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January 08, 2009


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So this is why they had to adjust the prices in Ontario last week......

Now THERES some coverage hours. I really can't see Starbucks business being important enough to require private jets. Maybe they should *gasp* fly commerical. And coach too. I mean, we gotta sacrafice, right?


I feel better knowing that the money the company saved in laying me off last July is being well spent.

Way to go Howard and the board. Better to enable c-level executives to travel to Hawaii in style than say, invest the money back into the business.


This is absolutely ridiculous. I understand there are perks to being a corporate executive, but when you have employees that are having a hard time just paying rent or buying groceries or if you have been constantly laying off employees, then why are you buying private jets for?

I don't understand anything this company does anymore. Why are these people (Howard & co.) still allowed to run this company? Hasn't it been apparent that they do not know how to run in bad economic times?

Fire them all, stockholders: can't you guys call for Schultz to step down? Aren't you guys the actual owners of the business? For the sake of all the hardworking frontline employees who are trying tho make you money out there: DO SOMETHING!!!


Someone please say it ain't so!

alawys a black apron

Gee...I'm glad I lost my store and my job to help support the new jet. I feel so much better now.


Not long before we see a shareholder derivative suit for breach of fiduciary duties.Most partners are shareholders and something like this might get them to take some action. Problem is it will cost SBUX a fortune and make some NYC lawyers richer.It took an awfully long time to get IBM executives out of company limos but it was accomplished.


Does it come with cup holders?


OK, so according to my calculations... that is over 5.8 MILLION hours at starting wage for baristas in the area I work in.

Pat Nerr

jeeze people... Don't be naive. Howard's been using private jets for years. They're all sitting at Boeing field with paid a paid crew on SBUX payroll... If the news would only report the menu demands that Howard makes... Organic Kosher and Champagne... fine wines.


Truthfully, sometimes it is not the cost of canceling an order that is important as it is the cost of NOT canceling an order for an extravagance. Additionally, intelligent, thoughtful, fiscally responsible management would have sold the Gulfstream BEFORE contracting for the 550!

Yet another example of how this company has lost its way and why I sold the last of my IPO stock months ago. There has been NO return to its roots. Pike Place Roast is an absolute abomination of a coffee. All show and no substance at the top echelon of management exists. Plus, a cut of 3% in labor DURING THE HOLIDAYS whilst taking delivery on a new corporate jet!

Truly, after one factors in the cost of the pilots, assuming they are on the payroll and this is not a "jet share" situation, the cost for fuel to fly to Italy (yet again) to taste the latest buzz drink, etc., I venture to say it would be cheaper to buy tickets at the counter in coach or business class than to keep these three/two jets on the books.

Irresponsible leadership is going to be the death of this company, period.


Oh! And thank you, Melody, for re-focusing me on the non-match for 401K contributions, also. Guess they needed to save the estimated millions on 401ks to pay for the new 550...or possibly to pay for keeping three jets on the books since no one had the, um, gumption to stand up in the meeting where the purchase of the 550 was approved and suggest selling the GS-V first!

Yep, "respect and dignity" are just words in a book now. What's next..."let them eat cake" as a corporate response?

GlenFeliz Regular

Yes, I am sure it has been a very long time since Howard flew commercial anywhere. And the only reason this is news is because SBUX lost its way a while back.


They travel in brand new corporate jets while not being able to come up with money for shift managers mileage for running errands for the store and store deposits. They will likely not match 401k's and continue to cut labor so shareholders can have a better stock price. This company is in the sh!!tter. I'm looking for shift managers, assistant store managers and any baristas interested in joining a class action suit about back mileage. If you have ever taken a deposit or run anywhere on an errand for your store and were not paid mileage, email me. firstmate@live.com. If you think this is a non issue, last year if starbucks would have paid appropriate mileage to those people the total would have added up to more than 2 million dollars.

SBUX Alum Bill


Actually, the correct corporate response would be: "Let them eat Piadini Sandwiches, with a Signature Hot Chocolate chaser!" Maybe that'll be in the next SBUX mission statement!


In addition to the CEO's personal jet, someone needs to take a serious look at the tens of millions that he has received from the company over the past few years.Why weren't partners warned to exercise their options when the boss sold at $30++++.



The cost of canceling the order would have been a lot - now, there's the cost of the plane itself and all of it's upkeep - maintenance, fuel, etc...

What the hell is it for anyway when so many people are struggling? If I'm teetering on being evicted from my apartment because I 'cant' pay my rent, I'm not going to go out and put a down payment on a new BMW.


