Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


how I'll dream fast asleep
July 18, 2008 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Browse the demise of Starbucks' stores in this searchable list of all 600 closures.
posted by plexi (176 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Darn, the one in my neighborhood isn't on the list.
posted by gurple at 2:44 PM on July 18, 2008


Somebody please make a heatmap of this. In shades of overpriced, watery brown.
posted by felix betachat at 2:45 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


What amazes me about this post isn't the number of Starbuck's that have closed, but the fact The Huffington Post is still open.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:47 PM on July 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


-600 and counting...


/sighs and admits that she sometimes drinks Starbucks...
posted by gracious floor at 2:47 PM on July 18, 2008


This is incredible! 600 Starbucks locations that are tied for first place as my favorite Starbucks location have all been axed! ... of course they're all also tied for last place...
posted by Creosote at 2:48 PM on July 18, 2008


Lewis Black must really be getting a kick outta this.
posted by pyrex at 2:49 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Crap, now I'll have to go across the street.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:50 PM on July 18, 2008 [36 favorites]


Wow, California and Florida really lost a bunch! Here in Vancouver, the only Starbucks to close was the one that caught fire when the Taco Del Mar next door exploded a few months ago... (which is a crazy story in itself...) cbc news story

There's a ton of new one's here... and more coming.
posted by weezy at 2:52 PM on July 18, 2008


With the new advent of Starbucks inside Safeway/Vons, here in California we actually have instances of two Starbucksen in ONE PARKING LOT. You don't even have to cross the street.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:55 PM on July 18, 2008


With the new advent of Starbucks inside Safeway/Vons, here in California we actually have instances of two Starbucksen in ONE PARKING LOT. You don't even have to cross the street.

I'm thinking Buridan's Ass (Yuppie version).
posted by felix betachat at 2:57 PM on July 18, 2008


Crap, now I'll have to go across the street.

The one that's about a block away from me is still open. The one that's about two blocks in the opposite direction got axed. I'm beginning to understand why they have a problem.
posted by Tehanu at 2:59 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Two of these are within a mile radius of my house. That leaves another 48 remaining, according to yelp. (Starbucks's own search stops after 10 stores)
posted by aubilenon at 3:01 PM on July 18, 2008


The ones that closed around me are the ones that have a lot of seating and fairly low traffic. While they were always full it was mostly people sitting around working and chatting. The ones that remained open don't have much seating, but have a constant stream of people stopping in on their way to somewhere else. I guess it's hard to make money when a large part of your clientele nurse a cup of coffee for an hour and then go back for a 25 cent refill.

Hopefully they can finally get rid of the notion of being a neighborhood coffeeshop if the remaining stores are there just to sell a lot of product.
posted by mikesch at 3:01 PM on July 18, 2008


weezy, I'm pretty sure you guys are part of that lucrative "overseas development," now that your dollar is worth more.

Oddly, the one Starbucks I ever went to is closing. The one in the Metreon.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:02 PM on July 18, 2008


Muncie is a one Starbucks town, that one being barely larger than a hall closet and built in the past couple of years. Amazingly, it isn't on the kill list.
I say "amazingly" because...well...it would be Muncie karma for the only Starbucks to close, no matter how you feel about the company.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:06 PM on July 18, 2008


I'm still waiting for the mashup that lets you erase Starbucks location with a click of your mouse and an orbiting energy weapons platform.

Because I would totally pay to play that game.
posted by loquacious at 3:07 PM on July 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


3207 15TH AVE E 328 15TH AVE E SEATTLE WA

I'm surprised this one wasn't closed sooner. It's hidden away and a much better coffee shop (Victrola) is right across the street.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:09 PM on July 18, 2008


I'm sure you're all thrilled that the Starbucks in Colby Kansas is still alive and kicking.
posted by Science! at 3:10 PM on July 18, 2008


Happily none of the three within 500 feet of my office (absolutely not an exaggeration, 42nd and 3rd, NYC) is closing.
posted by The Bellman at 3:12 PM on July 18, 2008


Maybe they will close the Barnes & Noble ones and we can actually have more books!
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:12 PM on July 18, 2008


Did any of them threaten to punch you in the dick for ordering espresso over ice?
posted by ericb at 3:13 PM on July 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


600 stores. Like who didn't see this coming? How many thought "Hmm, they're opening another Starbucks almost right across the street from that one.... even McDonalds doesn't do this unless it's a very busy street.... what are they thinking?"

They weren't thinking apparently. Like when they ditched the manual machines for automatic powder. Numbskulls.
posted by three blind mice at 3:14 PM on July 18, 2008


9885 1ST & SIERRA 50 N SIERRA ST RENO NV

This one is in downtown Reno, a literal stones throw away from two classic independent coffee shops, Java Jungle and Dreamers. I am proud of the local shops in my neck of the woods.
posted by clearly at 3:15 PM on July 18, 2008


But now where will I go to buy cutting edge music?
posted by yoink at 3:15 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Good riddance. They have the words "starbucks coffee" in their logo, but it should really be "starbucks dessert drinks." Their actual coffee is about as good as Denny's.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:17 PM on July 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


.

