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July 07, 2008

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P.R.I.D.E.

I just read an article that called it like I see it: Starbucks has become America's scapegoat. I see it with shareholders. I see it with customers. And I see it with partners. All of us, rather than take any responsibility or even partial ownership for what happens to us, find it easier to blame it on the big institution.

Partners- ask yourselves what we could have done differently and lets implement it. Now. And forget implementing change that requires someone else to change. Implement the change within yourself to make a difference. We all must start here (and stop pointing the finger at each other)

Shareholders- ask ourselves- do you think the pressure and shareholder-first attitude will really help Starbucks (and your portfolio) in the longrun, or are you just pissed (like the rest of us) that our portfolios have lost a significant amount of value? How can we go about creating REAL change that will add value to the Starbucks brand?

P.R.I.D.E.

Personal
Responsibility
In
Delivering
Excellence

P.R.I.D.E.

"Stay strong, this too shall pass"

"much like a kidney stone... and s painful. Stock under 15 bucks today- Pat Nerr"

Pat, you demonstrate a prime example of a fair weather (ex)employee by this statement that you make- it definitely shows your character, and if I were you're current employer, I'd be scared to keep you employed, seeing as though you're only loyal in the good times...

I'm not saying that we should blindly follow authority, but some of this growth was accelerated on many of the training platforms that you supposedly created- doesn't that say something about the quality of your work?


Darleen

Pat Nerr,
It really is painful. To see the people who have really become like family to you (not just peers) worry whether they'll have a job soon is hard. But for as bad as we partners feel, I can not imagine what Howard must be feeling. It must be extremely hard for him. This is his dream, many of you may mock that, but it's true. Imagine watching your dream go through this. Gotta be a hard pill to swallow. I'm sure some will say on this thread that it's his own fault. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm under the opinion that he is having many sleepless nights and his health is feeling this too. We need to bring it back and we can, we can. We are not over yet folks, believe it and it will be. Again, to all customers, partners, shareholders and anyone else, don't throw the dirt on us yet, keep doing what you are doing in your stores, provide that third palce. Show your customers how truly important they are to you. Someone said it best when they said with no customers, there would be no Starbucks. Okay, that concludes my "Oprah" for the day, now back to your regularly scheduled program.

cupajoe

Darleen,

Gotta love you. I do believe that partners and customers are what will make a business thrive. And every attempt to do it with the most care is of the utmost concern. But after all the love is gone it doesn't just involve the partner and customers relationship, someone has to look at the unprofitability of dead weight stores and how much money might be wasted on too highly priced leases. You have to cut the expenses!!!!!!! I know all the names of my baristas and I visit stores in the Seattle area 25 times a month, but as a shareholder, it really comes down to the fact that businesses operate to attain profitability.

Norman Peltz, with share prices this low, is probably buying hand over fist!!!

Pat Nerr

Darleen... You know me to be a fella/fello who does not blow warm currents up other skirts...

I have a hard time feeling sorry for Uncle Howie since he was just spotted last week wining and dining folks at El Goucho while pedalling Kinetix products to local companies... and again... let Uncle Howie work for free for the next year and give up his bonus in these hard times... Seems fair enough since the company is lookin' to save a buck... literally.

Sorry that last part was unintended

Darleen

Darleen,
Gotta love you

Cupajoe,
What a lovely thing to say! Thank you, I'm taking that as a compliment, so you can't take it back! LOL. I totally understand that without profit, there is no business. I just thought you were saying that only shareholders were important, sorry if I mis-understood you.

Darleen

Pat Nerr,
No, you are not. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, not gonna get an argument from me. I know he is feeling this, big time. I'm sure his mind has been wrapped around this for some time.

sbuxcstmr

If you don't mind me asking, what is a Starbucks partner? (I am a customer).

Also, do you guys think that my local Starbucks is safe? Here is a description. This Starbucks is located in a lifestyle center in a small city with a population of 50,000. This lifestyle center is downtown and includes includes a large theater, restaurants, a bookstore, etc. Every week from June through August, there is a concert on the stage by local performers and the lifestyle center is packed with people. The Starbucks is also packed where there is standing room only. Hard to get in and out of the door.
There is also a three festivals that creates lots of business for Starbucks.