Well, at least we know why the cuts were made so suddenly!

Oh, and that fluff piece with Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News? I seem to remember something about the company saving $400 million in "TRANSPORTATION and waste reduction."

Lies, lies, lies...


And how is the cost of cancellation any type of justification here? You spend $5 million to save $40 million, along with the upkeep and maintenance expenses to AliCat's point...


Dear Uncle Howie,

Can I please borrow the jet to get to work? I know its only 10 miles to my store but since you've got it...

I love the Marie Antoinette comparisons... Keep em coming:) Let them drink Chantico!

Wouldn't Starbucks corp. flip if one of their brilliant baristas organized a protest in response to this corporate greed- Corporate cuts store labor hours/closes stores to pay for extravagant toys : Baristas walk out in protest, costing the company untold customer transactions and customer loyalty... Possibly a modern day end to the Antoinette story.

If only it could be fueled with PPR . . .


...yet i'm reduced to less than 20 hrs a week? thanks howie...


Wow! I CANNOT believe this!

This company is BEYOND ridiculous! It lays off employees, raises prices, makes customers WAIT longer for service and then goes off and buys a jet.

Soooooo glad I don't go there anymore.


I find it hard to believe that the cancellation of the order had any thing to do with this purchase. Howard did not bat and eye at the cost of closing 618 stores and putting tens of thousands of people out of jobs.
I can only be thankful that I do not have to work for this arrogant, narcissistic individual and his minions.

I just hope Karma doesn't catch up to him at 30,000 feet.


Recall the deeds as if
They're all someone else's
Atrocious stories
Now you stand reborn before us all
So glad to see you well

And not to pull your halo down
Around your neck and tug
you to the ground
But I'm more than just a little curious
How you're planning to go about
Making your amends to the dead
To the dead

With your halo slipping down to choke you now

see you in hell uncle howie


...yet i'm reduced to less than 20 hrs a week? thanks howie...

Posted by: irish.lemon | January 08, 2009 at 11:59 AM

I couldn't agree more. I've seen my hours drop to four a week. FOUR. FOUR.

I'm desperately trying to find another job, but c'mon. four?

SBUX Alum Bill

I wonder if the SBUX labor reductions extended to the flight crew of the coporate jet? Maybe they had to cut back on some of those silly non-coverage tasks, like the pre-flight check, etc.


I hope Uncle Howie and his buddies enjoy flying on a jet when the Starbucks employees are struggling to make ends meet.


Sara: If you're not making enough money at Starbucks go get another job.


I'm not really too outrged by this.... It sounds worse than it is.

Thought of the Day

Maybe they needed the jet to fly to Vietnam to pick out those cheap ass beans they use in PPR!


There is no reason why Howard and Martin can't fly commercial. Even first class is cheaper than flying the corporate jet. Even when you add the cost of flying 10 people on the company jet during the rare times Howard lets that many on (trust me, he prefers to fly with just 1-2 favorite people. Most people traveling to where HS is going have to fly commercial because he will not let them on HIS jet), it is more expensive than 10 people flying first class.

Now add in the whole carbon footprint thing riding in the company jet leaves behind, and you have one expensive, polluting activity that couldn't be further away from the image Howard thinks Starbucks projects.





I really don't mind a successful company having a nice fleet of corporate planes. And yes, it might even make sense in some cases. But I really do not understand how a company can lay off people, close stores, tell customers they will have to wait a bit longer in line and have to live with a dirtier store because of issues with costs of doing business can buy a new plane.
Yes, the plane was ordered during the big, fat days. But no one reconsidered this decision. This is the fault of the leadership.
At the same time the decision to use shot glasses was reconsidered within months, just to save 5 sec of labor on the way.

They could have put the plane back in the market without ever using it. They might have lost a few bucks, but would have avoided a PR nightmare. But I guess nothing beats a ride in a new jet with that new jet smell still in.

Did anyone ever consider to just park the jet? All three of them? Until times get better to sell them or business is up enough to justify this kind of extravaganza? I guess the corporate jet is just necessary because there are no direct commercial flights between NYC and Seattle and a 100 Mio Dollar salary doesn't buy a daily commute to work either.

Didn't starbucks listen when the big three automakers had their jet nightmare? Someone at starbucks should have listened more carefully.


Christin, it is as bad as it sounds. You can not tell your baristas they have to save pennies, sacrifice a lot, some including their job for the good of the company and whatever else, complaining about the financial situation of the company and then turn around and buy and use a corporate jet (the third one!)
This is frivolous and is as bad as it sounds

Owning a jet is an asset which gets depreciated. Losing the deposit would have been a big negative on the balance sheet.