(with a double-twist, no fat whip extra hot)
posted by rokusan at 3:17 PM on July 18, 2008


I'm sure you're all thrilled that the Starbucks in Colby Kansas is still alive and kicking.

You mean the one on the I-70 corridor? I have a feeling that's a fairly profitable store. Cheap land, cheap labor and you're the only Starbucks for hours on a heavily used interstate.

I would love to see how what models they used to determine store locations and how off they were with these store closures. Does anyone know? Surely at the rate they were opening stores they had to be pulling data from somewhere.
posted by geoff. at 3:19 PM on July 18, 2008


within 500 feet of my office... 42nd and 3rd...

Meetup!

(or FOOD-FIGHT!, whichever)
posted by rokusan at 3:19 PM on July 18, 2008


Perhaps not surprisingly (since they all always seem pretty busy) all FOUR locations within about five minutes of my house remain open (3 of which are across the street from one another - one actual store location, two in-grocery store locations).
posted by The Gooch at 3:21 PM on July 18, 2008


Did any of them threaten to punch you in the dick for ordering espresso over ice?

Isn't that why people go to Starbucks in the first place?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:22 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


It looks like they're maintaining the Astor Place, Manhattan situation with a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks. There used to be a nearby Barnes and Noble, with a Starbucks inside, so I could look out the window of my college building, which houses one of the Starbucks, and see two other Starbucks.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:25 PM on July 18, 2008


"11097 CRENSHAW & VERNON 4371 CRENSHAW BLVD LOS ANGELES CA
11321 VERMONT & MLK 1005 W MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD LOS ANGELES CA"

I thought it was interesting that these two were closing, because they're kinda on the outskirts of rougher areas that have been gentrifying (if I recall my geography correctly). I know that a friend who lives in Boyle Heights was talking about how they'd just overcome what he called the "Starbucks redline" by getting one in a his predominantly Latino neighborhood. For some reason, Starbucks has been slower to expand into the Mexican areas than the black neighborhoods.

Further, looking at Michigan, it's interesting to see how many of those are in formerly-burgeoning McMansion exurbs, and areas hit harder by high gas costs (low density areas). That said, I'm still kind of surprised that the one in Okemos's Meridian Mall is closing, as that's a local destination mall, and I'd have figured that they could support a Starbucks. Maybe Isaac (speicus) will be along in a moment to talk more about it, since that's his hometown.
posted by klangklangston at 3:27 PM on July 18, 2008


would love to see how what models they used to determine store locations and how off they were with these store closures. Does anyone know?

1. Open store.
2. ?????
3. Profit!
posted by jimmythefish at 3:30 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whew! I was afraid we'd lose one (or both!) of the Starbucks in my town... which are .1 miles apart and share a parking lot. However would we survive?
posted by workerant at 3:33 PM on July 18, 2008


Good riddance. They have the words "starbucks coffee" in their logo, but it should really be "starbucks dessert drinks." Their actual coffee is about as good as Denny's.

Considerably worse, IMHO.
posted by !Jim at 3:34 PM on July 18, 2008


Sadly, the one at the end of my block (well, block and a half), that causes a complete clusterfsck in traffic every week day morning with its brain dead drive up window crew is remaining open. Crappy, stinky burnt coffee smell that wafts over my neighborhood at all hours, throwaway litter left and right, traffic problems galore, and the frickin' attitude those Starbucks customers cop when you call them on their stupid traffic moves, really make hope there will be a round 2 of closings, prominently featuring my local Starbucks, soon.

It's a popular tax-paying enterprise, but a damn local nuisance, and a lousy neighbor, nonetheless.
posted by paulsc at 3:35 PM on July 18, 2008


I am told that Winter is unhappy because it looks like he hasn't visited all of the ones that will be closing and may not be able to get to them all.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:40 PM on July 18, 2008


The two in Santa Monica are a block apart. One used to be a Dietrich's.
posted by RakDaddy at 3:42 PM on July 18, 2008


You do realize that this was part of the plan all along, right? You saturate an area to drive out the competition, then close up the extra stores and leave the neighborhood with enough coffee capacity now that there's no other choice.

The day I find an indie coffee house that does a decent hot chocolate, instead of just dumping hershey's syrup in warm milk, will be a happy day for me, and a sad day for starbucks. assuming this mystical shop opens up nearer to my workplace than the two equidistant starbucks that aren't closing.
posted by nomisxid at 3:48 PM on July 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Man, at least they'll put some espresso over ice if I ask for it unlike some coffee shops mentioned recently.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 3:48 PM on July 18, 2008


Vente schadenfreude, three shots, extra whip.
posted by mosk at 3:51 PM on July 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


You do realize that this was part of the plan all along, right? You saturate an area to drive out the competition, then close up the extra stores and leave the neighborhood with enough coffee capacity now that there's no other choice.

