Starbucks: A Bad Taste in My Mouth  

I love coffee. I could bathe in it I love it so much. You could hook me up to an IV and just pump it into my veins (I still need to taste it though). I love the smell of it, the taste, the way it dances across my tongue and trickles down my throat. The way the smell can transport me to far off places and a really really good cup (think Illy or Swings in DC and Harbor Perk in Ashtabula) is almost orgasmic. I just absolutely love really good coffee. And all of this is a way for me to say, I hate Starbucks.

Starbucks tastes burnt to me.

I have described it that way for EVER. I can drink their iced coffee with heavy cream and lots of splenda (I don't do refined sugars right now, it's a cleansing ritual), but I can't force myself to try and even think of doing it during the day time, when it's hot and fresh. Hot and Fresh Starbucks is like asking to taste dreck.

Of course, there have also been those employment issues too for Starbucks. Like when they lost that case in California where they were not paying their shift supervisors enough and those shifters were then sharing tips with the other employees, as is Starbucks policy:

Starbucks has been ordered to pay $105 million in tips to California baristas, after losing a class-action lawsuit. The court ruled that shift-supervisors illegally took a portion of employees tips, since there is a state law prohibiting managers and supervisors from sharing such tips. Starbucks company policy states all tips are to be divided among all workers, regardless of position. The ruling further states Starbucks must immediately change their tip policy to conform with California law.

Starbucks is appealing both rulings, claiming shift supervisors have the same duties as baristas and should be rewarded for superior customer service. While the appeal is pending Starbucks has stated that they will not be refunding any tips to baristas and will not be changing their tip policy. Similar lawsuits have been filed in Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Starbucks had been expanding at exponential rates, kind of like how Wal-Mart has, like a virus. And I really never could figure out tastes like it's burnt and I feel pretty much just like The Writing-on-the-Wal about them:

The way this has operated in the past was for them to open many stores in a region and drive out local coffee shops. Starbucks would open stores until the new ones were actually draining business from existing ones, not just competitors.

Like Walmart they could afford to do this since more profitable stores elsewhere could subsidize the costs in the new region. The fact that they have made their name selling overpriced burnt-tasting coffee just adds to the interest in seeing them stumble.

And I do agree, and then there was the announcement about 300 more store closings (didn't they shut down 800 this past December/November? or was that just a Stephen Colbert Show goof?). That's 6700 freshly unemployed and many folks. And as much as I hate their coffee, their expansion and their tipping policies, I still wouldn't want to be the person who came to work today to find out, that's it. It really just sucks. It sucks more from a worker point of view (and let's face it we're talking about a lot of moms and single women here) than even their sucky coffee tastes. All in all, Starbucks just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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