Coffee break- Starbucks is getting depressing


Coffee_manI’m in my neighborhood Starbucks and if it’s not my imagination it seems a little down in here.  I’ve noticed that in a number of the coffee shops since the big announcement recently that the chain would be closing 600 US stores in lower traffic areas.  The release stated that the closures would begin later this year and be completed sometime next year but the atmosphere is almost like it’s started already.  The problem is that employees have no idea yet which stores are going to be closed so it’s like having a guillotine is hanging over their heads.  I’m sure Starbucks will not fire everyone affected but lets face it there’d be no point in closing the stores yet keeping all the employees.  Store closures are to save money after all and workers present the lion’s share of potential cost savings, if you break it down to its cold-hearted base.  It’s no wonder the workers are a bit jumpy these days.  With such a long way to go it’s going to be a long depressed spell in most of the stores.

The worst part about these store closures to me, the customer, is how they will almost certainly be the locations with the lowest traffic.  These are invariably the better places to work for extended periods as they are not as distracting as the super busy ones that no doubt have much higher sales and thus make the protected Starbucks list.  When I think about my favorite Starbucks stores I can almost bet they will all be closed which is sad for me and all the other coffee shop warriors out there.  It also helps explain why the little independent (read: no chains) coffee shops have such a hard time making a go of it.  Low traffic = store closures.  So sad.



In my travels over the past, I’ve three times come across locations where there was…seriously now…a Starbucks across the street / mall / whatever from a Starbucks. I always get a laugh because I think of Lewis Black when I see it. But it does make it kind of hard to sympathize with the company. By the looks of it, there isn’t a single block in midtown Manhattan without a Starbucks somewhere.


I’d guess — based on the constantly changing faces at my local stores — that Starbucks has enough employee turnover (attrition) that they don’t have to lay off too many employees.


Its sad but it’s capitalism. There is just an oversupply of places to buy a cup of joe and a scone that is the bottom line. Here in the PNW we have coffee places on every corner Starbucks included. In my town of 50K people there are at least 7 Starbuck’s if you count the small one’s within supermarkets! and probably 25 other independents and chains. We drink a lot of coffee here but c’mon! Now if folks like you and me would be willing to pay a monthly fee to use the facilities, internet etc, maybe that many places would work, but of course that business model would not fly.

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