Apparently, that strategy actually tends to have the opposite effect.
posted by The Gooch at 3:58 PM on July 18, 2008


There are four different Starbucks within easy walking distance of my apartment. I really figured we'd lose one of them, but none of them are on the list. Quite a surprise.
posted by Class Goat at 3:59 PM on July 18, 2008


I figured at least one of the two in the LIRR concourse in Penn Station would close.
posted by oaf at 4:08 PM on July 18, 2008


I heard they're changing their name to Starfiftycents.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:08 PM on July 18, 2008


I don't really hate Starbucks. If I had to pick between not having a cup of coffee, and having a latte at Starbucks, I would gladly pick Starbucks. Since Starbucks is everywhere, that usually means I can get an acceptable cup of coffee.

Of course, I would rather go to an independent shop... but that's not always possible. I doubt if Starbucks just went away we'd see them replaced by indy shops. We would just be without coffee.

(Actually, I usually make good coffee at home now... so I rarely go out for coffee. But it's nice to have the option.)
posted by jrockway at 4:09 PM on July 18, 2008


So have these all closed because of over saturation, or for other reasons?
posted by Dave Faris at 4:09 PM on July 18, 2008


nm. read the second link. jumped the gun, I guess. too much caffeine.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:10 PM on July 18, 2008


3207 15TH AVE E 328 15TH AVE E SEATTLE WA

I'm surprised this one wasn't closed sooner. It's hidden away and a much better coffee shop (Victrola) is right across the street.


Blazecock Pileon: This has been my 'hood for the last 12 years. Starbucks used to be the only coffee shop on 15th. Victrola opened and quickly cut into their business. Soon, this Starbucks scaled back hours and is now on the closed list. Victrola is thriving, constantly busy, and open late. It restores my faith a little bit that an indie coffee house can open and end up forcing the closure of a Starbucks store.
posted by chupacabra at 4:16 PM on July 18, 2008


Well, what I found amazing about Starbucks is, how bad the coffee actually is.
The best coffee I found so far is at Cafe Einstein in Berlin. If you visit Berlin one day and if you like cofee then check out the coffee of Cafe Einstein!
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:19 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You mean the one on the I-70 corridor? I have a feeling that's a fairly profitable store. Cheap land, cheap labor and you're the only Starbucks for hours on a heavily used interstate.
Uh huh. It's also in a shiny new "travel plaza" which bills itself as the "oasis on the plains" (complete with a couple of fake palm trees on the edge of the parking lot) and houses sub sandwich, ice cream, and fried chicken franchises. The "we're driving from Colorado into the howling wastes of Western Kansas and OH MY GOD COFFEE!" dollar alone might not be enough to support the entire enterprise, but I'll bet it helps.
posted by brennen at 4:22 PM on July 18, 2008


Last night I was heading to the Dark Knight opener at my local mall. As we drove through the mall complex, I remarked that the Starbucks in the mall was the closest to my apartment, about a mile away. My friend replied that there was another one, less than a mile in the other direction. We both laughed about the over-saturation of Starbucks.

Both of those stores are closing.

The nearest 'real' Starbucks is now ~5 miles away; Of course, there's still a grocery store Starbucks, a local coffee chain shop, and an independent coffee shop in the same area.
posted by theclaw at 4:23 PM on July 18, 2008


I honestly can't tell you how close the nearest Starbucks is to where I'm sitting or where I am any point in a given day. I have gotten that good at completely ignoring them. Or maybe they all closed up in Dallas. I wouldn't know. I don't wanna know. In my very closed-minded perception of reality, Starbucks are simply worse than nonexistent: they are irrelevant.

I DO however know where all the Subways are in my area. Cuz THAT matters!
posted by ZachsMind at 4:24 PM on July 18, 2008


They call that market saturation strategy "cannibalism" for a reason.
posted by redhanrahan at 4:25 PM on July 18, 2008


Like jrockway, I think the Starbucks hate is overblown. They make a dull-but-competent cup of coffee. I never go to one if I know the area and know where to get good coffee--I'll often go to one if I'm traveling, because you know you won't get something ghastly. What's interesting is the narcissism of small differences that makes hating on Starbucks so crucial to, well, the MeFite demographic. Starbucks is threatening because it's like a close parody of things that middle-class would-be hipsters actually DO think is cool ("cafes with funky furniture playing jazz?! I've died and gone to heaven")--but of course it CAN'T be cool because it's ubiquitous. If dull old middle-america likes it then clearly it must be NOTHING AT ALL like what we think is cool. Hence the rabid, and absurdly overblown, denunciations.

I sometimes think that if Starbucks didn't exist people like us would have to invent it. It's much easier to define a "radical" identity by what you disapprove of than by what you approve of (after all, actually linking something is pretty uncool to begin with. In every generation there are always these kinds of "near misses" ("what, you dig Peter Paul and Mary? Man, Bob Dylan is where it's at, you dig?") that the "uncool" will think of as that which would appeal to the cool, but which the cool desperately repudiate because, well, the uncool like them.

So here's to you, Starbucks--the Norah Jones of coffee houses.
posted by yoink at 4:30 PM on July 18, 2008 [24 favorites]


They didn't mention if they were closing the Starbucks, that according to one reputable and informative news source, is located in the men's bathroom of another Starbucks.
posted by duncan42 at 4:31 PM on July 18, 2008


brennen: "The "we're driving from Colorado into the howling wastes of Western Kansas and OH MY GOD COFFEE!" dollar alone might not be enough to support the entire enterprise, but I'll bet it helps."

