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August 04, 2011


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Jeff Tom

I have a solution. Starbucks should hire some of the homeless people that loiter in the stores. The barista on bar watches the customers, identifies ones that are excessively mooching space/power/etc, and then send out a homeless person to either harass them or to "accidentally" spill coffee all over the place.

A solution to two problems!!!!


Yeah, dumb.

Where is James Conolly on this one? I am sure he has a stupid opinion.

James Connolly

Man, it's nice to be loved. And my name has two Ns.

As I said in the other thread, I got no dog in this fight. My store has no big issues with people camping out, but I can imagine some stores do. It should be a store-level decision to cover up outlets, and that's all I really have to say about it, aside from Karl Dahlquist's story from the other thread about someone setting up a laser printer to run off hundreds of pages being absolutely hysterical.


Excuse me James Colonally....


I don't really see laptop users as a problem. After all, the chairs are there to be sat upon. Is there really that big a difference between somebody sitting with a laptop and somebody sitting with a book?

Where is the outrage about people who go to a coffee shop and sit and read for a couple hours? This is a pretty lame double standard. This reminds me of the way somebody will be annoyed with people who use cell phones in a public place.

Two people at a table having a conversation: Fine.

One person having a conversation into a cell phone: The rudest person on earth.

Who cares?

Coffee Drinker

I've overheard some conversations at Starbucks that outshine any movie or book I've ever read, lol.

However some were confidential medical and/or social matters involving others so be careful using names ; )

Have also made a comment or a look and been able to partake of at times quite wonderful discussion with strangers...and I've also given tech support to nice laptop users. Among other things.

But still some folks are loud, rude, and selfish. That's the world and we love them all.

James Connolly

Northwest - It's nice to see the level of maturity that the company selects for its management truly sets a new standard.


For real Northwest. I have no opinion on James either way but you seem like a petulant child. Therefore knowing little to nothing of Connolly's viewpoints I am totally taking his side. I have had enough of grumpy people.

Also come to my store and stay for hours with your laptop, a book, your boyfriend, whatever. What do I care?

Siren's Bitch

Outlets being covered provides SBUX with many winning points: 1) Extreme electricity usage by Mobile Office Campers is reduced making that store's light bill smaller, 2) This action is disguised as a good PR move where SBUX is looking out for its customers, and 3) More customers in the stores because of more free seating and/or good PR equals more money....."But how dare SBUX try to make more money? They're not a money-sucking business like McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts. SBUX takes care of me because they JUST SAY YES to my deman-...er, requests outside of what is listed on the menu, unlike the other fast food places."


One more reason to stay the hell away from Starbucks! Try giving your local independent coffee shop some business--they'll appreciate it and you'll likely have no trouble finding an outlet to use.

Siren's Bitch

The funny thing about SBUXes being built near "Mom and Pop" coffee shops is that there have been numerous reports of how they have benefitted from SBUX appearing near them. Here's what happens: SBUX brings in droves of customers into their brand new store, while many of them go to the independent coffee shop because they don't want to wait in line and/or pay higher prices. Even other customers will buy the better tasting food from the small coffee shop and cross the street to buy the better tasting coffee. In essence, there are many options given to the customer. The customer is choosing where to take thier money, not SBUX or the small coffe shop.


Two people at a table having a conversation: Fine.
One person having a conversation into a cell phone: The rudest person on earth.

The problem with some of the cheap cell phones is the lack of good feedback into your ear so folks start speaking very loudly.


I suspect the covering of outlets has been going on for a while. I have seen blank plates at various Starbucks (and McDonalds) over the last year (I only started cafe surfing recently, so I can't comment on pre-2010).

I have not gotten much flak over time limits. After two of us had once been at Union Square West from 6am til noonish, we were asked if we were going to be "ordering anything else today," hint hint. But typically I don't end up testing the limits. I would typically leave after 2-3 hours if seats are scarce, or order something else.

Same at McDonalds incidentally. A guard at 6th Ave above 14th St recently told me on a Friday night they were limiting people to 20 minutes, but I've never heard anything like that on any other occasion, at any location.


