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July 22, 2011


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*shrug* You can't please all of the people all of the time.


I am sometimes criticized for talking too much to the customers!

Jim  Romenesko

I think particularly "needy" or lonely people see Starbucks employees as their best friends -- simply because they don't treat them like dirt. I recall a barista here posting a few years ago about the customer who brought in the papers for an upcoming real estate deal and wanting the SBUX employee to give them her blessing. The only person she trusted?


Jamison lives in Loserville.
Sounds like he doesn't have any friends to interact with, lives in a dump, and has parents who didn't discipline him.
This is the type of "customer" I stare at while his panties are stretched.


Just walked out of Sbux in San diego...cruddy service...understaffed.

Going to CHEBA HUT for lunch to recover!

I wish SBUX would staff up....the local coffee shop in the shopping center is not much better


I admit that the first time the Starbucks closest to my home handed me a beverage with a label on it, that it felt slightly impersonal.

Then I shrugged and thought, I got my drink, the order was right, and these people are not my friends.

'Tell Mike it was only business, I always liked him.'

Pike is here to stay

What is the company-advised response to comments made by customers about Sbux locations in Safeway, Target, etc. and other licensed stores and possible policy variations within them? Should the fact that they are not ''real" Starbucks be even brought up? As a customer myself, to me, a Sbux is a Sbux is a Sbux. Why should I care if it's ''real'' or licensed? Are they allowed to accept tips at licensed stores including airport locations? Would it be better for them to have different name than Sbux or some time of prefix in the name a la Walmart vs. Super Walmart, etc?

Coffee Solider

Wow...this guy seems a little insane...upon closer look at his blog that the story links too he probably is...on top of his self proclaimed "daddy issues," he even states, "though I guess I could be considered a lonely creep too."

He wants his 15 minutes of fame. I'm sure if he asked the barista to hand label his cup they would accommodate him...but instead calls the corporate office and writes a blog about it?

Have a good weekend all!

Anyone else surprised at the lack of goals this go around for Summer 2?

Pike is here to stay

Coffee Soldier, no it's via, via, via!! You must be in a different market

Jim  Romenesko

What are the average Via goals? I helped the Evanston Dempster store with a 3-pack today.

Coffee Solider

Oh..Via was a big push for us on the buy an iced 5 pack get any free tall beverage but not anymore there is also no set # of LBS for Starbucks Iced Coffee Blend...I can't remember a time we had no promo goals for pounds of coffee...frappuccino sells its self and the daily goal is actually less then Summer 1 yet it is 20 degrees hotter here in New England...weird that there is no real push right now...I think it's actually a breathe of relief for the partners no crazy up-selling multiple products...just the daily pastries really here.


Not even the Seattle area stores consistently write names on the cups...get over it.


If you need to write a name on a cup to make a personal connection with the customer, you're doing it wrong.


wow... simply, wow.

this time i'm fully with the starbucks employees...


I surely hope he personally wrote names on every beverage he ever handled. Would be a pitty if anyone ever felt that he wasnt their bestfriend.

fun n' foamy

As a partner, I raised the issue with my superiors about putting stickers on all cups and relying on those as opposed to personally connecting with the customer. I was told to shut up, that we are about speed now....just a couple months AFTER rolling out the World Class Service concept.

Coffee Beans

He should find real friends to talk to.


Not that I care one way or the other, but it is nice to have your name on the cup so that some other customer doesn't take it off the bar. I have that happen quite a bit when in sbux that doesn't write names. It's very aggravating. My usual sbux still writes names and makes sure all partners know the names and drinks of regulars. There is one store in my area that does the labels, but they actually add the name to the label. Go figure!


No more sharpie hands! I would have black marker on my hands all the time, even on my day off.

Legendarily Lean (er?)

Our district decided not to use the labeller, including all DT stores.

We just had a partner re-hired who last worked in the mid 1990s! This person said they are ASTOUNDED by how differently customers behave nowadays especially the ones who are ATTACHED to their cell phones. The person says back in the 90s cell phones were still a luxury item and not everyone was constantly using one.


We just had a partner re-hired who last worked in the mid 1990s! This person said they are ASTOUNDED by how differently customers behave nowadays especially the ones who are ATTACHED to their cell phones. The person says back in the 90s cell phones were still a luxury item and not everyone was constantly using one.