Hey! Some customers are driving into the howling wastes of Eastern Colorado.

For those who've never driven through Kansas to Colorado, when you hit the border you still have hours of the same thing to drive through before you reach the mountains.
posted by Science! at 4:33 PM on July 18, 2008


I was long a Starbucks hater, but I've come to enjoy their dessert-y drinks, and the one (of three in my rough vicinity, none closing) that I frequent has become (along with 2 other thriving indie shops) something of a neighborhood epicenter, where I see a lot of friends and neighbors when I pop in after dropping the kids at school, or all 4 of us troop down the street on Sunday after mass.

Despite the large amount of turnover, I've found the employees to be uniformly cheerful and friendly, if slow as hell, and the baked goods have gone from inedible to almost palatable, so I must admit I'd be sad if they closed. They also tend to be open later, which is, in emergencies, a key mark in their favor. So rail against corporate coffee, and enjoy the schadenfreude with your cardboard scone, but remember these are your neighbors that work there, and they'll be looking for new jobs in a rapidly souring economy... I don't feel good celebrating any of this.
posted by jalexei at 4:35 PM on July 18, 2008


When y'all are finished slagging the quality of Starbucks coffee, I am also keen to hear about how you don't own a television.
posted by everichon at 4:55 PM on July 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


I'm not a big coffee drinker, so for me this is just 600 less Starbucks bathrooms I can poop in without buying anything.
posted by mullacc at 4:58 PM on July 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


I like my coffee black, tepid, and with a few human hairs in it.
posted by bardic at 5:00 PM on July 18, 2008


Hating Starbucks is so 1999. If you really want to be ahead of the curve, start hating Pinkberry before it gets too big.
posted by briank at 5:01 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


...I guess all the Lefties who badmouth Starbucks will be content with longer lines at their favorite Dunkin Donuts--the place for proles to suck down their coffee with the bluye collar workers. Or those who still have jobs.
posted by Postroad at 5:02 PM on July 18, 2008


Nah man, it's those f'ing bubble tea places. I want to burn 'em all down and piss on the glowing ashes.
posted by bardic at 5:03 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


i've owned a television most of my adult life, but i only succumbed to turning it on in the last 2 years after i had an unexpected hospitalization. some of my friends used to say, 'you know that guy on tv,' and i'd stop them by saying 'i don't watch tv.' they took this to mean that i didn't watch tv all the time, and they'd persist, 'right. but you know this guy because he's all over tv.'

um, yeah.

anyway, my watching or not watching tv hasn't swayed me on starbucks. i've hit it up probably a half dozen times in the last few weeks because i've been traveling. i'd still rather patronize an indie, be it coffee or shopping for cat food. i'll take what i can get when i 'need' it, though.

and yoink, yeah ... maybe it is fashionable to hate starbucks. but they didn't invent the "cafes with funky furniture playing jazz?! ... " they appropriated it. there's a huge difference.
posted by msconduct at 5:11 PM on July 18, 2008


briank: I'm so ahead of the curve, I hate Rice to Riches.
posted by boo_radley at 5:12 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll take a double tall, half-caf, soy helping of schadenfreude.
posted by oddman at 5:13 PM on July 18, 2008


Why would Huffington Post be closed?
posted by DU at 5:13 PM on July 18, 2008


I like my local Starbucks. I know many of the people who work there, and many know me. They know my drink, and often have it made for me before I get to the cash register. They're all extremely nice to me. They all seem to like working at Starbucks. They're from all walks of life.

I like their espresso. It's not great, but I've had much worse many times.

It's not so bad.
posted by popechunk at 5:14 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Phew! The stores in locales in my where there is another Starbucks LITERALLY RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET will all remain open. They had me worried there for a moment.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:19 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


(in my city)
posted by Burhanistan at 5:20 PM on July 18, 2008


and yoink, yeah ... maybe it is fashionable to hate starbucks. but they didn't invent the "cafes with funky furniture playing jazz?! ... " they appropriated it. there's a huge difference.

"Peter, Paul and Mary aren't folk music, man; they're just like imitating folk music for the squares, y'dig?"

Yeah, I know they didn't "invent" "cafes with funky furniture playing jazz." They not only appropriated it, they did so pretty crappily (God I hate the timid faux-funky fit-out of most Starbucks--I'd rather they just had honest fast-food furniture like In'n'Out Burger). But then, "Your Favorite Independent Coffee Store" didn't invent it either, did they?

What creeps us out about Starbucks is that it's a soulless corporate imitation of something we want to be independent, individualistic, quirky. What makes us really furious, though, is that it's a close enough imitation to be recognizable.
posted by yoink at 5:21 PM on July 18, 2008


Heck, they just opened two new Starbuckses in my neighborhood. Now I don't have to drive 30 minutes to get a decent cappuccino.
posted by drinkcoffee at 5:25 PM on July 18, 2008


Starbucks remains a good place to visit if one is on the road and needs a (usually) clean place in which to poop. The rest of the argument about the coffee and the corporate stuff is immaterial.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:29 PM on July 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Maybe they will close the Barnes & Noble ones and we can actually have more books!

