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April 01, 2011

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tribute to who?

When does tribute blend stop?

It's really great that the baristas are seemingly behind this particular product push, but I'm so tired of being asked how many pounds (!!!) I want to buy every time I go in the stores. :(

me

Yup, can't wait until I can stop pressuring you into buying that coffee...and, instead, pressure you into buying product y. It'll never end.

tribute to who?

What's funny is that today, in the morning, I ordered a drip coffee and the lady there asked me if I wanted to purchase three pounds. It was a sort-of sales pitch in that she asked if I liked it, and I said yes, it was fine.

Her pitch wasn't "Hey, how about one pound" as in just a bag, but multiple bags.

Seems weird.

...

we have been sold out of tribute for a while now. people bought it all within the first two weeks or so. i wish we could get more so if any of you guys want to transfer it to my store, let me know! i will sell it for you!!

Dave

Tribute seems not to be being pushed at my store. I mean, there was a sampling event in which it was offered but other than that...

I do have a question though. I was talking to a barista today and he commented as to how he has been avoiding being out front, that hes been in the back for most of his shift. What exactly is there to do in back? :o

DeCafinHater

I was the shift this morning, and my only prank was on a coworker who came in just moments after me. I already had my apron on, and the other barista standing at the ready. Opened the door, and asked her, had she not gotten the memo? We were now opening a half hour earlier, and she was late. It took her a minute to realize; might sound kinda lame, but it gave me a good little giggle at five o'clock in the morning.

Beenthrualotof this

Not this year, but 2 yrs ago, a barista came in at closing the night before and filled the whipped creams we were going to use in the morning with different colored food coloring, needless to say the sm opened and during rush discovered all the whipped cream... it was amazing...then to get that barista back she(sm) made up a fake corrective action paper and went thru the whole thing...she(barista)wasted company product for no reason,wasted partner time because they had to wash and remake them, made her sign it, then on the last page it said in huge black sharpie...APRIL FOOLS.... it was wonderful.....

Waltie

"I was talking to a barista today and he commented as to how he has been avoiding being out front, that hes been in the back for most of his shift. What exactly is there to do in back? :o"

Avoid working.

As for April Fools Pranks, I know people on this site already think I'm an uptight jerk, but I think they are lame. You play pranks on your friends, not on your coworkers. Don't add work for the other people who have to open just because you think you're funny. If somebody colored my whipped creams, I'd be annoyed. It's not funny, it's a waste of time, and a waste of product because they would have to be dumped because you can't serve that to customers. You don't know who's allergic to what, so you can't use outside products in our food items.

That's my opinion on April Fools Day.

Doppio ConKarma

"avoid working"

While thats likely the case, they could have been working on an inventory count, have been putting away the roasting plant order, deep cleaning stuff......but yeah they were likely avoiding work.

otterinthewater

Best April Fool's prank ever was setting all the timers to go off fifteen or so minutes after the openers arrived on April Fool's and then hiding them in multiple hard-to-reach locations.

Waltie

See, that's funny for you, obnoxious for the people who have to track down the beeping timers when they are trying to get their jobs done. Opening is already hard enough without unfunny "comedians" making the job even worse.

frapatte

See Waltie, that's obnoxious to you, but others find it funny. I'm guessing people who work together can ascertain whether or not their coworkers would appreciate a little giggle prank.

P

Food coloring allergies? With all of the other stuff that could go wrong with food handling on a day to day basis, I think a little Blue number 2 is pretty is hardly worth worrying about. Waltie, your allergy reason is critically weak.

Rawr

Actually, I'm allergic to Red #40, and if I had ingested any whipped cream with it, would have broken out in hives. I can't even touch the raspberry syrup. I have friends who are allergic to yellow dye as well. So Waltie is right. You never know what someone is allergic to.

javagirl666

Not to mention how long the food colouring had been in that partners pantry.

sb

The best joke I ever saw was on customers. We are in the south so people follow requests without question. The shift people hung a sign that read, "please walk left of the display." But they posted an arrow which pointed to the right.
Customers walked in the store with a display in the middle which forced them to go one way or the other and they didn't know what to do. They just stood there and looked at it waiting for for to to direct them.

Ant Li

As a Starbucks customer I have to admire the lively writing of the posters here. What a lot of intelligence and energy devoted to serving up coffee according to some bureaucratic blueprint that tries to make a human activity mechanically efficient because it involves so many sales. Perhaps many forget that serving people with food and drink and their consumption of it has a lot to do with it which should be inefficient, ie talk, attention to other people as people, thinking, gazing appreciatively at beauty, jokes, bonding, relaxing, etc etc
What a shame that Starbucks like so many corporations in food and even other "hospitality" markets can't address this in its anxiety to make a profit in an intensely competitive corner cutting field. At least it lets customers linger with the their laptops, though.