@Coffee Drinker

I and every other customer in a twenty-foot radius once had the privilege of listening to a loud, ten-minute long soliloquy from one customer to another that began with the words, "my abscess..." Please be as creative as you like filling in the rest. This happened while I was on bar during a busy morning. I couldn't get away! Ew.

Needless to say, our seating area nearest the bar cleared out in the bat of an eyelash. Perhaps Starbucks should hire the woman who educated me about all matters pus to get rid of campers!

Coffee Drinker

Yukkers! Once had a gentleman start complaining to me the VA I think it was wasn't helping him right with his diabetes. I listened, tried to be helpful. Well then he reached for something on the table other side of him (hard for me to see due to his girth) and took a bite of a delicious huge frosted pastry! Right in the middle of a rant about his treatment. I did NOT bat an eye, but he sure did, poor guy. I so wanted to sink low and say something...

Also as a former novelist. One does make a few notes occasionally at ya can't really make certain stuff up, lol.

So to all you Starbucks talkers, I wish you a happy wedding, strong romance, help with your family, and especially wisdom you you in the courts working tirelessly ; )

Coffee Soldier

I think Panera Bread has got it down in the limiting of web usage. Leave the outlets uncovered but have the first page where you agree to the Sbux and ATT terms to say a hour hour limit at peak periods which could be 7-10 and 2-5 or whatever Sbux determines to be peak periods like Panera does from 11-2 their lunch time.


This is what happens when you introduce unlimited free wi-fi. Now Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and several other locations limit the time to 1 or 2 hours. After that, you need to buy another coffee or pastry to get more time.

That is only fair.

Legendarily Lean (er?)

What about people who download movies and music using SBUX free Wi Fi? Who do the lawyers send notices to? Sbux store managers? Seattle?

Pike is pike..

And now the story is picked up by Drudge and is in the middle section on the Drudge Report with not 1 but TWO headlines.

Drudge doesn't update much on the weekends anymore, so the story will be read by millions over the weekend.

Who started pushing the story first? Jim? I forget now :D


Just quit starbucks, now i can tell stories.

Until then, some sit TOO long and some even leave and dont buy anything. 2 hours is nothing compared to 4.


You're all missing the point.

It is Starbucks that is the parasite. They come into our communities, drive local coffee houses out of business with their sham look, and then once they are the only business left they treat customers like garbage, as some of the "baristas" in this forum exemplify.

Starbucks just takes, takes, takes and NEVER gives back anything.

It is a malevolent predator that brainwashes its shallow baristas to be predatory as well, and should be boycotted.


@Coffee Soldier

I agree about Panera. At least they are RESPECTFUL of customers and they try to see the customer's point of view.

Starbucks is stuck in their parasitic mindset, and they only want to take, take, take without giving anything to the paying customer, to the worker, or to the community.

No wonder people in Seattle think Starbucks is a bad joke. It's not just the awful coffee.



You are quite right about laptop users not being a problem. I have gone to coffeehouses for years, including Starsucks, and I have never have a problem with laptop users. Never!

Starbucks is following a trend that is ramping up in other areas as well, that of "Give nothing whatsoever to the little guy."

Why? Because the corporations are taking unneeded handouts and bailouts any chance they get, so lest the little guy notice that and take further offense, they want to distract him with unexpected abuse. Dictators use the same tactic... think Syria.

James Connolly

Blane - I agree with the general sentiment, but you are being a touch hyperbolic. Until Howard and the rest of upper management starts machinegunning those of us in the SWU, the comparisons to Assad or Mubarak are premature (although this isn't counting Schultz's support for an apartheid state). Is he basically making his money by exploiting his employees and screwing his customers? Absolutely, but I don't think this thing with the power outlets in NYC is as bad as, say, the price hikes and the labor cuts. Those are things that are actually worth getting pissed off about.


"Starbucks just takes, takes, takes and NEVER gives back anything."

Just last month my district was part of an event to raise money for the Red Cross. I work for a company that sets the expectation that we should work in our communities to develop relationships with our neighbors and work to make our areas better and people happier.