Pennslyvania

Which stores in Pennsylvania will be closing?

Darleen

If you don't mind me asking, what is a Starbucks partner? (I am a customer).

It is an employee. I wish I could tell you if your favorite store will stay open. You will know as soon as the partners know though, so please try to be patient.

Kayla

"... which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"

I told my manager today, "Right now, we just need to have each others' backs. We all need to be here until the very last day, and we need to be here for the customers without worrying them too much."

I believe in responsibility, P.R.I.D.E., but it still hurts. I transfered from a highly profitable store in San Diego to here in the midwest, and to move so far and put this much of myself in a company? I know there are some of you reading this and thinking "playing 'I cry for you,' on the world's smallest violin," but I am really disheartened by this whole experience. It's amazing to hear the customers say, "I'll pray for you."


Edward K

CUPAJOE... Do you work for Starbucks? Have you read the Mission Statement lately? Just curious. Profitabilty comes LAST, Howard says that's for a reason...

If a company that sells a product that is 99.999% water can't make a healthy profit then something is wrong. $4-5 per drink. Where did Starbucks go wrong? The shareholders wanted more money and Starbucks got greedy. That's where they went wrong. Poor business decisions. Gross expansion and negligent business decisions. Poor judgment.

So why aren't people who MADE those decisions losing their jobs instead of partners who work like slaves every single day for next to nothing?

EK

EK

truth

Well on the bright side, hopefully mgmt has learned from this and when they make the NEXT announcement to close another 500 stores, they will do a much better job of it.

Pat Nerr

"Do you work for Starbucks? Have you read the Mission Statement lately? Just curious. Profitabilty comes LAST, Howard says that's for a reason"

that's just BS... The real truth of the matter is that the guiding principles are meant to be in constant tension with no principle more important than another. If you ask any of the handful of folks still around that were there, they'd tell you that the original design was that they'd be in a circle... held together by the constant tension and agreement that exists between them...

of course, the idea that proft comes last is right up there with the thinking that if your manager gives you negative feedback or coaching, that they're not "treating you with respect and dignity"

StarbucksBarista

Why are some people always talking about kool-aid?? Isn't that Kraft Foods???

Anyways, thankfully we found out yesterday during a meeting for Vivanno and Sorbetto that our store wasn't closing...I didn't really expect it to either. I feel really bad though for everyone whose store is closing..I would be heartbroken! :(

Nervous

How is it being determined who gets laid off and who transfers?

Our DM said he'd be stopping by with our RDO Wednesday morning. So, that pretty much answers the question as to whether or not my store is closing.

KanakaKope

BRANDON-
Albert Lea, Red Wing and Rochester are closing also....

I haven't heard the fate of my store yet.

KanakaKope

SBUXCSTMR-

Partner = Employee

wholahay

"of course, the idea that proft comes last is right up there with the thinking that if your manager gives you negative feedback or coaching, that they're not "treating you with respect and dignity""

omg pat nerr!!!!!!!!!

That was awesome, lol!

Darleen

Well on the bright side, hopefully mgmt has learned from this and when they make the NEXT announcement to close another 500 stores, they will do a much better job of it.

Truth,
Honestly, why must you stroke the fire? One can not help but believe you take joy from this from your posts. Seriously, why?

truth

I was being 100% genuine, Darleen. I don't believe they are anywhere near done with closing announcements or layoffs.

This round only addressed company owned stores in the US opened in the last few years. It wasn't by mistake that they were that specific in their criteria. Otherwise they would have said "we looked at all stores in all regions".

But, of course, they didn't say that.

Draw your own conclusions.

lattegal

Pat Nerr -

Thanks for clarifying the guiding principles. The profit statement may be written last, but there is no way it can be the last thing that a company considers. Plus if we read what it actually says - "Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success" we'll see that it is ESSENTIAL to our future that we are profitable.

Even thought there are 5 guiding principles they all have the same weight in value.

NEEKO

...go ahead, tell me it's not about the money.

