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August 19, 2010

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Georgia Latte

Becareful if anyone does this. It would be grounds for termination. (talking to the press about anything is... remember that).

Despite what a few groaners say, keep in mind that 99% of the stores do the right thing. Unfortunately about 90% of this blog is people from the 1% of stores that don't do the right thing. This should be an interesting thread.

Presto!

Sure, but most baristas don't even know this site exists. I know a lot of the people at the stores in my district, and most of them have similar complaints about how obnoxious corporate is in their sales expectations on an instant coffee being sold in the biggest coffee chain in the country with competition from major grocers as well. If I were to talk to a reporter that would be my main point: That the VIA goals have gone up, and that Starbucks has started to sell it in grocery stores as well. It's not fair - it's even less fair when they put out the first commericals in company history and tell people to go buy it in grocery stores, not to visit their local starbucks.

abaristagetshiswings

True Presto! Not to mention the price that costco is charging! SOOO much chepaer there.

maturity...pass it on...

You're right, it's really NOT fair of a BUSINESS trying to gain MARKET share with their product by leveraging any and all mediums and retail space (with strategic price points based on customer demographic research). Boo-hoo.

Seriously, grow up people. I promise you that when you leave and go work somewhere else there will be things you are asked to do that you might not personally think is the best route, but your own cynicism can be your worst enemy.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

This is all very interesting. Let's just say I have done everything and I mean everything to get customers to buy Via. Well, I haven't sold my mom, yet.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

And no honey, that isn't whip cream on my mouth, thats me selling Via.

Seriously?

Rebel, sometimes I think you are bipolar

Melody

I think this kind of story has been done before. As I recal, Susan Berfield of Business Week wrote a similiar kind of story, and spoke with partners, who were all "anonymous" in her article.

And I think Georgia Latte is right - Because this is professional media, and asking for opinion on company strategy, I think baristas probably are supposed to get the okay from PR before talking to Reuters. I've actually contacted PR a couple of times about talking to baristas and it seems they're less concerned with baristas talking to non-professional media on innocuous topics like coffee education, coffee tastings and pairings (which is what my subject matter is) but once you get into the realm of any company strategy, policy, or critical opinion, seems like PR would want to be notified first.

spence

Before you rush off and call anyone, please remember that we want our stock to go up.

503Barista

Agreed Melody, though we get angry at some of the strategies, without Sbux, we wouldn't have a job.

503Barista

I meant that for spence.

Jim  Romenesko

>> seems like PR would want to be notified first.

"Hello, PR? Say, do you mind if I talk to a reporter about how Starbucks fraudulently inflates sales of VIA, and how Starbucks execs are trying to inflate the stock price by giving analysts bogus numbers about VIA sales?

"Oh, you'd rather I not? OK."

BAYAREABUX

hope this reporter gets some good interviews. via is a big flop. georgia latte is wrong. cheating is flagrant, and encouraged.

out of all the reasons that would cause baristas to lose faith in the company, i would put via at the top.

Via Tired Shift

And the incidious way that efforts to boost sales of Via has impacted every part of the SBUX "experiance". It has become one of the biggest drivers of low morale at the store level as partners wish for a sales strategy using less strong arming of the customers.....like used car salespeople are allowed to use.

Melody

@WebmasterJim - LOL! That was a priceless reply to me.

Anon

One of the problems is is that the tactics used to sell Via go against the principles that "built" Starbucks to where it is (even as a shareholder it should worry you when the company craps on its own principles and foundations).

That was quick...

Here it is... she posted it already.

Sales strength of Starbucks' Via coffee questioned

(former) FLA SM

"Despite what a few groaners say, keep in mind that 99% of the stores do the right thing. Unfortunately about 90% of this blog is people from the 1% of stores that don't do the right thing. This should be an interesting thread."

Can you show evidence of your statistics, or are you just pulling them out of your bum?

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

I think when store managers realized that they could be fired for not meaning Via goals they became desperate and threw business ethics out the window. I know that we were basically pumping Via down people's throats.

is it so hard to be civil

I know of cheating at my store and others near by. Our SM has been a big part of the fudging of numbers to save their ass.