Posted by: Legendarily Lean (er?) | July 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM

So? What's your point?

I see people actively working behind the counter at Starbucks texting, playing apps, checking email and generally paying attention to their phone...

Everyone does it.

Don't try to act like it's the customer's fault. If anything, the people that are never supposed to be on their phones inside a Starbucks are the people working there who are supposed to be helping customers.

I <3 music

@ gc

I agree. Anyone on the clock shouldn't use their phone.

I only have a problem with people being on their phone IF it effects another paying customer's experience.

In the dt if you are on your phone at the window I will print a receipt if you pay with a card without asking so I don't interrupt.

I personally don't care. It's their loss. I i'm great to talk to :p

Where's My Java

I'll admit it was kind of sweet when the hot barista-girl wrote my name on the cup and added a smiley face...but PLEASE, if you HAVE to have it on there or your "taking your business elsewhere", well that's just pathetic!


Seriously?? I say go fu$%ck yourself.


I love Starbucks, but if I had to chose something I absolutely hate, it'd be when they ask my name and never use it, which I would say is about 98% of the time! Instead, they shout at the top of their lungs the name of the drink I ordered with my name nowhere to follow. Huh, why in the h$%# did you ask my name if you can't bother to rattle if off??? I'm not looking for a best friend in a barista, but if you're not going to bother using my name, don't bother asking for it!


First off, I think getting bent out of shape because your name wasn't written on your cup is absurd!

But after ~15 years as a big fan of Sbux, I became disenchanted in the early 2000s and won't set foot in one if I don't absolutely have to. For me the issues were: 1) my drink not being made the same way every time even though I ordered it the same way every time, and 2) poor people skills and even outright rudeness by baristas--harder to forgive than technical errors. I'm not talking about the barista being my buddy, or about Sbux keeping its soul, as Howard would put it. I'm talking about simple competence and courtesy.

I switched to various indie coffee places in Seattle, and I've never had a serious customer-service gripe with any of them.

So--maybe the deterioration in service was inevitable with Sbux' growth? Was I naive to expect otherwise?


@Staxman - the deterioration isn't an inevitable result of the growth. It's a result of the method of growth. It is also possible to grow and succeed by staying true to what brought you success. But it's not fast enough for the greedy leaders and the even greedier stock-buyers.


On another topic . . . any ideas on when the fall promotions will start?

(Yes, it's only July. I LOVE autumn & just can't wait for cooler temps and colored leaves to get here. The Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a little seasonal bonus.)


@Shifted Thanks for the perspective!

Coffee Solider

This summer promo goes thru Sept 3rd I believe so I would Sept 4th will roll the Fall! I love Fall! Anniversary Blend, Fall color schemes and PSL!



Um, it is the customer's fault if he or she is using his or her phone. I have yet to see someone being held at gunpoint to talk on the phone.



No. I hate to tell you this, and while I certainly don't think a customer should be a dick about things, the customer's usually right (regardless if they're actually right or not)...

The customer can be on their phone, all day and all night. Sure, the Starbucks employees certainly hate it and the folks in line behind this customer are judging like crazy because inevitably, the line is slowing down and everyone hates to see employees treated badly, but still, the customer can be on their phone.

The employees of Starbucks pretty much have to deal with that customer and probably can't say too much. It's part of what they're getting paid for.

The employees, though, cannot be on their phones. I'm pretty certain Starbucks corporate has rules against it and, besides, it's not giving good service when you're not focused on the customer...

Finally, you seemed to have missed my original point.

Time To GO!

@GC....more Starbucks rules talk..."don't do this, don't do that." If the customer is on his/her phone, why not the employee? Equally as rude I would say.

Coffee Solider

Who cares if the customer is on their phone? I just say, "hello what can I get you?" Then tell them their total and they are on their way to the hand off plane yapping a way..It's no skin off my back...Best happening ever last week with a cell phone talker...me..."hello," to the customer, who is standing right in front of me, no answer, just keep talking and starring at me.."umm hi, what can I get you?"..nothing...hmm (now I'm starting to think this guy is deaf except he can talk for some reason)...so I wave at him and say, "what can I get you," once more...customer behind him taps him aggressively on the back and says very loudly, "could you order a-hole or get out of the line?"...the mortified guy steps out of line and the 10 people behind him clapped and the line began to move along again.