It's not about the money...
It's not about the money...
It's not about the money...

tallgrandeventi

I'm with you Darleen, I'm convinced that not only does Truth enjoy this, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he were involved in a scheme to drive down the stock price. He certainly has done his part to trash talk our company.

To the WV customer inquring about our change from manual to automatic machines, you mention the use of pods and I want to make sure you know we don't use those in our stores. While our machines are automatic in many ways, they still grind whole bean coffee and then compact it, then hot water is forced through it at great pressure, thus creating espresso. While we do sell pods in our stores for customer convenience at home, we do not use them in our stores.

Our store and many others are now getting a new version of the automatic machine, called a Mastrena which produces not only an amazing quality espresso shot, but also foams milk superbly for your lattes and capuccinos.

GoneBabyGone

"drinking the koolaid":

refers to an incident that occurred in the late 70's in Guyana. Over 900 people of a cult drank (either voluntarily or forced) the koolaid that was laced with poison. Largest mass suicide on record.

It's become loosely used meaning completely swallowing the company line...in this case, the mission statement and guiding principles.

Summerdog

I went to the Anniston, AL store today. I hope this one is on the "chopping block". The toilet did not flush, there was no soap in the dispenser and the lowfat blueberry muffin I had was stale and worthy of a meal in a third world country. I hate to say it but the "bloom is off the rose". Starbucks needs to close stores and get their act together.

cupajoe

Edward K,

No, I do not nor have I ever worked for SBUX. I have been a shareholder since 1995!!!!!! I have never sold, and have bought on dips along the way. Do you live in Seattle? I bet you I know more about Starbucks watching it grow in this region from the ground up than you as an employee. And yes, when I go to a Starbucks in my area, 25 times a month, I think of my investment every time, and how safe it is. Mainly, because of the atmosphere I get to experience, but most of all because of the people who work for the company and represent it. There is no one with "tats" all over them or a nose ring hanging out for all to see.

Seeing Howard Schultz down in Madison Park where he lives in a $30 to $40 million dollar house, seeing the cars he drives, he deserves it~!!!!!!! He made the company what it is today. We all invest to reap the rewards of a well run company. If you do not think it is about profitability, then you have to ask yourself the question what came first the chicken or the egg.

Since Jim Donald was allowed to come in and make bad decisions, someone now has to come in and right the ship. Just hold on because it is and will be rocky.

Darleen, everything you say in your posts, I feel. I preach Starbucks everywhere I go. Everyone tells me "its just coffee", and I tell them they just don't get it, it's about the experience, and the experience is what you have to protect by not flooding the market with too many stores. I think management has now found out maybe where the amount of "too many" is. That's a good thing.

cupajoe

..............and talking about flooding the market with Starbucks, I think that every single Starbucks located in a supermarket should be shut down. Whether it be Safeway, QFC, etc....those employees work for the grocery store. They aren't really about the Starbucks experience.

My nephew works for Safeway, they sent him into the Starbucks in their store when it got busy and had him make drinks, with one day of practice. That's not what it is supposed to be all about.

truth

My alter-ego of stock manipulator, defamer and corporate turncoat is much more interesting than my real life.

Anger and denial.... understandable. Part of the path toward healing.

I don't think it's fair to place blame at the partner level for 'talking too much' as the reason the company is struggling. That's just not a fair statement, regardless of whether it was flippant or not.

StarbucksBarista

Ah, ok thanks for the clarification "Gonebabygone"

disillusioned

I'm a new shift supervisor at a store that opened just a couple months ago, and we're the first corporate Sbux location in our area. We are in negative numbers territory so far. The other, more experienced Shifts in my store say that there's no way we'll close because Sbux will give us more time than this to prove ourselves and to allow sales to ramp up. Even on weekends we sometimes have periods of up to 30 minutes without any customers at all. Even I, as just a lowly SS, can't see how it makes sense to keep our store open. Does anyone more familiar with this company or its decisions have an opinion about whether or not Sbux will indeed give us longer to prove ourselves before deciding to close?

formershift

>>Our store and many others are now getting a new version of the automatic machine, called a Mastrena which produces not only an amazing quality espresso shot, but also foams milk superbly for your lattes and capuccinos.