Those are not Starbucks. Those are Barnes and Noble Cafes that sell Starbucks coffee.

I was informed this when I tried using my Starbucks card at one of them. The girl behind the counter rolled her eyes waved her hand in the air and spoke without looking at me. That sealed the deal, starbucks people are always way too cheerful.
posted by M Edward at 5:38 PM on July 18, 2008


I have a feeling I am going to see this list posted in every indie coffee shop in Seattle (Shout out to Irwins! South Wallingford represent!)

I can't believe they only closed one in DC. When I lived there in the 90s, there was this one corner in Dupont where you could see 8 different Starbucks from the same spot.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:39 PM on July 18, 2008


I was wondering today whether a (possibly forthcoming?) severe downtown in the economy will hurt Starbucks. They're closing up due to market oversaturation, it seems, but will Starbucks purchases be one of those luxury items that continue to sell throughout hard tmes as movie tickets and lipsticks did in the Depression, or will people cut out the Starbucks visits?
posted by orange swan at 5:44 PM on July 18, 2008


I hate feeling gloaty and happy when hearing of the misfortune of others. It's just not nice. And yet, I feel both. I have just always really, really hated that chain.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:45 PM on July 18, 2008


Burhanistan, you're referring to the Starbucks at the End of the Universe.

Incredibly, awesomely, bizarrely, I once saw a punk show there that ended in predictable fashion. EVERYONE WATCH THAT VIDEO RIGHT NOW for the most insightful thinking re. modern police tactics you will ever hear!
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 5:46 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


3441 20TH & DIVISION 2045 SE DIVISION ST PORTLAND OR

Oh man I remember the shitstorm when this place moved into Seven Corners. The neighborhood was all up on arms about it, someone even went so far as to vandalize the place.

I don't understand the Starbucks hate. I don't drink it often, but as a company they're not terribly evil. They don't move in and undercut their competition with low prices to run them out of business. They give benefits even to part-timers. They may not be the creme de la creme of coffee houses, (that would be Stumptown ;) but they're not evil.
posted by mullingitover at 5:50 PM on July 18, 2008


Stumptown makes fucking mindblowing coffee that kicks the ass of lions. Truth.
posted by everichon at 5:55 PM on July 18, 2008


Their actual coffee is about as good as Denny's.

Eh, as much as I loathe what Starbucks does to perfectly good coffee beans, I can't agree with this.

Denny's coffee tastes like they use bleached ground coffee that's been left to toast on the tarpaper roof of a strip mall for several years before being brewed and filtered in dusty, dirty old straw baskets bought in bulk from thrift stores. It tastes what I could only imagine as a dirt and grass tea, oversteeped in exceedingly hot water but somehow still served tepid and frighteningly translucent. No amount of creamer or sugar changes this fact - and if you're a caffiene addict, you'll drink two or three pots before you even start to catch a buzz.

It would be nice if it tasted like something other than brewed paper. It would be nice if it even tasted like ass, but it tastes like hot, lightly colored water and paper. You're likely to get better coffee from your office coffee station at work. At least then you can dump in two or three packets of that awful nitrogen packed pre-ground they dare even suggest is somehow gourmet or anything other than emergency supplies for emergency coffee drinking.


Starbuck's coffee tastes like it was once a decent, passable bean, but they smuggled it out of the originating country in the ass end of an amphatimine-saturated burro - which they then burn alive to get the beans out. After they've sifted through the ashes of burros for their ill-gotten, ass-smuggled beans, they then burn the beans again just to be sure. The end result is that even their lightest, most medium of roasted beans come out as black as the bottom of the sea, as black as the inside of your shoes with your feet in them, as black as the smouldering coals of a burnt, recently tweaking burro.

Which is to say that it indeed it tastes like ass. But it'll actually get you wired. You won't be able to see the bottom of a full cup. It won't taste like paper or straw.

But it'll be uniformly bitter mud that evokes all of the stress and death and "overworked and out of time" that people in the US associate with coffee - and it won't taste anything like the relaxing, sweet, chocolate tones that a properly brewed cup of coffee or espresso has.

*pauses, sips coffee, smacks lips*

Thankfully, my coffee doesn't suck. You should be thankful, too. It's one of the few things that keeps me from activating and using the... err, from actually building an orbiting weapons platform.
posted by loquacious at 5:55 PM on July 18, 2008 [28 favorites]


You know, you could save most of these establishments if you just turned them into a Waffle House.
posted by SPrintF at 5:55 PM on July 18, 2008


they actually closed one that i go to on a semi irregular basis...
not really a big deal though, since there are three more starbuckses within a two block radius...
posted by yeoz at 6:05 PM on July 18, 2008


SPrintF: "You know, you could save most of these establishments if you just turned them into a Waffle House."

The universe is not kind enough to allow the existence of that many Waffle Houses on this planet. Maybe somewhere, sometime, but not here and now.

weeps
posted by Science! at 6:05 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll often go to one if I'm traveling, because you know you won't get something ghastly

And there ya go with the recipe for sbux success. Every store you go to, the coffee should taste identical. Market it as l33t coffee and voila.

