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August 06, 2011


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Jim Romenesko

I'm reposting this from a thread about the power outlet brouhaha because I find it very interesting:

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 [SBUX PR man] 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.


Any one know the average salary for the ASM position?

Barista Ben

My guess is average is possibly 25k-30k depending on your area

Pike is pike..

Jim, this is the power of the internet and the digital age. Just look at Drudge from '98 to present. I suppose you have always been the Starbucks drudge primarily -- despite having another unrelated website.

I suppose your memo from Jan 2007 was your Monica Lewinsky

Jim Romenesko

Pike -- just to make it clear, the "I started this mess...." note was written by a SG reader and I just reposted it.

Legendarily Lean (er?)


Jim Romenesko

Also, it should be noted that the Starbucks Gossip reader who first raised the covered-outlets issue is Michael Pollack, who is the voice of General Blanque in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare video game.


I think it has to be said that Starbucks is the ultimate parasite on any community that infiltrates.
It puts other cafes out of business not because it is better but because it is ruthless and has capital reserves to let it play rough.
Once the competition is gone it treats customers, workers, and the community badly.
And then it turns around and implies that its own customers are a disposable burden e.g. in order to justify no electrical outlets at cafes.
Starbucks shows no compassion even while the company enjoys record profits.
Starbucks exhibits a type of hypocrisy that's so common in America, where those who have no ethics win and use their success to push down everyone else, and those who show kindness lose.
The customer, worker and community are considered by Starbucks to be as much the enemy as other cafes.

Nancy  Luedke

Any new fall drinks this year? When does pumpkin spice make it's first appearance on the menu?

Pike is pike..

Nancy, September 4 or 6th -- whichever is a Tuesday

Pike is pike..

Blane, rhetoric -- post after post -- without specific examples. Are you applying for a job at MSNBC? Their lineup is full right now. CNN may have a spot now that Spitzer (client number 9) is gone


@Pike is pike, thank you!


playbook. Who knows more????


Apparently Toffee Mocha is coming back with it, too...right?


The store where a friend works has a new manager. His first action was to cut all of the barista's hours so that the most a non-shift gets per week is 24 hours. He told the staff that no non-shift barista is supposed to work more than 29 hours per week. True or false? My friend has been with the company for over 5 years and that's news to her.

Legendarily Lean (er?)

Playbook is a myth. Someone started this rumor about it here weeks ago with no other sightings of this anywhere.

However, if this is what I think ot is, then certain stores already did a test for something similar a while ago, and it didn't go so well, so it was just a test - like Sorbetto it never materialized

Legendarily Lean(er?)

Pointerom, there is no upper limit. You just can't work overtime which is over 40 in most states.

However, a SM can decide how many hours to give to whom. One can appeal thru a DM, and then test the waters that way. If you are a good barista, you should have no problem getting the hours. Speak to DM unless he/she is the one this action is coming down from to begin with


From my experience the barista hour issue is a common problem. You hire on with Starbucks and they want you to have open availablity and hold that over your head for scheduling. However, you can have 24/7 availablity, be a top notch barista and still struggle to get hours you need to make your bills. You end up with these weinie four hour shifts during "peak" so you see how many people you can hurdle throug the line in a 30 min window..........its all about the half hour number......herd them thru the line as fast as you can, make that "96 in 30" and then let them stand around for 15 mins waiting for their drink because the better beverage routine is a joke because you end up with one person at bar with 30 drinks in line, only one bar being used, because the bar 2 person is over floating to help get that 30 min number up "so we can earn labor"....who cares how long they wait once we get their money.....someone in the ivory tower really needs to a good hard look, in person, at a bunch of different stores during peak and watch the havoc. not the third place experience.....my how it has changed in the last five years since I started the company.....


In my experience, people with more open availability get more hours, which is as it should be. Right?

If you can't work evenings, weekends, or tuesdays and thursdays, don't complain when you aren't given forty hours a week.


just hit the button for everything the customer says, and you'll hit labor. i went from having two people for 4 hours on a thursday night close.... from 4 to 8, and getting my 3rd person at 8... to four closers. just by hitting the grind options for every bean, and hitting every button the customer says.


Opinions - is Starbucks typically "higher priced" than independent shops? I live in Portland, so there are coffee shops EVERYWHERE, and I've yet to go into an independent that was cheaper than Starbucks. It always seems to be the claim that Starbucks is sooo expensive, but this doesn't seem to be the case to me.


@Ash - Starbucks is cheaper than the company I left to come here. By a lot. And not many places can get cheaper.

I absolutely deplore rushing people through the computer system and then having them stand for 20 minutes to wait for a tall latte. Like, really? Customer experience? Connection? We're surprising, but not delighting.

Starbuckers, Inc.




Starbucks' cheaper coffee is burnt-tasting junk.
Perhaps by cheap you mean how they pay you: on the cheap.



It's well documented that the Starbucks parasite puts local coffee houses out of businesses.

It's documented that they are a union-busting company.

It's documented that they using tricks to avoid giving their workers health insurance.