By the way is anybody there aware that Starbucks espresso is not the equal of any pit stop in Naples, which invented it? Nor is the capuccino. The eternal mystery is, why not? Has Howard ever been to Europe?

P

Oh sweet Rawr, there's absolutely no way I can falsify that statement (reasonably). Yours is an easy point to make because of this.

WPGBRSTA

"Has Howard ever been to Europe?" - Ant Li

If you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one battle and lose one. You may believe in yourself to know Howard, but sir, you do not. He has been to Europe and that is where his love of espresso came from. He is trying to achieve that goal that Naples has had for decades. WE, partners making espresso, espresso con panna and cappuccinos, are TRYING to make our company as good as what he tasted and experienced.

My sincere apologies for not reaching such a goal yet, kind sir.

Beenthrualotof this

Do not appolize to this person, if they want the full italian experience, go to Itlay, enjoy their coffee, then dissect it, much like u do ours, we are only giving people what they want, and much of that time is giving them the 10 shots they want in their white chocolate mocha... We are adapting to what America wants... strong,sweet, something that resembles coffee.....

baristamclane

I love a good prank! I've heard some great stories about the closers filling the safe with espresso beans or hiding prep in the front fridges, ect. However, that was also four years ago when we were more...frivolous with product and labor.

I worked with a Supervisor who was well known in our district for pulling pranks on the openers, BUT he would only do so if he had set them up with a good close and knew that the following morning was forecasted to be slow. Even then, it was usually something harmless like a scavenger hunt to find the openers' till tags or a series of timers.

On my last night at my first store, I had plotted to cover the front windows with post-its, and I had even made the trip to Staples for supplies. I don't remember why I didn't do it, I want to say that I got distracted by something else and completely forgot about it.

Time To GO!

Not only has my life become exceedingly more enjoyable since leaving Starbucks, the comments on this site make me laugh all the time. The things employees care about are hysterical. For instance, to be annoyed that someone put food coloring in your whipped cream? Who cares? That's the thing I remember most about my time as an ASM, is that nothing was ever enjoyed or funny. No one ever took the time to laugh, to share a kind word. It's not a job, it's a cult and a sad one at that. And, for the DMs and SMs who think they have the best, most powerful jobs in the world, the truth always comes out.

Waltie

"For instance, to be annoyed that someone put food coloring in your whipped cream? Who cares? "

Because it's a waste a product, a waste of time, and a waste of effort. Oh, and it's not funny. Maybe nobody at your store was laughing because your jokes weren't funny. People at my store have fun because I'm fun, without resorting to dumb, obnoxious pranks that waste the company's time, products, and just provide more work that other people have to do, just to satisfy my own selfish ideas on what is funny.

anonymous

Our closing partners put the garbage cans on the ceiling with double sided tape velcro. i was opening and hadn't been feeling well. Even though i got there late, one was still up, I laughed so hard.

I <3 music

Waltie.....enjoying life with a small joke is never a waste. Laugh with someone once in awhile you'll live longer.

Waltie

Nobody who has ever met me has mistaken me for a man lacking a sense of humor. When I'm working, people are having fun and laughing because I'm funny, clever, and hardworking. I make jokes at work that are appropriate for the workplace, however. If you have to resort to dumb pranks to get a laugh, you're maybe not that fun.

But, anyway, it's unprofessional and lacks respect for your coworkers. Play pranks at home, not at work.

Waltie

This is a pointless debate, of course, since the people who love to play pranks will never understand why other people don't find them funny (in fact, they often point out the disparity of opinion as some kind of personal defect possessed by the other person), nor will somebody who hates pranks ever cease to find them annoying.

I'm not saying somebody shouldn't play pranks. I'm simply saying you shouldn't play pranks at work that lead to more work for other people, unless you are going to be there to help clean up afterwards.

P

Waltie takes his job of serving coffee way.too.serious.period. Get over yourself. There is no way that Starbucks will ever be as important as you act like it is. Ever.

coco

Oh, the ones that play the pranks are probably the ones that always seem to do nothing while others are doing double time to make up for what they arn't doing....we have tons of fun at our store without pranks......the last thing we want to do is create more work or stress!!!!