I could careless if you don't want to talk to me...not all customers do..some want quick in and out, others want to tell me about their hair appointment or cheating husbands but holding up the line of people just like you behind you while you talk away is highly annoying and a good way to get yourself into trouble with others...be respectful of the other humans around you...or stay home and make your coffee there while you yell into your phone!


geez.....I just think customers seem to be getting more and more needy and rude with a sense of entitlement....especially with the regulars......unfortunately I don't have as good a memory as some customers would like and they get angry when you don't remember their name or drink......I understand that to them it seems simple when they come in daily that everyone should remember, however, they fail to understand that we have hundreds of regulars every day with their 5-6 modifier drinks and it is just hard....just wish they could be a little more sensitive and just order their drink without saying..."ill just take my regualr"...well, if I haven't started talkling about your regular and writing on the cup then obviously I don't remember.........off my soapbox......thank you


I have a regular customer (4x daily) that travels the world and frequents Starbucks where he goes. He is a loyal customer for at least a decade and told me something I thought unreal today. While in Longview, Tx recently, at a corporate store, that they refused to brew him Decaf coffee because they don't brew it all day so why should they brew it just for him. They told him that they would ONLY do a pour over even though he patiently waits for us to brew him a fresh pot anytime after noon that he requests it. What happened to the days when if a customer is willing to wait for it to brew, we brew them any kind of coffee they want to pick off the wall? I guess this company is just not ever going to be about customer service of coffee as a core again. If I'm ever in Longview TX and find this to be true, I'll be the one customer that will not back down when REFUSED coffee at a coffee shop & would be on the phone with the SSC while still in the store letting them know why. Forget whether or not we write names on cup any longer, some stores can't even be BOTHERED to brew coffee. If they are too lazy to do that, I wonder if they even wash they own hands after a bathroom break?


@GC....more Starbucks rules talk..."don't do this, don't do that." If the customer is on his/her phone, why not the employee? Equally as rude I would say.

Posted by: Time To GO! | July 24, 2011 at 02:15 PM

Because, Starbucks employees are paid to not be rude. And to serve the customer.

That's why it's okay for the customer and not the employee.

Pretty easy and simple.


I just hate it when gc is right.


"While in Longview, Tx recently, at a corporate store, that they refused to brew him Decaf coffee because they don't brew it all day so why should they brew it just for him. They told him that they would ONLY do a pour over even though he patiently waits for us to brew him a fresh pot anytime after noon that he requests it."

I tend to take stories like this with a grain of salt. You have to understand that we are hearing this third hand, since we are reading a post on the internet written be somebody who heard a story from somebody else. I don't doubt that this guy had a bad experience at some Starbucks in Texas, but... I'm not convinced that he did either. For all we know he asked for decaf and they started to make him a pour over, and when he said he wanted them to brew it, they maybe just assured him that pour over was just as good, and that's how they usually do it.

Maybe he just overacted and misperceived their inability to understand his preference for an outright refusal to do what he asked.

Oh, and as for customers ordering while talking on their cell phones, I honestly don't mind since it means I don't have to talk to somebody who's obviously rude and annoying. In my opinion, every rude and annoying person should be forced to talk on their cell phones when they are out and about in public, since it will save the rest of us from having to talk to them.


Waltie is right regarding cell phone users. If I can't get their attention, I just move on to the next person in line and we talk over them.


Shifted, too true. The truth is Stax that Sbux knows it can afford some level of customer dissatisfaction. Most of those customers are used to crappy service from other areas or just don't care enough to notice and they'll keep coming back. It's not considered a worthy cost for Sbux to say, implement more focused training or to increase the oversight on managers and DMs to make sure they're hiring/fostering competent baristas. And it probably never again will be. If Sbux sales start plummeting they'll just take it as a sign that they need to close more stores, fire more people, issue 2 or 3 man deployments more often no matter how short-handed it leaves stores, anything that doesn't involve spending money to increase customer satisfaction.


@Waltie I love it when people call me a liar.