The day I find an indie coffee house that does a decent hot chocolate, instead of just dumping hershey's syrup in warm milk, will be a happy day for me, and a sad day for starbucks.

Sbux hot chocolate really isn't that bad. Don't even use hershey's!!

My problem with them is I prefer decaf (I tend to drink a lot of coffee in one setting) and there's is the definition of bitter.
posted by jmd82 at 6:06 PM on July 18, 2008


I'm happy to see that the Starbucks in my hometown are staying open. I've been living in a place with no Starbucks and right now I am drinking canned coffee because I need the caffeine. Do you know what coffee in a can tastes like? Metal and despair.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:18 PM on July 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


On Starbucks as on most things; if you don't like a thing, a place, just ignore it and stay away. If you like it or something, then ignore what others may say who do not.
posted by Postroad at 6:20 PM on July 18, 2008


On Starbucks as on most things; if you don't like a thing, a place, just ignore it and stay away.

Meh, what would MeFi be without a bunch of know-it-alls claiming their superiority over something, anything. You take the good with the bad.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:28 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hating Starbucks is so 1999. If you really want to be ahead of the curve, start hating Pinkberry before it gets too big.

I've been waiting for an excuse to share this, which is stupid, yet I find it hilarious.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:31 PM on July 18, 2008


I am no Starbucks fan. To me they offer over burnt middling coffee, but if you look at the towns on this list I would guess they offer the best coffee in town and now it is gone. Sad.
posted by caddis at 6:39 PM on July 18, 2008


mikesch, that's too bad. I don't drink Starbucks per se, but it is a handy spot to read / loiter / people watch.
posted by wastelands at 6:44 PM on July 18, 2008


Hating Starbucks is so 1999. If you really want to be ahead of the curve, start hating Pinkberry before it gets too big.

Ironically, I was at Starbucks on Wednesday in Monterey Park (East L.A., on the "Closing" list for whatever it's worth) and there was a whole new menu of specialized drinks containing Pinkberry yogurt (I'm assuming this is a local promotion since I don't see anything about it on the Starbucks website)
posted by The Gooch at 6:47 PM on July 18, 2008


I dunno. There's a Starbucks in Blackpool, in the UK, and upon finding it both myself and my friend (American), deprived for what felt like days upon days of some of the vital necessities of civilized life-- drinkable, if not perfect, coffee and wireless-- nearly threw ourselves weeping onto its familiar green logo. There it was, exactly like every other Starbucks in the world, and we stepped into the air conditioned corporate blandness with a sigh of relief.

Maybe you have to spend a week in Blackpool to understand.
posted by jokeefe at 6:52 PM on July 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't like Starbucks' coffee really (it tastes burnt), but their espresso drinks range from decent to really good, depending on the location and barista. We've got a really good local place around here that I like, but generally if I'm elsewhere and want a decent latte, Starbucks is good enough.

I second the sentiment that some of these closures sucks for the people living in the small towns where Starbucks is possibly the best option.
posted by !Jim at 6:54 PM on July 18, 2008


To the Starbucks haters:

I had a housemate a coupla years ago who worked at one of San Francisco's major "centers for the arts" (YBCA) that's "heavily involved in the community". Put in a lot of sweat and was well-liked there, but they gave her only-so-many workweek-hours such that she couldn't participate in their group insurance plan.

So, she got a part-time job at Sbux, like, 20-hours a week, so she could get benefits.

In other news: if you've never tasted Philz Coffee, then you've never tasted coffee.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 6:55 PM on July 18, 2008


Note to self: hip, progressive people enjoy watching the employees of 600 coffee shops join the jobless ranks.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:00 PM on July 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Here in San Luis Obispo County, population just over 260K, we have a total of 15 Starbucks and two under construction (one of them in the Student Union at Cal Poly U., right next to the only Chick-Fil-A within 100 miles), and none of them are closing. But then none of them are uncomfortably close to each other, though there are an additional 9 "in-store" Starbucks (4 Vons, 4 Albertsons and a Target) and some of those are in the same shopping center with a free-standing location. We do have several coffee houses that are 'local legends' around here, reminding the folks how it's supposed to be done, plus locations of Peet's and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Starbucks has pretty much failed to drive anybody out of business; ii's just no big deal around here... now, WalMart, that's a threat.
posted by wendell at 7:12 PM on July 18, 2008


For me Starbucks is like dirty bathtub crank. Sure, I'd like a big chunk of good, clean ice but if the man on the corner is selling that dingy pink basement shit I'm buying it anyway because I'm a fucking tweaker and if I don't get lifted I'm going to start physically assaulting random strangers.
posted by The Straightener at 7:13 PM on July 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


I never understood the Starbucks hate, I mean yeah Starbucks is pretty mediocre, but this isn't Rome, all the coffee is pretty damn mediocre. You have no idea how many times I've tried to start going to my local coffee shop only for the coffee to be more expensive, taste far worse and take 20 minutes to make, while my car is getting a ticket outside.

I have actually found a place for the first in years recently that actually makes some decent drink, however they are still way more expensive and the time it takes for me to get my coffee is totally unpredictable and in no way a function of how many other customers are present.

