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January 18, 2012


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Partners (especially shifts) get transferred all the time. Working for a huge corporation is a double-edged sword in that respect.

Coffee Soldier

I've never seen/heard of someone not being asked to transfer. I have seen shifts be talked into it by DM's with the promise of it being for their development and even given a raise like .25-.40 more cents an hour to go 10 more minutes down the road but never have I heard of just sending someone over to become a permanent partner, especially in the way this letter states. Good luck if this is the case!


Personally, I think you need to be talking to your SM and DM to find out what is really going on, not asking the internet community. Something is amiss here; good luck in sorting it out!


Have you contacted your previous SM or talked to your
DM about it? Only they know why, so only they have the answers. Good luck!

Starbucks Gossip webmaster

The comments prompted me to notice that his last line was cut off (I've added it now). He wrote:

Just wondering, I can't seem to get a hold of my SM. Thanks!


Weird. Cant get a hold of the SM? So this just happened and a day later you can't get a hold of them or what? I mean, as an SM, I work 40 hours a week and am there 5 out of 7 days a week.

Anyways, you need to ask your SM/DM.

I have never heard of this happening, either, usually people WANT to become shifts and they are offered a transfer or they transfer because its closer to home, etc.

That being said, a forced transfer is probably not against company policy, just not a very nice thing to do.

Usually you're only "forced" when you start dating/sleeping with someone at your store...

Just a Barista

Wow, this sounds totally bizarre. Are you in the United States? While we may work for a large corporation, baristas and shifts are not chattel. A normal procedure would be for a manager to ASK if you would be interested in going to another store or even begging you to help out the other store for a time certain. They could of course say that your current performance is lacking and they feel this is a good opportunity or conversely that this is an opportunity for you to advance blah, blah, corporate speak, BUT they do have to ask you if you can make this change or want to make this change.Because, of course, you could say no and call their bluff. AND, they could let you go. All in all, a totally strange lack of communication by all parties in the chain of command.

Starbucks Gossip webmaster

I have let Kevin, the transferred employee, know that his letter has been posted and that he should stop by here and answer reader questions.

Starbucks Gossip webmaster

Just a reminder that you can now subscribe to the comment RSS feeds.


No offense to the original poster, but I find it hard to trust the word of somebody who would immediately post a query on the internet before asking the SM, the other SM, DM, etc.


And, yes, I know he said he hasn't heard back from the SM, but how long did he wait? A few hours? A day? Call the DM? say something to the SM at the store where he worked a shift?

You know who you ask last? The internet.


BUT they do have to ask you if you can make this change or want to make this change.

Where' s that carved in stone?

Signed - one of the gazillion folks in the US told their job just moved down the road. Be there or we'll mail you your last paycheck.

Venti Urnex Latte

In "How Starbucks Saved My Life," I believe that the author was moved from the Upper West Side to Bronxville, to be nearer his home. I think that he was told he was being relocated, not asked. Please correct me if I am wrong.


Call Business Practice. They can force you to transfer locations without consent unless there has been an inapproriate relationship. Now people get transferred all the time under the "incentive" system where the Corporate powers that be state that you don't have to transfer but if you don't you will never, ever get considered ever in your life for a promotion. This incentive system has been used quite frequently in "encouraging" store managers to take over two stores for roughly the same amount of money (I believe the going rate is $75 extra a week for an extra store). DMs and RDs have still not quite grasped the concept that working a store manager to death (and that promise of a promotion is seriously the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow--fiction) to save themselves the trouble and expense of hiring someone does not actually make fiscal sense. Since typically that store manager gets burnt. Quickly.


Sorry should say cannot force you to transfer...


Starbucks cannot force anybody to transfer, but as the business demands on a store change, the compliment of shifts and baristas fluctuates. For example, a store that used to earn six shift supervisors last year may only earn enough for five supervisors this year, therefor somebody will either have to transfer, step down, or leave the the company.

So, no, nobody is forced to transfer, but a business decision will have to be made, weighing both what is best of the company and what is best for the partners.

It's not supposed to come as a surprise, of course, but it rarely, if ever, does. There is just too much about this partner's story that doesn't make sense for me to take it all on face value.


Well the problem with the story is that it's all panic based on hearsay. "I heard you were transferring...I heard you're the transfer..." Ok well people mishear things all the time, especially in Starbucks where everyone is usually too busy to spend a lot of time adequately explaining situations like this. Sounds like classic miscommunication, and it's pretty silly that the partner decided to become more concerned just because the SM was temporarily unavailable. They're a manager, I'm going to toss a wild guess and say they're busy or distracted at the moment. Go in when you know the manager is working and confront them face-to-face if you're so distraught.

The Moar You Know

"Does anyone know why a high performing shift who leads his store's coffee master program would be forced to transfer?"

Yes, but first you need to talk to some people in the following order:

1. Your new store SM.
2. Your old store SM.

if neither one of them have any answers for you, you can try your DM, but my experience with them is that they do not want to hear from rank and file, not now, not ever.

Now, there are some possibilities as to "why a high performing shift who leads his store's coffee master program would be forced to transfer?" None of them are likely but any of them are possible:

1. You are not in fact "a high performing shift" and this is your last chance before you're told to hit the road.
2. Everyone at your old store hates you in spite of the fact that you do a good job (this got one of my former co-workers "involuntarily transferred" to a store as far as could be found from his home, in hopes he would quit. He did.).
3. Your old SM specifically does not like you or has a personality issue with you (this happened frequently in some stores in my district, thankfully not mine).
4. Your old store is about to be closed (this has been happening a lot lately).
5. You are suspected of theft and they want to see if the mysterious underages/stock variances follow you to the new location.

