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February 09, 2009

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STARBUCKS GOSSIP WEBMASTER

This move is the right thing to do for our customers. And we can do it while maintaining our high standards in sourcing, buying and roasting the finest coffee in the world. Starbucks success over the years has been in delivering a level of taste, quality and authenticity based on the coffee beans we start with and the experience created by our partners. The majority of our customers are coffee lovers and we need to trust them to find value and quality at Starbucks over and above fast food purveyors and other coffee companies.

At the same time, we will do more to tell our story. I talked to a Partner recently who was frustrated by the persistent misperceptions about our value. He was urging the company to be more aggressive in responding to the mythical claims about the $4 latte. With your help, that is exactly what we are going to do.

Did you know, for example, that ounce for ounce; our brewed coffee is competitively priced vs. others in most markets, and in some cases, is lower priced? And did you know that the average price customers paid for beverages for all of 2008 was under $3? We will be providing you more facts like these over the coming weeks, so you have the ammunition to dispel the myth -- with customers and friends, online and in conversation. We’ll also be adding new offers over time that combine everyday affordability with an emphasis on why Starbucks is a smart choice for customers – in tough times and in good times.

I look forward to sharing more with you about the value we bring to customers, and I thank you in advance for playing a critical role in telling the story.

Onward,

Howard

caretaker

Too late Howard for another brilliant idea! Which one of your inexperienced cronies came up with this foolish marketing idea! Howard! get out to the stores and watch customers just get their coffee and run. Did you know that our food comes from the dirtiest factories and our biscottis shoud be recalled everyday. Did you know that thousands of customers don't give a hoot about breakfast pairings anyway.

Karl Kenya

Do we even work for the same company this guy is talking about? Howard, you're not listening.

Good luck buddy.

Barista Ben

Yeah. On average our prices are comparable or cheaper. Not TOO often, but still, for people to be bagging on sbux because they have this misconception our prices are more expensive? Meh. Sure, you can get some pretty pricey drinks -- but go to any coffee shop that serves ice blended or (blank) 20 oz lattes and you'll always get this kind of pricing.

Flipper

Did you know that once for once a dolphin has more brain cells than senior leadership combined and that's when they're not stoned.

gh

To: All Partners
Date: February 9, 2009
Subject: Value and Everyday Affordability – The Starbucks Way

Partners,

During these tough times, customers need to know they’re making a wrong choice when they come to Starbucks. That they’re getting the world’s finest coffee, delicious food made with not quality ingredients, and an experience they can’t get everywhere else. But they also need to know we’re not listening to them, and that we’re helping them by making Starbucks an affordable, everyday value. We have taken no time to understand how Starbucks can deliver more value in a way that is both consistent with who we are, and relevant to the day-to-day realities cos
pnsumers are facing. It was time well wasted! We have tested concepts, conducted research, and most important, listened to our customers. I am very pleased to report that we have arrived at a value strategy that will appeal to customers with compromising our commitment to quality.

On March 3, we will introduce a selection of new pairings at $3.95. They combine our most popular beverages with our most popular breakfast items – and we’ve added a few new ones as well. Our pairings lead with our hand-crafted beverages. They offer our customers more affordability at breakfast time – not a free extra they wouldn’t have ordered anyway. And they come with the Starbucks Experience each and every

Chicargo Barrista

If you were listening to our customers, you would dump Pike Place Roast.

Karl Kenya

I challenge everyone to read the list of ingredients on their pastry boxes and list five "quality" ingredients.

The quality of the coffee varieties we still have left is very good. I won't argue with him there. But this notion of our food being "quality" or "healthier" or any of the adjectives thrown out by Howard over the last year is patently false, and I feel uncomfortable selling this crap to anyone.

mark

Howard, do yourself a favor......step down and let somebody with more experience drive the company thru this economic storm.

Not rebelling in Boston

Seriously, give it a rest, guys. I just finished making the schedule for next week and I can't afford to give my partners barely any hours. WHY? Well... because our sales are down.

In Boston (and I suppose in the rest of the country) we are throttled at by Dunkin' Donuts attack ads that make us seem distant and unapproachable; astronomically expensive and confusing.

How confusing is this? Tall Latte, Breakfast Sandwich: $3.95.