Hate to burst your bubble, but a Mastrena won't save a flagging store. The product is ok, but a Mastrena is basically a Verissimo with some added detail from the Magistrale. Think of it as an upgraded Verissimo.

Anyway, as far as increasing sales of hand-crafted espresso drinks using the Mastrena, the customer will ultimately decide whether a Mastrena is worth it. The initial customer reviews I heard (purely anecdotal btw) is that there is *no difference* in *taste* (compared to a Verissimo) and the *wait time* is the same. Go figure. What's the point in rolling out this new machine now? PR?

AnnistonSbxCustomer

SUMMERDOG, BITE YOUR TONGUE! That Anniston store has been my rest and refuge on trips from Tuscaloosa AL to Atlanta GA for years - not to mention the only decent cup of coffee for about fifty miles any direction. It's my halfway point, and it opens at...what, 4:30 AM? The folks there are awesome. I have always had great coffee and great service there.

The manager is wonderful, very approachable. I know she'd want to know you were unhappy. You should tell her about the probs you encountered so they can be addressed. Did you mention your issues to anybody? I bet you just stiffed them a tip to show your disdain, huh?

That store gets crazy slammed given it's the only one for MILES AND MILES and right off I-20. You can't wish it closed and be a regular there - are you? I don't think so. And if you are wishing a store closed based on one visit, you can just BITE ME.

Being a loyal regular of that location, let me tell you a little story. One afternoon I stopped for my iced venti decaf quad shot whole milk latte (snort! me and my order! don't make fun of me for saying it "wrong"!). I took my drink to the condiment bar to add my usual 2 Splendas. NO SPLENDA. I stepped to the serving counter and asked if they had any Splenda. THe manager was back there and handed me 2 saying they were out and waiting for more and these two were her last. I GAVE THEM BACK because I had a box of Splenda packets in the back of my car. Since I was digging it out of the back anyway, I grabbed a great big handful of Splenda packets , marched back into the store, and shoved them into the Splenda spot on the bar. HOPING THAT THE GREAT EMPLOYEES THERE WOULD BE SPARED SOME AZZHOLE LIKE YOU WHO WOULD HAVE FLIPPED OUT OVER THE LACK OF SPLENDA.

It's mean to wish any store closed, really. But for wishing one of my regular stores closed, A POX ON YOU, SUMMERDOG!

dharmacup

I've studied marketing techniques and honestly, all the drivel I read in the training modules made me throw up a little in my mouth with every page. It all just screamed of R&D "feel good" psycho-babble and focus group double-talk. But I have to give them credit because they made it so sugary sweet that it goes down well.

"Drinking the Kool-Aid" means ingesting something blindly, with no questions. Following anything like that is dangerous because one can start making an identity their sole reality, ie. a SBUX "Partner."

When you threaten the false identity, it starts lashing out blindly because it does not want it's delusional reality disturbed, lest they see the reality of the situation.

I am a SBUX Employee, not a "Partner." Because when that green apron comes off, coffee playtime is over and I'm no longer playing the role of a SBUX Partner.

I enjoy coffee, espresso and meeting all sorts of people. I'd actually prefer working at a local independent but quite frankly, the benefits are better at SBUX. Most local independent coffeehouses don't have a wide variety of whole bean coffees available, unless they also roast in-house. SBUX has a nice selection of coffees to select from for my weekly markout, which I've been picking up every Monday like clockwork. I'm going to work my way through all of them--iced, hot, coffee press, Melitta cone, regular drip.

What I've learned about working within a corporate system is that you have learn the rules of operation. Once you master those rules, you can tweak the system to your advantage. Figure out how to get the absolute most out of working for SBUX. My personal passion is coffee. Not SBUX.

Don't sit on your ass and complain.

Learn the system and change it from within! Revolutionize your thinking and approach to working within the corporate structure. Be smart, informed and research your topics well.

And please, put down the Venti 33 Pump Classic SBUX Brand Kool-Aid.

DeLatte

Anniston...