Frankly, if this all went down as you claim, you're on very thin ice with somebody above your pay grade and you need to figure out why ASAP, without pissing them off in the process. Best of luck.


Classic SBux Lack of Communication and Lack of Consideration. I'm not sure which is worse. In my experience there, you're either "IN", or "OUT".


So the new store's SM said "I heard you were the new shift transferring here"

did you then say "No, it's my understanding that I am only covering a shift. What is this about transferring?" and then have dialogue. or did you just go with it?

IF you asked the SM of the new store, I don't know why their response wouldn't be included in your question to the blog.


Im going with Moar here..thats whats going on.


Yes, posting on a random blog. That will give you lots of answers. Not. Take the right route. This is very unprofessional.


I get the feeling there is more to this then just picking up an emgergency shift.

I <3 music

Jerking people around is unprofessional. Seeking advice from people who may have insight is wise. Help out if you want. The slamming of the partner here is speculation.


I was transferred twice without more than a day's notice.


I think it sucks that you have to do 5 closes (unless it's by choice, then everyone is happy). Must be awful for work/life balance

Coffee Soldier

No thread about moving back up the list from #98 to 78 or 73 I forget now that I am home for the day...on the fortune 100 top places to work?


Uhhh, I'm so confused....so, this person has been with SBUX for 4 years and can't figure out how to find out what is going on? Maybe that answers the question.

Jezreel Ricafort

I think the management must something about reshuffling of all staff and ask their own conveniency and comfotability on the new arrange timing.

suzy coffee

this shift did all they could at the time. they did everything right. trying to get the previous sm to talk to them was key. not getting an answer or being told before hand was unprofessional on the sm end. it sounds like this wasn't handled well by management. if people from another store no more than you do, you had poor leadership. if your reviews are all good, and your accomplishments are as you say, your manager may not have wanted you to leave and they didn't get a choice either.


@coffeesoilder of course not. He only wants blather like this "topic" not something that is actually about starbucks and never anything positive.


You work for Starbucks not for a particular store or manager or district for that matter. If you DM or SM wants you to transfer thats pretty much all that is needed to transfer. I've transferred people in and out of my stores in the past. When I was am approached by my DM or another SM asking for a particular partner and I had no problem with the transfer it was a done deal. If however, I wanted to keep that partner I would fight tooth and nail to keep that partner. Sometimes I got to keep that partner sometimes I didn't.
Many times its a skill set that is transferring and many many other times its a personality that is being transferred. Not sure why your old manager is "out of touch" now. Kinda douchey if you ask me.
Reach out to your DM and ask why you were transferred. Many times you just hear that the store you transferred to needs your particular skill set, availability or they just really needed help. Maybe its a high profile store that can not be understaffed at all. This happened a lot to me in Chicago. Other stores in the district would have to give up the high performers to the store across the street from the regional office. Of course the reverse is also true... underperforming partners got to "transfer" to other, lower profile stores.
Best bet is to just ask honest answers from your DM(s). If they are snakes (there are those out there) they will give you a straight answer.


Hi, I'm the partner that sent in the e-mail we're all discussing. I'm so sorry I didn't get back to this inquiry, as I hadn't realized that it was posted, let alone had been sitting up here for days and days. Sorry guys! I'm so thankful for your posts, some of you gave some great advice, thanks!

That said, here's the deal: my SM was hard to get in touch with because he runs two stores and is seemingly never in ours (a small cafe location) because his drive-thru across town is a high-volume location. On two separate occasions after sending my e-mail to Starbucksgossip, he responded to me via text and assured me that I wasn't transferring out.

HOWEVER, last Wednesday my DM dropped in to do an unannounced QASA inspection (not typical behavior, but another of her stores just got a low-80s score and she's on edge) and asked me if I could spare a minute for a one-on-one.

As it turns out, I am going to be transferring, but only after (drum roll, please) I finish my RMT! Our district's short on SMs (clearly), and I am (despite some of the comment's implications) a high-performing shift and coffee master (under both the old and new master programs, woot). That said, I'm super psyched to get through RMT and ASM so I can get behind the wheel of my very own store. Thanks for all of your comments!


just curious, are u in US stores?



Yeah I just transferred to move up to shift and I was asked several times because it was a much higher volume than my previous stores. (The DM in fact wanted me to test drive the store before making a final decision).

The only thing about the situation I raised an eyebrow to was your "chain of command". Who cares if the store you're covering thinks you're the new shift? You're boss is your SM. For me, if my SM (or DM for that matter) doesn't tell me I'm transferring, I'm not. Another SM doesn't give that order. That'd be like an SM going into another store and changing everything. It's just not their call and heads would roll I imagine if it happened. At least in my experience.

Again, congrats!


This was my old store managers primary way of doing away with "unsatisfactory" employees she no longer liked, pawn them off on someone else with no warning to them. Yes it isn't a "forced transfer", but rather a "transfer or I'll find some other way to outright fire you." Your always better off leaving that situation. If they want you gone, they will always find a way to get rid of you.

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