The problem is that Starbucks continues to try to present itself as a "special" company, different from all the other food service companies out there, because, at least according to Howard, it has a "soul". That is nothing more than a major pile of BS! I don't know that Starbucks ever really had any kind of corporate soul, but it they did, they lost it a long time ago. There is absolutely nothing special about the Starbucks "experience" these days. The stores are consistently dirty, staffing if often inadequate, food and beverages are overpriced and of questionable quality, baristas are often rude and incompetent. In other words, Starbucks is JUST like every other fast food purveyor out there, and the sooner it recognizes this fact, the better!

Steam Explosion.

Hmm, here in the U.K. we don't put customers' names on their cups although I like the idea :). It's be a nice touch for our regulars as we know what they order anyway.

Still, it's a bit petty that he's 'taking his custom elsewhere'. If he wanted them to carry on whacking his name on the cup, couldn't he have just politely asked them and explained that he likes the personal touch?

Where's My Java

Starbucks was "cool"...when I first started going about 14 years ago. Every store smelled like coffee when you walked in. And there was cool 50's / 60's jazz music. It was just awesome and I loved it.

Both of those elements are long gone...but I'm still (less frequent) customer.


"@Waltie I love it when people call me a liar. "

And I don't like people putting words in my mouth. I didn't call you a liar. I simply said that there was a chance the customer who told you about his experience may have been embellishing, misremembering, or misinterpreting what actually happened. I don't think you were lying, I simply don't find that guy's story to be all that believable knowing what I know about the Starbucks.


I think witht he price of green coffee going up it's smarter business wise to just do a pour over decaf instead of brewing an entire freaking batch of it. Not only is it more costly for product but it's more labor intensive too (albeit by not much). That customer sounds like a spoiled, self-entitled child. As for picking any coffee off the wall just to brew it for drip? That's asinine. For a french press, sure, but after you open the coffee, you effectively sign it's death certificate as all that is likely to be sold, in my experience, is the batch you brew. You'll separate half a pound of it and put it on the bean wall, where it will most likely go unsold, and the rest will die a slow death in a cabinet. What a waste.

Coffee Drinker

re "Texas" decaf story:

I believe it bec when I lived in Tucson, one of the SBUX was this way. If you came in at 12:01 and wanted Bold, after they instituted Pike, it was just too bad. Now, on occasion, there was a random manager type barista who would do it; otherwise, it was impossible. And no matter how nice, kind, fast you are as a customer, no matter how short the line, or even a long line of others who might crave bold, it would never be done. And the baristas in that store were rude about it. My impression was they simply didn't want to do it. Fine.

I'd walk out and go to the SBUX closer to my house, where they'd brew Bold, fresh bold, any time day or night.

I've learned to spot good baristas vs rude ones and will not even bother, even in my new local if I spot Rude. Not because I'm too lonely or sensitive or need a friend, I just don't like giving my money away to mean people. That's a limitation on my part, I know, I"m workin' on it.

I live closer to an indie now, and as is oft repeated here, the difference in caring really does matter.

I rarely order drinks that require writing on cup, but I side with the guy who wrote the article; it's not about the physics,it's the lousy attitude prevailing in this world. Bah!

I'm a kind person, I'm learning, I mean well. But even I get tired of rudeness and choose not to pay for it on purpose.

Vic Via

Cant say where test store is...may out myself as I am a partner in area...manager creates "plays" based on transactions per hour and other data then must write schedule accordingly...it was starnge as each reg partner had a back up partner...manager then calls "the play" and positions change-keep milk caps in container so starback knows what to restock-it seems to be a test around NON Verbal communication..Literally 4 partners around register and 1 bar partner doing the routine....looked like a log jamm at hand off plane...Heres hoping we get this much support as I am sure it will roll right before Holiday!!!!! if our history stands true....


Starbucks is no longer about the customer. Bottom line. It's all about suggestive selling..oh do you want to turn your drink into a frappuccino -its easy! how about a cake pop and a pound of coffee and a pack of iced via and dont forget your treat receipt so you can come get harassed after 2pm for the same stuff.... I miss the days of actually having time to talk to the customers and getting to know them. We are driving people away slowly, but surely. I once loved this company... We have strayed so far from where we were 7 years ago when I started. So sad.

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