Doppio con karma

@ Blane

Your hyperbole gets very tired very quickly.

Jeff Tom


1. It is amazing here in SEattle, where there is a SB at every corner, that coffee shops are thriving AND expanding.

2. I am OK with the union busting. Now, you want to talk about parasites, let's address unions.

3. I agree here. But health care is a benefit, not a right. If you do not like what you get, go elsewhere that offers better

Time To GO!

@Blane "It's documented that they are a union-busting company."

As a former manager, I would like to note that THERE IS NO UNION. Starbucks is not a unionized company. Therefore, there can be no union busting. The IWW or whatever they want to call themselves this week is just a bully group. And, when management tells them they have to stop their actions, they have to STOP. Or, they get arrested which I wish would happen more often.


@Jeff Tom

So are you OK with cocaine-addicted CEOs making millions of dollars while the common man getting paid $8/hour is rebuked for forgetting to write a customer's name on a cup? The CEOs are parasites too, who make a killing even if they screw up.

As for independent cafes thriving in Seattle, yes I know that, it's an anomaly though. The bikini-wearing baristas at coffee stands also don't exist south of Portland or east of Bend. Point is, your claim doesn't apply to 95% of Americans who have seen their local coffee shops disappear.

Saying health care is not a right is like someone in China saying voting is not a right... It's the slogan of the oppressor.


@Time To GO!

Any moment now you're going to enthusiastically cheer the idea of bringing back slavery.

Coffee Soldier

Just ignore Blane maybe he/she will go back under whatever rock it crawled out from!

I'm very surprised that with our company's banner 3rd quarter that we did not see a bonus come out for barista/shift supervisors. I was hoping for them!

Coffee Drinker

re " Point is, your claim doesn't apply to 95% of Americans who have seen their local coffee shops disappear."

Actually not true in my experience. Have lived in Seattle area for decades, AZ some years, now NC coast. Where I live now there's ONE tiny Starbucks, an indie chain that roasts its own, has 3 locations, and multiple other indies (whose quality varies). Starbucks gets high traffic during tourist season because tourists don't know better during their short time here.

This summer I went indie, despite being a Starbucks loyal of several decades; I grew tired of the rancid taste which I'm told on this forum is due to lack of cleaning--I believe that's the case here as well. When the tourist season slows I'll talke to the SM about it again, but during this busy time, I won't ask them to delay a long line and clean the machines properly.

Also re your comment about Portland and Bend: the indie baristas here wear whatever and it's awesome to see color, style, beach wear. Some are pretty risque, others at least cover themselves (no bikinis tho.)

I'm still a Starbucks loyalist but I have to admit, some indies are seriously competing now. YMMV.


@Blane. Hmmm. You don't seem to be appreciated on this site. I'm okay if you want to find something else to amuse yourself with.


Coffee Drinker, you sound like you may be in the Nags Head /Kitty Hawk area. If so, you are talking about Front Porch Coffee. They have great coffee IMHO. The Sbux in Kitty Hawk is real small.

Darth Sidamo

Want proof? Google it. Not Hard. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zp-heller/spilling-the-beans-about_b_205497.html

As far as the other it may vary from area to area, but in Indianapolis Starbucks has routinely outbid local coffee shops in the few decent locations, even when there is a store literally right across the street in order to suppress competition. Most of the stores that were closed Starbucks still pays rent on in order to prevent another coffee shop from opening in its place.

3925 E Southport Road, Indianapolis, IN
6815 S. Emerson Avenue, Indianapolis, IN
4850 East Southport Road, Indianapolis, IN

or in another location

1011 N. State Rd 135
Greenwood, IN 46142
311 South State Road 135
Greenwood, IN 46142
895 S State Road 135
Greenwood, IN 46143



So you're saying that this website is only for brainwashed zombies who can't think for themselves, or for cowardly conformists who giggle and snicker at strangers and say "you ain't from the parts" when someone without a Starbucks cup in hand wanders by?


@Coffee Soldier

Everybody just ignore Coffee Soldier, especially when he's beating his wife or calling the cops because he spotted a Hippy. Just let him be the thug he is.


@Darth Sidamo

They don't search because they don't want to know; they're conformists, unable to think for themselves and too cowardly to try. If Starbucks were found to be dumping toxic sludge into a kindergarten playroom, they'd find some reason to reject the facts and support Starbucks, because in their tiny minds "might makes right".


"Most of the stores that were closed Starbucks still pays rent on in order to prevent another coffee shop from opening in its place."

Maybe in some alternate universe, but if Starbucks is paying rent on empty stores it is because they signed long term leases they can't buy their way out of.

I think you'll find that the former Starbuck stores are empty because the economy is hurting and few small businesses are willing or able to open with so much uncertainty.