I know if I go to Starbucks it won't suck, I know I'll get it for about $1 cheaper than I will at some other trendy independent place and I know I'll get it in about 5 minutes. There is a reason Starbucks was successful, it was better than the vast majority of its competition, yeah the bar was pretty damn low, but still it was better.
posted by whoaali at 7:15 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm ok with Starbucks having lousy coffee; lord knows there's plenty of it in this town (Seattle), and last I checked they weren't forcing anyone to drink it. I think their practice of smothering small, individually owned coffee shops out of business is morally bankrupt, but it is a business and they have a responsibility to their shareholders. What I'm not ok with is them messing with the only decent sports team we have left.

(Full disclosure: My fiance is on the RCRG, and I used to drive for Starbucks Corporate)
posted by bizwank at 7:17 PM on July 18, 2008


I find it interesting that Meta's think they are unskilled via water + ground beans. Apparently dropouts hold this function.
posted by Mblue at 7:23 PM on July 18, 2008


...hip, progressive people enjoy watching the employees of 600 coffee shops join the jobless ranks.

I'm not hip and progressive, but I'm celebrating the failure of an ubercorporation to become a virtual monopoly, along with all the employees of the locally owned coffee shops Starbucks tried to put out of business. And I really enjoy watching the locals hire ex-Sbux employees who are good at their jobs and wish the law required the top executives of the ubercorp to pay all the rest of them out of their own pockets until they picked up a more valuable skill.
posted by wendell at 7:23 PM on July 18, 2008


When y'all are finished slagging the quality of Starbucks coffee, I am also keen to hear about how you don't own a television.

I don't own a TV. This is not because I'm hip or ironic or an overbearing killjoy neo-Calvinist eco-prig, but simply because if I have a TV I will spend too much time watching junk (kind of like how I spend too much time on the internet). Like an alcoholic who chooses not to have a liquor cabinet, lest he or she be tempted.

Likewise, I don't dislike Starbucks coffee because I want to prove my hip credentials, wax poetic about the evils of corporatism or any other such calculated pose: I dislike it because when I drink it I find the taste too bitter and acidic. And I'm not even especially picky about coffee.

Of course a lot of people here will think I'm just saying this: that there must be some desire to appear hip on my part, some hidden agenda, that makes me not have a TV or dislike Starbucks coffee. But I have no stake in this battle, and I'm not gloating about either thing. I just wanted to assert that not asserts a given preference, X, is necessarily asserting that given preference to appear cool. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
posted by ornate insect at 7:27 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


not [everyone who] asserts
posted by ornate insect at 7:28 PM on July 18, 2008


Starbucks is one of those things that's a victim of its own success...

They open a store for the hip demographic, then the local population starts getting hipper, then suddenly they're too hip for Starbucks and someone opens a "really indie" hipper cafe and takes all their customers.

As for the coffee - The iced cofee is good, the desserty drinks are good, and if you ever had to settle for Tully's you know Starbucks coffee isn't that bad.
posted by qvantamon at 7:36 PM on July 18, 2008


Oddly, around here, they're closing the one in the only open air, walk about, destination market, but they're leaving two in neighborhood shopping center. (One actual starbucks, and one inside the grocery store.)

Their expansion, and now contraction, makes no sense.
posted by dejah420 at 7:37 PM on July 18, 2008


I'm going to miss the one in Flowood, Miss., as that's the one closest to the hospital where our daughter was born. Family visits were allowed if they came with breakfast goodies, a vanilla bean frappucino for the new mom and a venti americano for me. Guess hospital staff and families weren't enough to keep it up.

Irony: just as we're losing Sbuxes, our local coffee chain (Cups!) is adding two or three metro locations. Hey, that's a lot for central Mississippi. I wish them well in this mucked-up economy.
posted by fijiwriter at 7:42 PM on July 18, 2008


Wendell:

"Oh, look at me! I'm making people happy! I'm the magical man - from Happyland! In a gum-drop house on Lollypop Lane! ... Oh, by the way, I was being sarcastic."

So, let me make sure I understand the economics here: Starbucks drove the mom-n-pop coffee houses out of business by.....making bad coffee and charging more? Got it.

"In the United States and Canada Starbucks offers full benefits such as health, dental, and vision insurance, as well as stock-option grants and 401(k) with matching to employees who work an average of 20 hours per week over a three month period. Each employee can receive a box of tea or a pound (0.45kg) of coffee each week if they choose. Many of these benefits, including the weekly free coffee or tea continue in the case of temporary disability or familial leave. Employees also enjoy a 30% discount on all regular and sale-price merchandise. Beginning May 2008, all Starbucks employees receive complimentary wifi internet access at any U.S. Starbucks through the new Starbucks/AT&T partnership."

"In 1999, Starbucks started "Grounds for your Garden" to make their business more environment friendly. "Grounds for your Garden" is a year round program that gives leftover coffee grounds to anyone requesting it for composting."