Has the development of some locations hurt competing coffee shops? Sure, but call me naive but I think the choice of where to go is ultimately left up to the customer. I am always excited and willing to try out a local coffee shop, but more often than not I'll end up going back to Starbucks because I know that even if the service isn't always as legendary as it should be, it's almost never actively rude.

Also, having been a Starbucks partner for many, many years, I have worked with lots of former employees of "locally owned" coffee shops, who had to quit and join Starbucks because they weren't well paid, well treated, or given benefits.



I tried working at Starbucks for a while myself. I found that they were scamming all the workers except two (so 2 out of 15) by deliberately preventing them from working enough hours to get health insurance. They always said the computer set the hours but we knew it was a sham.

Also, our Starbucks was poorly run so we kept asking to work at nearby stores. They refused this request and kept suggesting that merely asking was almost grounds for firing.

Starbucks is anti-worker, plain and simple.


@James Connolly

When I was working at Starbucks I looked into starting a union-- having been inspired by the efforts in Canada. Then I realized the reason why Starbucks insists on hiring teenagers instead of college students & older workers in my area is specifically to prevent unions coming in.

Can't Please them All

I started all this mess, and I will tell you the New York Regional Office was on super high alert all day. In addition to the emergency conference call between AA and senior leadership, throughout the office was an ominous buzz of DMs citing Alan Hillowitz with very specific talking points for stores. "Currently there are no directives or initiatives to cover outlets or restrict customer usage. Based on specific feedback for extreme instances, we have take a procustomer action to increase table traffic in a few very high volume stores." Talk about corporate double speak, my impression is that these "extreme circumstances" were never discussed with senior leadership in Seattle and everyone was caught off guard by my initial comments. The business end o "just say yes" has been exposed and the cavalier, and sometimes dangerous, decisions made by the NY leadership team is now under intense scrutiny. Anyone familiar with the hierarchy will tell you that AA can no longer hide safely under the wing of Jim McDermot and this is not the first debacle, nor will it be the last.


"I tried working at Starbucks for a while myself. I found that they were scamming all the workers except two (so 2 out of 15) by deliberately preventing them from working enough hours to get health insurance. They always said the computer set the hours but we knew it was a sham.

Also, our Starbucks was poorly run so we kept asking to work at nearby stores. They refused this request and kept suggesting that merely asking was almost grounds for firing."

I'm fairly sure none of this is true.

James Connolly

Diterpine - The way things are going both in the company and the economy writ large, it's getting easier to get people to listen our message. Thank you for looking into the union, though, and I'd encourage you to look into us again.

Mike Pollock

@Can't Please them All

So what am I, chopped liver? I prompted you to start all this mess and so far the customer service supervisor who was supposed to return my call on the subject from last week never did.

I think I'll check back in with them.


Here's what I like about Starbucks. If they want people to leave then why are they giving free or 50 cent refills only if you do not leave and why are they giving out "treat receipts" to get you to come back and spend more time in the store later in the day? The Starbucks I frequent just got remodeled and they added at least 8 power outlets. I guess each of these actions is a subtle hint to "get out."

Charleen Larson

I'm glad this issue came up because I didn't know it was a problem. (I'm a customer, just to clarify.) I only laptop-camp when I'm traveling, perhaps 4 or 5 times a year, typically waiting for a train or trying to rest after 3 hours of driving. I will be more sensitive to those who are looking for a place to sit.

The local sbux (Palo Alto, Menlo Park) are always full when I drop in. It's like a forest of Mac Airs. But I've got internet at home and office; I don't need to homestead at Starbucks.


Hard to beleive this point has escaped everyone here: the main reason some laptop users are a nuisance (at Starbucks and Panera) is that these oafs take up an entire four-top table for themselves to make room for their laptop, notebooks, etc. I seen this countless times. People are standing around waiting for a table, and these morons either stare blankly and uncaring or are just oblivious. Either way, it's obnoxious and rude. Restaurants are not libraries, study halls, student lounges, but they are frequently used as such by individuals. I don't care if someone stays in a seat all day; if you are one or two people, please be consuderate of others and use a two-top or lounge chair and leave the bigger tables for larger groups or families.

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