Cream Cheese, Please

The three things that Starbucks corporate is most afraid of: lawsuits, unionization and baristas talking to the press.

name is required

1. Strong arm tactics came from DMs and RDO's, not corporate. Our DM, while definitely keeping it a topic never strong armed or threatened. At least seven managers in our market did not make VIA goals and amazingly enough, still with the company. This "managers could and will be fired for not meeting goals" is not a corporate decision but isolated upper management who don't have a clue how to lead.

2. How many of you doofuses who would talk shit to a reporter have stock? Have you considered that your uninformed assumptions, when communicated to the press could lower your stock value?

Seriously, if you don't like the company just leave. Some of us do just fine here and while we aren't thrilled with some of the choices and directions the company has went lately, this is still a hell of alot better place to work than many, many others. I really like having domestic partner benefits, stock and discounts. Stop screwing with my livelihood and grow up.

A Non eMoose

Personally I don't give a crap if some anonymous baristas contact this reporter and give her the details on the shady and unethical practices encouraged by upper management to push Via. If Sbux corporate is so worried about negativity like this affecting their stock prices then maybe they should have come up with a better way to get Via out there except passing constant "You are responsible for x$ of Via or you're fired" threats down the line all the way to baristas heads. If there is somehow some fallout big enough from this that it negatively impacts my job then so be it; it wasn't obviously a job worth working for if that comes to pass.

Herman M.

Come now, Cream Cheese, employees not talking to the press is hardly a Starbucks thing. Heck, after being dumped with the rest of the techs earlier in the year I landed a job that, while infinitely more fulfilling, is also infinitely more serious about the no conversations with the media thing.

Definitely a challenge as I got to know most of the reporters locally pretty well during my tenure at the Bux. Now they see me enjoying a cup and reading the interwebs and invariably ask "Hey, aren't you working at..." Awkward as I enjoy conversing with (most) of them.

baristamclane

I received a threat of corrective action nearly every day since the launch of VIA, if I did not sell a 12-pack by the end of my shift. And yet, I still have a paycheck, and have since received two pay raises. Ironically, I sold more VIA to customers when I wasn't grabbing them by the jaw and forcing samples down their throats...go figure!

name

@ (fired) fla sm
Why are all your post so bitter?

Sbux DM

I can't speak for the rest of you, but Via (iced and hot) is flying off the shelf in my stores. My stores encouraged to use sampling and the company-issued coupons to sell Via and NOT to make special bargains with the customers to get them to make a purchase. The majority of my stores are 200% over their company-issued sales goal, and they customers coming in every day telling them how much they love Via. Sorry skeptics, but this stuff really does sell, and it sells incredibly well!

A Non eMoose

Hey guys, my one particular case goes against what you claim. That makes you wrong! Haha!

name is required

A Non EMoose, you do realize what a market is? Thats more than one DM, that's more than one particulr case. In fact, between the LJ group and here, there have been more "no firings here" than there have been whines about being threatened with dismissal.

Sbux DM you sound like you are from the Ohio area, VIA is red hot here. I bet you have your own cheer for your stores doncha ;)

A Non eMoose

Well as long as no one claims to have been fired yet for not selling Via, that makes it OK for the large number of baristas, shifts, and SMs who all affirm to having their jobs threatened anyway. I mean, it's fine to constantly be threatened with termination as long as they don't do it. We're all just worthless petty drones after all, not actual human beings, and certainly not "partners".

Erik

@A Non e Moose: your comment is spot on! LMFAO

mrso

I find it disheartening that so many posters are saying that cheating is encouraged by upper management. Sure, there are the managers or shifts who tried to sneak this over on our upper management to get their initial VIA numbers up, but they were promptly given the "Congratulations, you're now a customer, not a barista" talk. We are struggling just as much as anyone with this product in our area, but our upper management has NEVER encouraged cheating, number fudging, or underhanded tactics to sell. My store is in a busy shopping mall with a low drip-coffee customer base; hard to sell instant coffee to people who are only there for blended drinks or iced tea. We've sampled, held seminars on the product, made gift baskets, encouraged retailers in our mall to buy it for meetings, cross-marketed in retail stores in the mall during their own events, had "VIA Blitz" weekends, sampled and offered VIA until are throats are raw...Any SM's or DM's who are encouraging other means of sales should be fired. period.

Nat Sanit

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Denise

I buy VIA twice a month. My husband likes it. And though I'm at a Starbucks at least twice a week, I buy the VIA at the Commissary at the Air Force base where it is significantly cheaper.

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