whole letter), is the Juicy Raspberry more tart, or is the name change purely cosmetic?


The new juicy raspberry is not an acceptable replacement for the raspberry for the several raspberry regulars who I sampled it on (we've been out for 2 months). CDR as much as you want, these 2x day customers can't get the drink they want anymore. Sure they still come in but I would say they are no longer enthusiastically satisfied.
On the other hand, we can't stock everything EVERY customer wants - you have to draw the line somewhere. The problem for corporate is that the lower the sales of the syrup are the higher the cost.

It's tough, but overall I think we're doing okay on syrups.

But, don't get me started on the plastic furniture at the new drive-thrus.

As a customer, I have to say I get excited about release dates - especially when the Christmas drinks come out - that first taste of Gingerbread Latte - gaahhammmm...

Sure, if a store is out of a certain syrup for a drink I want that day I'm disappointed but I move on and get something else. IMO, if you have the same thing all the time i.e. Raspberry, doesn't it get boring? And if your life suffers hardship because you can't get a certain flavoured syrup then maybe you should re-evaluate what's REALLY missing in your life. I'm just sayin'.

Auntie Nickie


I have to disagree. You shouldn't be rewarded with being a pain in the ass, even by sending a complimentary Starbucks gift card.

I printed the email included with the article, and am using it as a "dartboard" in my office by chucking magic markers at it. Keep complaints concise and coherent.


WTF? It's just a syrup. What's the point of a "release date"? What makes it so special? People want raspberry, give them their stupid raspberry. Don't act like it's a precious limited resource or something so special it needs a release date. This is not the seventh Harry Potter book. It is a freaking flavored syrup.


Personally I would have waited to the release date.

My reasoning:
1. Use as much of old Raspberry syrup to sell down stock of it

2. During any gap, talk up other flavors for a substitute - explain when it will be out

3. A release date is usually set because when asked "When are you getting raspberry in again?" by a customer, you can say "Oh we are changing to a new syrup called Juicy Raspberry which will be out the 25th" sounds MUCH better than answering "I don't know."

4. Usually a release date is set a few weeks after the first shipments go out of something new to make sure that ALL stores have it - and if they were supposed to get it and didn't - said store has a chance to say "Hey! I need the new syrup! Pronto!" and have time to get it in before it's released.

5. And of course - if no one released it before it was supposed to, we wouldn't be having this discussion right now. And no upset customers that say "Some stores have it and some don't."

6. Stock/inventory etc can be messed up if you weren't supposed to sell it yet. What happens if you only got two bottles of syrup - you decide to sell it - the release date hits and Zomg! you sold out of the two bottles you had and you can't get more for another week... That would go over brilliantly with the customers who all waited to the 25th.

7. About "Just say yes" policy - Say "Yes we have the new raspberry on the 25th!" as many times as you want.

Cripes: About "Precious limited resource" It may not be limited in the warehouses or wherever they keep this to be shipped out... but only so many bottles can be shipped at a time and they don't arrive everywhere they're needed at the same time so it may not be limited in the number available to use - but limited in how many you can get at a certain time... so release dates are useful (See reason 4)

P.S. My use of "you" isn't referring to anyone in particular =]

P.P.S. Don't bother arguing against me cause I won't listen.

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