And poor Howard (ok, so I know he's not poor per sé). He's trying to do what's right--- so is everyone else in this company (except most of you SG partners, obviously) So cut him a break. What other companies have done such a 360º to position themselves in this economy? This shows that we're dedicated to our customers and our profitability- the only two things that will let us withstand this horrible operating environment.

Keep onward, Howard. "I'm in."

Herman Melville

Instead of being positive pollies this companies ad team needs to start hitting back at DD and McD's. I can think of a hundred ads that would be funny, product positive and take the same cheap shots that other companies are taking at us. It is called a competitive market for a reason.
We need to get in the fight, stay true to our roots and go back to the basics, and as always DUMP PIKE PLACE.

Denise

Dear Howard

I am not a partner. I am a customer. Are you aware of how unappetizing those dried out, stale breakfast sandwiches look in that cold case? And why are those still out at 6:30 in the evening when the cookie I want to buy is being packed up to be donated to the Boys and Girls club. The store is still open a couple more hours. Why can't I buy a cookie then?

And speaking of closing, my local Starbucks elected to close at 8:00 instead of 8:30. They're not getting enough business that left half hour I'm told. Well they were turning some of the lights out at 8:15. I'm sure people pulling up assumed the store was closed and didn't bother coming in. So now they close at 8. And the lights go out at 7:45. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot...

confused

Isn't it a tall latte and oatmeal...tall pikes (or morning pick) and breakfast sandwich?

I am not sure I may be confused....

Barista Lor

To be honest with you. Howard's food pairings is a smart idea.

Just look across the street at McDonalds. they have food combos called 'value meals'. He obviously created this new thing to promote the money saving strategy that McD's had been so successful with. If you think about how McD's stole starbucks customers when they introduced their cheap McCoffees, why shouldn't Howard do something of the same by using one of their strategies?

With this recession, every little bit helps (just like the starbucks rewards card) and many stores, including mine, have customers excited to pay just a bit less when purchasing something to eat along with their drinks.

but you guys shouldn't just go under fire for every little move Howard does just because you're following what other people are talking about. a majority of positive things go unnoticed such as customers having a good experience at starbucks, but when something negative or a customer has a bad experience, they are 2x more likely to preach about that bad experience. My comparison point is that we all need to look on the lighter side of things.

there's too much hate/pessimism going on in America. not the entire world, AMERICA. haha. like we really need to help out other nations when we should be the ones re-evaluating ourselves. which is what Howard & starbucks is doing.

~lor

Latteguzler

Have you ever seen more out of touch management in your life????? I mean this is begining to make the George W. Bush administration look better (not good, but better).

Coffee Soldier

Bring back the 1$ short that was tested months ago but never went nationwide....advertise it as a cost saving cup off coffee in these rough times. Or even do the tall as a buck...we need to do everything possible to bring customers into out store then great them with legendary service and hope they come back again and buy something else too!! Beat McDonalds as their own game...I wouldn't mind a dollar or 2 dollar menu...sell only short mochas or short camel machiattos to draw in the customers.

Barista Joe

Sorry, Howard... It's a great idea, and a step in the right direction, but you have to realize your view of the company vs. your customer's view of the company. If you want to restore Sbux to its former glory, you need to start listening to the demands of the customers, and educate THEM on the values of our company. Because right now, you're telling us to be these Coffee gurus for our customers, and our customers could give a flying crap about whether or not Pike Place is a medium or a bold; so long as it's black, they'll get a cup and leave.

Your store is becoming an overpriced McDonald's.

-J

Daniel

Why can't they just get back to the coffee?!?!?!?!? It's Starbucks COFFEE Company!! All this garbage that Howard has introduced is frustrating. It just seems like when they make some big announcement to help boost the company, the announcement turns out to be a letdown. I can't say it enough. Dump off Vivannos, scale back the Frappuccino line, and get back to the basics!! Dump Pike Place Roast and go back to bold/mild/decaf. Customers like variety!

You want to get customers back into the store?
1) Bring back Bold/Mild/Decaf.
2) Kill Pike Place, Vivanno, and scale back Frappuccino.
3) Get Mastrenas out to the stores quickly.
4) Get partner morale up!!!
5) You want to get economically stressed customers back into the stores? Scale back drink prices a little bit. You know how this can be accomplished?? Scale back pay for top executives. I mean, is it really necessary that Howie needs to have a >$1M salary?? Sell the dumb jets. They aren't necessary. Make the stores more energy efficient to save costs of utilities. Find cheaper suppliers! Starbucks uses Solo for paper products. Is there a more cost-efficient supplier? Also, teach SM/ASM/SS how to order to reduce wasted $$ on over-ordering.
Starbucks was at it's peak I believe from 2000-2005. It worked then. It can work now!