All Starbucks Gossip patrons: There is a word you need to be intimately familiar with when it comes to business or government spending: appropriations.

If the money was spent on this jet 3 years ago, before any us either saw or heard the troubles the company was going to get involved with, then NO ONE, not even Howard himself, should get lambasted NOW as if the two things, the recession and this jet purchase, happened in succession or at the same time.. They did not.

As far as the costs of canceling go, yeah, unfortunately, it would've cost more to settle breach-of-contract lawsuits with the airplane's manufacturer and, more than likely, the people who did the interior work (pimped the decor), etc.

So while you have to wonder why in BLAZES we're still footing the bill to fuel and man these money pits, the fact that they were delivered doesn't mean paid for.


At least the other members of the "Billionaire Boys Club" out at King County's Boeing Field buy and fly their privately owned personal jets.Howard please talk to Paul Allen and get with the program!

NEPA Barista


this is actually revolting


I was just reading the comments to the SeattleTimes article which are totally interesting. Some of the comments make it sound like have a fleet of jets is totally the norm for a big corporation, and that this purchase is no big deal. Who knew?

If this were my own finances, I would have sold my old car (jet) before deciding it was time to buy a new one. I think many of us would do the same.
@jerseygurl: Maybe someday if you come to Seattle, Starbucks will get you to work on the 'green line shuttle' or the 'blue line'. It's close enough to a jet ride isn't it? ;-) [/tongueincheek]

Howard Goaway

Starbucks is F**CKED. It's a shame that what was once a great company is being driven into the ground by these clowns. It was nice while it lasted...


you've got to be KIDDING me!


What starbucks did to its long tern corp employees is criminal. Replacing employees with non benefited contract labor is not only unethical, it may be illegal.

Anyone that cares about this issue can send a complaint to the IRS, and if enough of us do it, it will be investigated.


Here is the 20-factor test used by the IRS

To file a complaint, print out form SS-8 from the IRS site and send it in.

Here is the IRS's pamphlet on the topic:

Please remember, it is just not about those people tossed out like garbage in July and February. It is the fact that they have been replaced with non-benefited contract labor, and if you think it can’t happen to you, think again. Human Resources can be outsourced, customer service can be outsourced. Receptionists and Admin can be done cheaper by non-benefited contract labor.

If howard is going to post on Huff po about “corp ethics and responsibility”, hold him to his word, and ask that Starbucks act ethically.

Damian Karras

Somebody, please come out and be an apologist for Starbucks corporate culture now. I really need a good laugh. Seriously. I hope all of you out there who have been "sacrificing for the team" and "accepting that we have to make cuts to keep the company running and have jobs" are a little more awake to the real facts of what corporate culture is in this country.


Unbelievable! Melody - you are right! If it were my own finances I'd sell my old car first too (plus I never buy brand new cars anyway) And my issue with this is not that it's a "NEW" plane but that Starbucks already has "TWO" planes and they aren't even that old...so now they have THREE! Were the Stockholders told about this plane during either of the past TWO stockholder meetings? I don't remember hearing about it! I'm glad I stopped my stock purchase...I really have lost all faith in this company...and I'm really sad to even say that. When I joined Starbucks I really thought it was a different kind of company but they've proven to me that they aren't any different than any other company.

There is going to be a revolt in this country. Maybe not starting at Starbucks but as we continue to see business "leaders" make decisions like this...million dollar planes...million dollar bonuses...million dollar perks...all the while the front line workers work their butts off.



All I can picture is Uncle Howie singing "I'm leeee-avin' on a jet plane! Don't know when I'll be back again"


Do any of you really think that only Starbucks does this? This is business people, this is how you play when you're at the top. They are starting to become a big company, and as such they are realizing what they are, a fast food restaurant. We all knew it was comming, and for the higher- ups, I say it's about time.

Of course, there seems to be some sad faces around here. Why? This is what corporate is in America, did you think Howie would be there to clean your tears when the crying was done? This is a business and there is a profit to be had. I'm sad to see this happened latter than sooner, but soon with all the labor cuts and new business model to come, Starbucks will make it out alright.


Just because others do this doesn't make it right.


That's it. I might still work for Howie, but I am not longer buying ANYTHING from Starbucks. I will go out of my way to walk to Peets or Coffee Bean & Tea.

Screw u Mr. Schultz!!!!

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