Waltie

"Waltie takes his job of serving coffee way.too.serious.period. Get over yourself. There is no way that Starbucks will ever be as important as you act like it is. Ever. "

Hardly, and you mistake my meaning. I wasn't implying that our work is so important that it must be free from distraction or humor, but that our work requires duties that need not be doubled by those who think adding upon our labors is a fun jest. I'm saying nothing about the corporation, but instead saying simply: don't make more work for me, because I have enough to do each day already.

April Fool's Day is the dumbest thing ever. I think its very creation was a prank that has yet to be resolved for good.

Coffee Soldier

I guess the pranksters are going to have to agree to disagree with Waltie...I'm with ya Waltie...joking is fun to an extent but sometimes a prank is a waste of time especially if it derails you from what you are supposed to be doing at work which is work!!!

Anyone been to any of the tour stops yet? I found it inspirational, fun, and great to meet Howard!

Yup

For our April Fools Day prank, I set an Ipod up on epeat to only play the two worst songs that always seen to be in fricken rotation... Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait" Theme from Dawsons Creek, and Shelby Lynn "Gotta Get Back"... from 7:30 to 4:30... non-stop.

Melody

@Yup - Perhaps for next year's April Fools Day you can set up your store's music system to somehow play all of Kenny G's CD "Duotones" especially playing "Songbird" over and over again! :-P
@CoffeeSoldier - Did you get to ask the big H any questions! I think you should tell us more.

wdp

That Shelby Lynne song IS awful! I'm glad I wasn't working your store that day, Yup. Lol.

I.Heart.Spirit

Mocha Coconut frappuccino and three region blend. Hooray for coconut being back! (for us non Hawaiians). Pretty stoked about Frappy Hour returning for a 'ten day' visit.

Black Apron Boy

I'm so pissed. I've been with the company for 4 years now. I called my manager to have her approve a shift trade to help a partner needing hours. She denied it because she feels like people are switching too often. I feel that if you are still working most of your hours and the other barista is certified, there should be no question. Any thoughts? She also asks for partner numbers to ensure they know what they are doing. No 174..... for her.

Coffee Soldier

@Melody...I won't reveal my role or questions in the tour stop I attended, as a very small few got the meet and greet, and it is highly looked down upon to write on this site in my area even though I enjoy it! Don't want to be identified!

I will tell you at the general assembly of all the store managers there was much talk and questions regarding the GMC partnership and new Sbux exclusive Keurig coming in the Fall, much praise from partners who had utilized the CUP fund, questions regarding beer and wine, overall a very good buzz. Howard actually said feel free to ask questions that could be considered negative...it doesn't all have to be positive!

What I found most appealing about listening to him speak at such a small event rather then a huge conference or on a conference call or reading his memos is how genuine he seemed. Making eye contact, speaking from the heart, and when each partner stood to ask a question and told where they were from and how long a partner he said thank you to every single one.

Manny

Jim Romanesko is a dousche

javagirl666

When a manager does a schedule..the labor is figured out in part by skill set/hourly pay rate. If there is alot of switching going on maybe it is effecting your stores labor and she is the one being held accountable for that...its her call.

wdp

@ Black Apron Boy,

I think as long as it's a legitimate switch, theoretically you should be ok--but that depends on how much schedule switching is already going on...but at my store, it's ridiculous! We are between managers right now, and the last one we had was a total moron, so people are taking advantage of it--we have one partner who literally gives away 2/3 of her hours every week and ends up working less than 10 hours a week (she hasn't worked a weekend in who knows how long). It does get to be exasperating for those of us who are trying to do our jobs. But I also know that if baristas aren't getting enough hours, that can be a source of tension.

I get what javagirl666 is saying about how the schedule is *supposed* to be figured out--but the moron we had never took any of that into account--he would schedule the most random assortment of people EVER and give no thought to whether they knew what they were doing. The visiting manager who's making our schedules tries, but she doesn't know our staff well, so she just does the best she can.

hehehe

Dave- Are you in the NYC area?

ncsm

@CoffeeSoldier:
Howard sure snookered you!

in search of caffine and more

Anyone know what Peets starting salary and health Benefits are compared with Starbucks starting pay and health benefits (in Boston area)?

Mark

After more than 2 years I finally ventured back into a Starbucks and was met with a April Fools Joke gone wrong. Here in LA it was over 80 degrees and bright sunny. Inside the store the temperature was hovering near 90 degrees. When I asked the clerk to lower the thermostat, he replied he could not do that. The temperature is controlled by corporate in Seattle. WHAT!!!!