Daniel

Let me enumerate shortly on my numbered points.

1) This is obvious. It worked then and customers liked it. Why won't it work now??
2) I don't think Pikes is all that special, and I notice many customers agree! Vivannos are healthy. But are they really necessary?? We went without them for 30 years! Frappuccino....there are way to many varieties, and I'm sure many of them don't sell so hotly.
3) Starbucks is about the coffee! To deliver the best possible and most tasty beverages, is it not logical to use the best equipment? Think about it. A rough analogy. A chef in a 5-star restaurant wants to serve an attractive piece of prime rib. Does he cut that meat with an old, worn out, dull knife, or does he use a shiny, new, sharp and durable knife to deliver that perfect cut of meat? (I apologize for the rough analogy, it's the best I could come up with :-/ )
4) The partners are what makes this company tick! Think about it. Baristas are the front line in our store. They make the connections. They make the sales. Unhappy employees are less productive.
5) I think this point is simple economics/common business sense/good business practices. Find out what DOESN'T WORK. Find out what wastes $$. Make cuts to those things!

JD

Now all we need are picture menus with numbers! It's the dawning of a new age! Hazzah!

fed_up_with_babies

good lord, if you hate the company so much quit. I have been a manager for just over a year and I have seen a lot of changes. Most of the changes I have seen have been in the partners. well poor you, sorry you cant stand around and collect hours anymore. Its time to sing for your supper and work for a living. Pairings is a great idea, and people are working hard to make sure that YOU still have a job even though mant SBUX partners dont anymore. Welcome to the real world

FmrSBUXMgr

So glad I left this company two years ago when I did. I was a manager for 3 years, worked my way up, would sacrifice as much as possible for my partners, was a Classroom Facilitator, etc. etc. I loved the company.

I was a fool. To blindly believe that "staying true to our Guiding Principles" was the reason and guarantee for unlimited growth and success. We all thought it would never end. Now, when tough times hit, we see what a company has to do to survive.

SBUX, you liked to pretend you were "better" than those other companies ethically. You claimed moral superiority (though you would NEVER say that outright). You took so much pride in how much you took care of your partners while tsk-tsking at those other companies who sacrificed their "principles" for the sake of the almighty dollar.

Well, the chips are down now. You're in the gutter like everyone else, scrambling to abandon your principles to avoid going under completely.

Howard, remember how you said you would NEVER do a Value Meal? How it would cheapen the brand? I believed you. Just like I believed when you came back you really meant what you were saying about getting Back to Basics.

I lost a lot of money when the stock tanked. My own fault for drinking the Kool-Aid.

Oh well. At least I have a job I like about 1000% better now. I just feel bad for others who, like me, believed the hype.

Darleen

This is where the times have taken Starbucks. Seems to me giving customers a beverage and pastry for 3.95 isn't too terrible an idea. I know how you feel about the picture menu though. Don't let it come to that....

SPORK

Just give me more labour for the Frappucino season and don't short us like when Vivannos were rolled out.

Coffeehouse Revolutionary

Hmmmm... the phrase "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" comes to mind...

who knows?

Which side of the mouth are we talking out of this week? Months ago it was pull all breakfast because it distracted from the coffee. Who is throwing the darts at these silver bullet? Please take your mask off Howie.

Asher

I don't know how I feel about this idea. I don't think it's anything terribly difficult to implement or understand. It's pretty cut and dry (which negates conversation around the Just Say Yes philosophy) and the new sandwiches at least sound enticing.

What I will say is that if it helps our sales, if it brings customers back into our stores, if it encourages our current customers to buy more, if it helps save partners from being laid off, if it helps prevent more stores from being closed, then whether I believe in it or not I'm going to work the hell out of it. I may not have any faith in our executive leadership, but I'll sure do whatever I have to do to make sure none of us who are left lose our jobs...

Jazzkevin

Just a question. If I order a Tall drip coffee with whatever it is paired with, can I still get free refills with my registered card?