I wish you were a "regular" at my store- I don't mean just to refill empty cannisters- but you sound like a really nice person. And in my store, no one laughs at you for ordering "wrong"- anyway you want to order is right by me. :)

Hope your place stays open- and hope all your travels are safe!

zoom

Let's be real about something...Please don't say that Howard is back, cause he has never left. You don't think he had ANY influence on the board and on Jim the last few years? The fact of the matter is that he compromised his principles to get the Company where it was. Some of those decisions were terrible and now the chickens have come home to roost. That's drinking the kool-aid if you think he sat idly by and let Jim and the rest of the board run this Company into the ground.

Rght now, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, and those of you who have worked in CA have a pretty good insight into this.

Darleen

Darleen, everything you say in your posts, I feel. I preach Starbucks everywhere I go. Everyone tells me "its just coffee", and I tell them they just don't get it, it's about the experience, and the experience is what you have to protect by not flooding the market with too many stores. I think management has now found out maybe where the amount of "too many" is. That's a good thing.

Cupajoe,
You are quickly becoming one of my favorite posters! I love that you still can believe in the "magic" of a great experience. It still happens for me too. I facilitated a sbux exp class today, and I'm telling you I still got goosebumps when I saw the pride in the partners faces. I love being a part of that. Also, when I can do something a little special for the person at the counter having a bad day and see the look of worry leave their face even if only for a few seconds. We still have "magic moments" and I know there are many more to come.

ACE

Once again Starbucks proves that they are nothing but SPIN DOCTORS. In keeping with "honesty and integrity" revealing the store closings would benefit everyone affected (PARTNERS and customers). However, Starbucks deguises it as being respectful, when their first concern is that their competition might use the information to gain further ground. Howard- BE REAL for Once!

theendofmyjourney.

I can only imagine how much pride one could have when teaching a class, and pushing the kool aid, to the poor unsuspecting partners who will learn their store will be closing soon. Or sitting with a new partner on their first impressions and knowing that what you are saying isn't true anymore. Perhaps they should update the training materials and mission statement soon. It seems that creating a great work enviroment and treating each other with respect and dignity sounds good on paper, but during hard times I am not feeling any respect. You might still feel pride with the company Darleen (and others) because you are one of the lucky ones who aren't closing. Yet. If your store were to close, I find it hard to believe that you would be so upbeat. This isn't over, it's just the begining of the closings. Don't get too comfortable.

Darleen

You might still feel pride with the company Darleen (and others) because you are one of the lucky ones who aren't closing. Yet. If your store were to close, I find it hard to believe that you would be so upbeat. This isn't over, it's just the begining of the closings. Don't get too comfortable.

I can honestly tell you that I DO NOT KNOW if I AM one of the LUCKY ones. I do not know if my store is staying open or not. My district has not been given any information yet. So, I am in the same boat as all of you only with a little more to lose since there will not be as many options for SM as there are for barista and shifts. Don't fault me because I am trying to remain upbeat, it's who I am, can't help it and do not want to change or grow bitter. Been there, got the ulcer. So while you are looking at this as the end of your journey I will try to look at it as the beginning of mine. Which ever way the coin falls. I wish you luck in your journey.

NERVOUSSM

Being concerned about the other store managers in my area is fine by me, but the line our DMs have been giving the entire team is that store managers of stores that are NOT closing are in jeopardy of losing their positions. It will "all be based on performance". With annual reviews coming up I wonder what this means for those of us that have been told their stores are staying open. Nobody's job seems safe right now and it is making for a very uncomfortable work situation. Any thought out there?

formershift

Thoughts? Honestly, start looking for a new job. Atm, everyone is expendible, especially when there is no end to the company's downsizing. the execs don't really know what to do to revive flagging sales/stocks and so they will pounce on anything to use as a scapegoat--which will probably translate into a more hostile, polically-charged work environment for every employee.

Cali ASM

We recently had a SM transfer to our store a couple of months ago. My DM told me that basically this SM was on the verge of getting fired and he wanted to get them out of a high volume store in our district (so he put this person in my store).

The previous two posts just make me wonder what's going to happen in the near future.

Winch

Telling employees directly and giving partners time to process before going public is respectful. Who wants to find out that they lost their job from the news or a blog? The current ecomonic state makes keeping unprofitable stores open impossible for any company. This was probably a kinder move than taking benefits away from all the baristas.

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