Tina K. Russell

July 5, 2008

Latte’s Inferno

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 1:31 am

Bwahahahahahaa! Starbucks is ailing.

Lax Real Estate Decisions Hurt Starbucks – NYTimes.com
This week, in an announcement that surprised even analysts who have grown accustomed to bad news from Starbucks, the company said it would shutter 600 “underperforming stores,” and significantly scale back plans to open new outlets.

All I know about Starbucks is that you pay extra for coffee because of the “experience,” the experience of being visually bombarded with pitches for movies, DVDs, bottled water, stuffed animals, and various other non-beverage products littered about the store in fancy displays (all a part of Starbucks’s determined effort to dilute its brand as much as possible), the experience of the drink always being the same no matter where you go, the experience of store employees who do not identify with the brand in the slightest, the experience of opaque and bizarre names for drink sizes that I always rebel against by asking for “the biggest one” (that, and I just can’t remember them), the experience of no free Wi-Fi, which every coffee shop worth half a bean has these days. Starbucks is a collective blight upon humanity, punishment for our vanity, our attempts to look trendy. We deserve it, I suppose, but so do they.

In some cases, brokers say, Starbucks misjudged the risks of putting stores close to each other, leading to the decline in same-store sales that the company started reporting for the first time in its history this year.

Wow, they’ve finally learned what we knew all along: that a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks is a really dumb idea. Oh, and look at this:

Many analysts also want to see Starbucks slow the growth of its licensed stores, which appear in bookstores and supermarkets and which can siphon traffic from more profitable company-owned locations.

For example, David Palmer, an analyst who covers the company for UBS Equity Research, said that near his home in Westbury, N.Y., there is a company-owned Starbucks within a hundred yards of a Starbucks inside a Barnes & Noble, which in turn is within a few hundred yards of a Starbucks inside a Stop & Shop supermarket.

There are actually several such examples in Eugene. I’m not sure if we have the triple threat quite like that, but there are several areas where you can emerge from a grocery store with a Starbucks in it to find a stand-alone Starbucks right next door.

I always wondered, you know, if they’re going to have conjoined Starbuckses, maybe they ought to brand one of them differently, like “Starbucks: Women’s Edition,” or “Starbucks for Travelers” or something. (I’d like a “Science Fiction Starbucks,” myself.) Sure, it’s just more vanity, but they might as well; otherwise, it merely sends the message that either one is “Starbucks for People who are Really, Really Lazy” or “Starbucks Just Had to Take Both Lots for Themselves, Didn’t They?”

Oh, and here’s something from back at the beginning of the article:

Starbucks wants to get back to its roots to help turn around its ailing fortunes. It brought back the pioneering chief executive Howard Schultz to run the coffee chain day to day, and it has introduced a new blend, Pike Place Roast, that harks back to the location of its first Seattle store.

Yeah, a new kind of coffee! Back to basics! That’ll turn everything around.

Remember, Starbucks is really just a quaint, mom-and-pop operation. Anyone who says otherwise is probably okay just drinking hot cocoa.



  1. There can never be enough outlets of any type for coffee. Fortunately we are not civilized enough up here to have a Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts is it. And if you want the real high test stuff then you have to go to one of the University libraries or book stores. And then there are the little local real Mom and Pop restaurants “… where the coffee tastes like diesel fuel”.

    What I am discovering is that there is very little original though in the world especially when it comes to business. Better to be mediocre and safe than daring and original.
    A big stumbling block for corporate goals is that they have to deliver some kind a usable product or at least the perception of a usable product in order to get your money.

    Burger King is the big free hot WiFi spot up here.

    Comment by Joanna — July 5, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  2. Doh!!!
    original thought, not though ….

    link to the song:
    Actually the local Mom and Pop Coffee is great, I don’t know how she got that line …..

    Too many project going on at once here causing disjointed thoughts. Hope you are having a great weekend.

    Comment by Joanna — July 5, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

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