Killer Kona

To not rebelling in Boston:
What store do you manage, and can I get a transfer??? (Just kidding)
But anyway, I do think the pairings will bring some more profit to the company. Times are tough, and we desperately need to stay competitive. I see more and more five dollar latte people just having tea or brewed now, average ticket must be in the crapper at my store. Unfortunately we will have the customer that will try to take advantage and want substitutions. It is just inevitable. I think that a price reduction when you order food AND a beverage would be easier for the barista on the front line, but hey I'm not the one collecting the million dollar paychecks. I am just the person who waits on who pays that million dollar paycheck...THE CUSTOMER!!!

Yippee

Ironically, the S&P lowered our credit rating today to a level barely above junk. It's coincidence of course, but still fits perfectly with the Ozone Patrol's plans to turn us into a fast food restaurant (that isn't FAST!). Our customers want speed and they're willing to pay for quality as long as we are passionate. The value meal strategy will further erode partner enthusiasm, slow down service times (do you think they'll give us a food partner?!), and then we will distribute bad food to our customers. Please Howard, plug back in ... we want to be the greatest coffee shop in the world, not one of the slowest fast food chains in the world.

Melody

@who knows - about a year ago at one of the quarterly conference calls Howard answered one of the investor questions with the strongly toned words that Starbucks would never go the route of bundling. I guess a lot changes in a year.

Nancy B

Breakfast sandwiches not a bad idea...thats not what attracted our customers in the first place. Our desire and drive to be the third place is gone! We do nothing to keep our customers anymore! Mickey D's has more of a connection then Sbux does and they will perfect their drive to become the 3rd place!

Uninpressed

I don't really care one way or the other about a value meal. Whether it's a good idea or not, it won't be implimented correctly. For the last three years every new idea or new direction has been a disaster. Why will this be any different. It's not about the idea, it's about bad managment. Starbucks will screw this one up too.

Col

Howard's email today to partners [with comments added in by yours truly]

To: All Partners
Date: February 9, 2009
Subject: Value and Everyday Affordability – The Starbucks Way

Partners,

During these tough times, customers need to know they’re making a smart choice when they come to Starbucks. [customers have complained welfare checks only stretch so far...] That they’re getting the world’s finest coffee, delicious food made with quality ingredients, and an experience they can’t get anywhere else. But they also need to know we’re listening to them, and that we’re helping them by making Starbucks an affordable, everyday value ["everyday value"??? Am I at McDicks?]. We have taken some time to understand how Starbucks can deliver more value in a way that is both consistent with who we are, and relevant to the day-to-day realities consumers are facing [aka we know you unemployed suckers have as much money as a hobo, but we still want it]. It was time well spent [aka we have good catering during our long meetings]. We have tested concepts, conducted research, and most important, listened to our customers. I am very pleased to report that we have arrived at a value strategy that will appeal to customers without compromising our commitment to quality. [righto, because every company just dreams of making less profit while having to deal with more customers]

On March 3, we will introduce a selection of new pairings at $3.95 [On March 3 I will destroy everything our brand stands for]. They combine our most popular beverages with our most popular breakfast items – and we’ve added a few new ones as well. Our pairings lead with our hand-crafted beverages [made on our fully automatic espresso machines that a monkey could operate]. They offer our customers more affordability at breakfast time – not a free extra they wouldn’t have ordered anyway [that's right - no free extras. Yet. Those come next month...]. And they come with the Starbucks Experience each and every day [whatever the hell that means anymore].

This move is the right thing to do for our customers [have I repeated that enough yet? maybe just a few more times]. And we can do it while maintaining our high standards in sourcing, buying and roasting the finest coffee in the world [if I mention quality enough they'll believe. if i mention quality enough...]. Starbucks success over the years has been in delivering a level of taste, quality and authenticity based on the coffee beans we start with and the experience created by our partners [note the use of the past tense in that sentence]. The majority of our customers are coffee lovers and we need to trust them to find value and quality at Starbucks over and above fast food purveyors and other coffee companies [if that's frigging true then why are they abandoning you for DUNKING DONUTS and MCDICKS??? Gah!]

At the same time, we will do more to tell our story [aka we'll have our PR-shit-maker on overdrive because talk is cheap]. I talked to a Partner recently who was frustrated by the persistent misperceptions about our value [I talked to a partner recently who is afraid for his job]. He was urging the company to be more aggressive in responding to the mythical claims about the $4 latte [and since I have no better ideas I'm taking advice on running a multi-billion dollar company from a barista]. With your help, that is exactly what we are going to do [if you also have any ideas please let me know cuz I sure don't].