Darth Sidamo

If you drive by them you will notice that most still have some furniture. This is because according to the lease in many they must keep it in the store in order for to correspond to the terms of the lease (needs to stay "operable in order for it to be valid"). I have worked at two stores that closed (both which returned profit) and over time the property owner was one of our regulars at one store. This store, being in the center of a suburb needed something to attract people to the downtown part of it. Because of this they courted and were thrilled by the prospect of a Starbucks opening. Three years after it closed, they are still trying to get Starbucks to break the lease because that side of the suburb is dead without a tenant that brings people to it. Being another Starbucks a few miles away they will not give up this location in the chance that a competitor move in.

Barista Ben

If you want hours it's pretty easy to get hours. I've worked for sbux for 5+ years now - barista for the first 2 then shift then ASM and in the entire time I've never had an issue with hours or making benefits. I've always had medical through the company. The only people I've ever seen have problems are the partners who have really bad availability (for example they can only work 4 hour shifts and only register because they just can't handle bar and they can't open or close.). Those are the type who sometimes have issues. Or the partners who are just awful and the managers are too timid just to fire them so they get few hours - but they tend to not want benefits.

Man when I first started out as a shift I was getting 40 hours a week and I had to tell my manager I needed less cause of school. We ended up having me at about 25-30 which was perfect.

Coffee Soldier

Interesting..I wouldn't beat my wife but my husband just got a good chuckle at you assuming I was some sort of vicious male! Thanks Blane for the laugh!

I use Coffee Soldier because I was in the military for 12 years in my prior career.

It seems to me that you are new to the site and have a very negative perception of Starbucks and nearly all your posts in this thread are negative or pot stirring type. Why is that? I hope reading post by others will help you see what a great company Sbux is. Or maybe you are just a negative nancy type person to begin with in life!


@Barista Ben

One area where baristas were not able to get benefits nor hours was a region called "California". It's the same region were Starbucks managers were caught stealing tips from baristas across the state, leading to a class action lawsuit and an unfair ruling by a pro-business judge. The law however was clear about the tips issue; the judge chose to disregard the law.

A couple times when I was in Seattle I asked what was the problem with the California stores and I got replies like "all the stores in CA are screwed up" and "they only hire high school kids down there".


To Waltie and Barista Ben, Of course if you don't have open avail you won't get hours..duh...I think this is more of an issue at cafe stores....I've worked at 2 drive thrus and had no problem getting 40 hours a week. I am referring to people who HAVE 24/7 availability and still struggle for hours.....maybe you didn't read my comment closely...

My cafe store will have 2 people on register and a floater marking cups...and they won't allow you to enter in all the modifiers (I do know about that,I've been around for 5 years too)..takes too much time, in fact the register person is pretty much just a robot entering in the drinks...the floater does all the talking and writing...for both registers...customers get really confused because she is trying to talk to 2 people and write on cups..and how nice for the register person, just a droid with no customer connection.....all for that 30 min number....just wish there was a better way, but I'm transferring to a drive thru to get more hours so I guess it is all a mute point....thank you for listening:)


I have open availability all day everyday. I am a shift. Extremely strong on bar, float, and register. I can't get 30 hours a week.

Coffee Soldier

How many shift supervisors does your store have? The problem might be shift compliment. You could have 3 SS and a SM and everyone can happily work just about 40 hours the problem becomes if you have 4 or 5 shift supervisors it then gets into shift compliment and labor cost and percents. I would suggest straight up asking your SM what's up!?

Barista Ben

If you have open avail and you don't suck AND your store isn't a slow store/over staffed then chances are your manager isn't a very strong manager. Keep in mind they are just people and sometimes those people aren't very good. Strong partners at my store get hours they want because they are great partners and I WANT them there 40 hours.

Also I am a busy cafe store.


"My cafe store will have 2 people on register and a floater marking cups...and they won't allow you to enter in all the modifiers"

Well, there's your answer right there. Whoever is "managing" your store is a bad manager who doesn't understand his or her job.


Proper deployment would not have a floater marking cups if you have two register partners. The register partners should be engaging the customer and taking their orders and handing off the marked cups. This also will help to keep the line moving steadily and prevent it from choking when you get the occasional big order. A big pet peeve of mine is when the register partners don't engage customers and ring too quickly and then you get thirty customers standing by the handoff plane grabbing at whatever comes their way -- mass confusion is usually the result.

And as far as labor goes... can any managers out there give me a clue as to what the current rule for management staffing should be for a store? It's been a while since I was a manager. But I'm currently a shift, and our store is having its hours reduced. Basically, there are going to be 14 management shifts a week (one opener and one closer, 7 days a week). We only have three management positions (SM and two shifts) currently on staff due a departing SS. My DM doesn't want to hire another SS because it's possible to run the store with what we have -- but I feel like this drastically reduces the flexibility of the store and means that I nor my two fellow management partners will ever be able to request more than one additional day off at a time. Is this the way it's supposed to be going these days? Because if so, time to start looking for a new job that can both promise me PTO and actually allow me to use it, too.

Time To GO!

@Blane. Slavery? No. I left on my own will and didn't choose to stick around to watch you people attempt to destroy other people's lives. I call the police on any union activity I see in Starbucks stores for harassment.

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