Does corporate expect their guests to suffer in uncomfortable conditions just to save a few bucks on air conditioning? I am staying with the mom-and-pops or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf from now on.

booshface

"And, for the DMs and SMs who think they have the best, most powerful jobs in the world, the truth always comes out."

Can someone tell me how someone gets promoted from barista to SM? How much arse kissing is involved?

howard

If you were a store owner, and did not want to offer a place for your customers to use a restroom you should put up a notice that either says no public rest room or restrooms for customers only, not lie to the customers, especially since it is the customer who makes or breaks your business, and you must remember, word of mouth can ruin your business, or it can fix your business, but mess over your customers, and make them look for a restroom other places, when they need to use the restroom BEFORE they buy their drink, and you can lose a cash paying customer to the competition....

Ant Li

"we are only giving people what they want, and much of that time is giving them the 10 shots they want in their white chocolate mocha... We are adapting to what America wants... strong,sweet, something that resembles coffee.....

Posted by: Beenthrualotof this"

That's what I suspected, Starbux thinks it is giving America what it wants, and seems to be proved right, with its zillion outlets and enormous expansion. Yet knowing (I knew) that Howard has been to Europe and according to another poster wanted to bring its espresso experience here, what happened to that risktaking educational attitude? All around the US food and drink is skyrocketing in quality with the boom in organic and the myriad gourmet coffee shops in NYC and I assume elsewhere. Starbucks is second rate compared with its new competitors except for offering corporate uniformity and reliability. Why not raise the ante and make Starbucks home to really primo coffee too? This is exciting stuff. Starbucks could actually be an exciting place and not something with dreary food - wow! they thought of upgrading the bread in the sandwiches, wow! when the fillings are so crappy that the baristas dont even bother to take them home in my NYC neighborhood - and silly syrupy concoctions instead of first class coffee worth the money paid.

The best thing about Starbucks is the staff who are just so nice to deal with and so hard working in sticking to Howard's corporate rules but the guy seems to have no idea that his outlets (judging from my experience of NYC Starbucks) are railway station level decor places with ghastly food and coffee which is bested by almost any newcomer - eg ThinkCoffee which now has four outlets, tried the one near Union Square at 12th/4th Avenue today and it was really excellent espresso, Italian level, and nothing that Starbucks couldn't do. But it won't, as things stand now, judging from these comments here. No wonder all the NYU students were hanging out there working, looking great.

Howard is a guy who knows how to run and expand a huge business, but like a night club owner with a tin ear, he has no idea what good coffee means, as far as one can see. Nothing wrong with that, but he should be aware of it and get advice from someone with taste. He was on Charlie Rose a week or so ago and he talked for ten minutes about his great achievements and ambitions and values but not one word I noticed about the customer experience of coffee and its unique qualities if brought out by masterful baristas. His next step should be to give his baristas everything they need to follow their coffee passion, if they have it, like they do elsewhere. Leave efficiency behind, they have enough of it and anyway quality and teaching the customers to appreciate it will pull in far more money that tweaking efficiency and dulling the sensibilities of the potentially great people who work for him.

Ant Li

Well, I see that my idea for raising the bar on Starbuck's effort to stay on top of the corporate style coffee delivery system at the retail level has frightened off the baristas here. What a pity! We need just one guy/gal inside Starbucks to catch Howard's ear on how to upgrade the brand to 21st Century standards in food as well as drink, and decor as well, and that barista would be made Vice President in charge of Upgrading and get an office next to Howard's! All he/she has to do is write a memo and send it over the heads of the Marketing guys to Howard and include a few pictures of the rock like cakes and buns in the counter display, and a picture of the silly little tables and fixed window seating now the style in the revised decor of our local Upper East Side outlet (replaced the friendly tables and movable chairs of the previous decor) and if the memo is grammar and spelling checked, Howard will go with it! Just point him to Whole Foods - why do you think Whole Foods is taking over the grocery business in New York City and everywhere else? People are learning that they need to eat decent food not to grow obese or sick. They realize that Starbucks food is an example of what not to eat.

All it takes is one of the lively commenters here to stop worrying shortsightedly about how to get around their immediate boss and achieve a tiny promotion and instead write this memo and send it in email plus pics and they will find themselves in the executive suite!

Oh, you say you are too busy writing it to comment here? Well done!

Katie

My SM and ASM has pulled a prank on the day that the DM visited, they both handed in their 2 weeks notice and acted all serious. lol. she was concerned as it is totally believable.

obuv

Cool. We are waiting for new messages on the same topic:)

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