Did you know, for example, that ounce for ounce; our brewed coffee is competitively priced vs. others in most markets, and in some cases, is lower priced? And did you know that the average price customers paid for beverages for all of 2008 was under $3? We will be providing you more facts like these over the coming weeks, so you have the ammunition to dispel the myth -- with customers and friends, online and in conversation. We’ll also be adding new offers over time that combine everyday affordability with an emphasis on why Starbucks is a smart choice for customers – in tough times and in good times. [and if all else fails we'll just repaint the stores yellow and orange, and add a 'Mc" to our name]

I look forward to sharing more with you about the value we bring to customers, and I thank you in advance for playing a critical role in telling the story. [talk the talk or you'll be fuckin' out of a job].

Onward, [my jet is ready. suckers!]

Howard

spence

First, I sure do miss the old days. Second, I'm sure Howard does too.
Lastly, At a time when many major corporations are going under, I'll do whatever my part is to keep Starbucks in the black.
I, too, have seen the Venti Mocha customers switch to brewed and the twice a day customers drop to twice a week. If we can provide a way for our customers to return or keep coming, I'm in.

Anonymous

I can tell you Howard LOST the breakfast war already and is ten years too late. The reason? Starbucks Coffee ignored Bruegger's Bagels as a threat almost a decade ago and said they were not in the business of doing breakfast meals.

Look what happened. Who's the biggest a$$ of them all now?

For all that, I can go to Bruegger's Bagels for better value and it originated in Vermont. I can even go to a better place locally that offers a much better and healthier alternative to Bruegger's which is right down the street from me and blows everything what Howie's trying to do to dust.

What a schlock.

Cut out the Heart

Well, if Howard were a politician, he would be known as the biggest waffler in history. One day he says one thing with the conviction of a preacher and then the next day he says the exact opposite but does so because it is the "right thing to do". Howard has to put someone in charge of this company that has some business sense and not just a guy that wants to show off to the media. Right now, Howard is closer to being a Col. Sanders like icon for the company...do the PR road trips Howard and let others to run the daily operations.

Herman Melville

This will be another case of "I'm sorry there is a shortage of reduced fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake, I'd offer you the other pairing but guess what there is a shortage of that too, would you like a decaf, oh, wait, it is after noon so do you have about four minutes to wait."

Barista Lor

$1 short drinks would be a really cool idea like what Coffee Soldier said above. i mean, they'd still have a shot of espresso and they've be samples of the larger drinks! which is appealing to the younger kids.. and now they can be even more caffeinated! haha :D

~lor

Argentius

It feels like they've always just done the "throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks" approach, but now, stuff isn't sticking, and they just keep throwing and throwing and throwing.

Breakfast sandwiches stunk, literally and metaphorically, and in the days when I was a partner I was quite happy to find that the Big H was back, that the nasty things were going away, pull 'em from the case, tomorrow!

Actually, put them back, we'll keep them until September, when something better will come along.

You know, now that you mention it, let's keep the breakfast sandwiches, and just replace two english-muffin ones for two flatbread ones.

Um, while we're on the subject, let's bring one of those replaced ones back.

And let's do meal deals.

Never, never, never, you said? Oh, wait. That was what we said about coupons, too, wasn't it?

Is this premium or is it discount?

Is it premiere or average?

Is it specialty coffee or is it fast food?

Where does it end?

See McDonald's and Starbucks in Europe. They're nearly the same establishments, with McDonald's focusing a bit more on hot sandwiches and Starbucks a bit more on cold ones, McDonald's more on fries and Starbucks on muffins, but both sell essentially the same stuff.

Jim C

"Starbucks loses third top exec since Schultz took the helm

Starbucks executive Gerry Lopez, who heads the group selling coffee and other products in grocery stores and runs its food service and Seattle's Best Coffee chain of 550 shops, will resign Feb. 20."

Gerardo (Gerry) Lopez, President of Starbucks CPG "resigned" today, saving the company another 1.6 million dollars! Yes, they were paying this buffoon 1.6 million dollars because, well, I don't want to play the race card. His background was NEVER suited to run CPG (he came from a company that made pre-recorded music for Wal-Mart - No, it wasn't Play Music). Starbucks is always under extreme pressure for having NO high-ranking African-americans, Hispanics, etc. Gerry lopez was out of his depth, and now they have promoted another young white-boy John Culver, who is also going to flame out.

Who is next? We can only hope it is Howard himself. But, then Michelle Gass will become the next CEO.

Watch and learn.

short hazelnut latte

is it only for tall wat if they want a venti you better put a button for that or we will have isues

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

I'm sure Michelle "Fat Ass" Gass is glad now she can save more money and therefore eat more breakfast sandwiches.
And why in the world would Howard SCHULTZ introduce a HAM sandwich. I mean its not like he can eat it or anything. I don't even eat HAM.

iced venti all water one pump chai

if you want to save money
1. quit pouring 2 shots regardless of size
2. charge customers for double cupping and sleeves. (you are ordering hot coffee, deal with it)
3. charge people for cups of water
4. use reusable plastic containers for the pastry deliveries instead of all that waste.
5. quit printing crap on the sleeves. no one cares and it costs a lot too!

jeff

Wow! McStarbucks ! They are not listening to their customers, they are running scared. Final steps before complete failure. The breakfast food is six months old before it hits the stores. Howard needs to go.

Annoyed

Dear Howard,

Tomorrow morning I will be going to Panera for both coffee and for a morning bite to eat. Why, you ask? Because I am tired of finding that the manager of my usual Starbucks is so hell bent on ensuring that they have NO WASTE that the baristas have been told not to refill AM pastries. A month or so ago, the cranberry orange muffin was discontinued. Next, I can't find a cranberry orange scone anymore. I settled on the blueberry muffin--every morning when I come in (and I come in nearly every day) the muffins are either completely out and they "can get one from the freezer," or there is one or two that I am warned "are still frozen in the middle." I was told one day that I "should call ahead and we can hold one for you." Really? You think I am going to call you to hold a muffin for me? Really, you expect me to call for that? How about this, how about you erase the message written in grease pen that says "Do not refill AM pastries" that any customer who is not legally blind can read it and replace AM pastries so that your regular customers don't come to this website to complain about it. Clearly someone in Seattle has given this manager the impression that ensuring that the 1.75 muffin he MIGHT end up tossing is more important than the muffin I would have bought AND the cup of coffee I would have bought. You lost sales when I decided that no, I am not going to buy something else anymore and now you lose my coffee purchase as well. Wake up! My Starbucks is quickly going downhill and I will take my paltry purchase elsewhere for a while. If things don't change, it will be more permanent.

German Barista

I am a partner from Germany and we're testing the breakfast combo since January. Well here it is: Tall Vanilla Latte & Muffin (the customers can take any muffin) for 4,50€ (which is like 5,5$) OR Tall Brewed Coffee & Muffin for 3,5€ (=4,5$).

NOT ONE customer complained in my store(one of the busiest in Germany) about limitation to TALL and vanilla or that the combo is only with a muffin and not a sandwich or brownie...

Mysticboi

Herman Melville - "This will be another case of "I'm sorry there is a shortage of reduced fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake, I'd offer you the other pairing but guess what there is a shortage of that too, would you like a decaf, oh, wait, it is after noon so do you have about four minutes to wait.""


LOL thats sooo funny cuz I can actually see that happening. That made my day.

Ryan (SS)

The Starbucks in Germany is technically franchised out to local companies in the country of origin, perhaps this special offer is subject only in Germany? (By the way, which store are you in? I've only been to the ones in Munich...). Either way, Starbucks North America will probably base our system on the existing ones in Europe...

buckaroo

I am not sure what to think about all this.. My immediate reaction is to groan and whine, but I want to be sure before I do that that I am not just having a knee-jerk negative reaction to every new development, like some people around here do.. Maybe I am one of those people, I don't know. On one level, sure it seems to be the intelligent thing to adjust your practices to work in a new and crappy economic environment... Rigidly refusing to adjust anything, well that too seems to be a poor choice. So perhaps the thing that bugs me so much in all of this is sort of the feeling of backpedalling and betrayal.. Because Starbucks preached forever about being UNCOMPROMISING, as well as making it a point to brand themselves as somewhat of a luxury item, and it was so built into their company-wide mentality, and now, what are we doing? We are compromising all over the freaking place like it's going out of style. Perhaps they should not have worked so hard to set up that image of being uncompromising back when times were good, and then we wouldn't all feel so much like the company was going back on its word. Thoughts?

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