"In 2005 the National Recycling Coalition Recycling Works Award went to Starbucks because of their major contributions to the environment. Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) practices guidelines that are economically beneficial. Starbucks gets all of their coffee beans from farms; this basically ensures that farmers are not negatively affecting the environment while producing coffee beans for Starbucks."

You're right, Wendell, what a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE COMPANY.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:50 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I rather doubt the benefits thing is altruistic, but rather a method to attract a certain demographic as employees.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:52 PM on July 18, 2008


I rather doubt the benefits thing is altruistic, but rather a method to attract a certain demographic as employees.

Oh well it only counts if it's bad for business. I mean we want to discourage companies from doing things that are both successful for their business and good for the world in general.
posted by whoaali at 8:02 PM on July 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


And I really enjoy watching the locals hire ex-Sbux employees who are good at their jobs and wish the law required the top executives of the ubercorp to pay all the rest of them out of their own pockets until they picked up a more valuable skill.

Now if only the local shops offered benefits to match Starbucks'...
posted by Forktine at 8:06 PM on July 18, 2008


but rather a method to attract a certain demographic as employees.

Who are these mysterious folks that don't want benefits?
posted by dhammond at 8:07 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


People who can't afford to work a part time job with benefits because they need a full time job without benefits to pay for rent and food.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:12 PM on July 18, 2008


Politics of capitalism that provides an easily homemade product = MetaFilter
posted by Mblue at 8:17 PM on July 18, 2008


Good for them. But you shouldn't have to depend on noblesse oblige to ... well, not go broke after an accident or serious illness.
posted by raysmj at 8:20 PM on July 18, 2008


Went in a Starbucks once. Bought a bottle of water. Overpriced.
posted by netbros at 8:32 PM on July 18, 2008


People who can't afford to work a part time job with benefits because they need a full time job without benefits to pay for rent and food.

That's not a question of benefits, that's a question of people needing full time work instead of part time. Offering benefits doesn't really come into the equation at that point.
posted by dhammond at 8:37 PM on July 18, 2008


You're right, Wendell, what a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE COMPANY.

posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:37 PM on July 18, 2008


Within the last year there was a great cover on an issue of Macleans (Canada's version of The Economist and just as good): the headline was "Why Am I So Poor?" and the cover photo was of a hapless Vancouverite* look distraught. In his right hand was a Starbucks cup.

Hmmmm.

*There's more than half of your answer there. We have housing prices similar to parts of Silicon Valley, but the salaries haven't even pretended to catch up.
posted by illiad at 8:40 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Starbucks always seemed out of place in Maine, so it's no surprise that both the Bangor ones are closing. (but then, I've never been in a Starbucks in my life.)
posted by dunkadunc at 8:41 PM on July 18, 2008


Anti-union activity might be unlawful, but that doesn't automatically make it bad. Up here in .ca a lot of our unions could use a really thorough shaking up, starting from the top.
posted by illiad at 8:42 PM on July 18, 2008


Of course this is just the beginning of the sinister 'Phase Two' of the Starbucks plan.
posted by shothotbot at 8:46 PM on July 18, 2008


Macleans (Canada's version of The Economist and just as good)


Oh, come on. Maclean's is to the Economist as Tim Hortons is to these mythically delicious coffees people are drinking at non-starbucks cafes.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:56 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You do realize that this was part of the plan all along, right? You saturate an area to drive out the competition, then close up the extra stores and leave the neighborhood with enough coffee capacity now that there's no other choice.
posted by nomisxid


As someone pointed out, that only happens in your head. But hey, nothing wrong with letting hate get in the way of reality.

What's interesting is the narcissism of small differences that makes hating on Starbucks so crucial to, well, the MeFite demographic. Starbucks is threatening because it's like a close parody of things that middle-class would-be hipsters actually DO think is cool ("cafes with funky furniture playing jazz?! I've died and gone to heaven")--but of course it CAN'T be cool because it's ubiquitous.

You nailed it.

but if you look at the towns on this list I would guess they offer the best coffee in town and now it is gone. Sad.
posted by caddis


Exactly. That's the hole in the hipster view. Beyond the whole 'starbucks drives away independents' BS in many communities there isn't much besides starbucks. You can't support the indy shop that doesn't exist. And that's not even getting into the mistaken idea that indy = quality. Sometimes they're great, sometimes they suck.

I'm not hip and progressive, but I'm celebrating the failure of an ubercorporation to become a virtual monopoly, along with all the employees of the locally owned coffee shops Starbucks tried to put out of business. And I really enjoy watching the locals hire ex-Sbux employees who are good at their jobs and wish the law required the top executives of the ubercorp to pay all the rest of them out of their own pockets until they picked up a more valuable skill.
posted by wendell


Of the 4 towns I visit often 8 starbucks are closing. There's are 2 independent stores that have opened since starbucks came to those towns. They're thriving, as they always have, but are small and fully staffed. They won't be hiring starbucks employees.

So you're not hip or progressive. You also have no idea what you're talking about (of course, I'm sure you won't let that stop you).
posted by justgary at 8:56 PM on July 18, 2008


looking at Michigan, it's interesting to see how many of those are in formerly-burgeoning McMansion exurbs, and areas hit harder by high gas costs (low density areas).

Likewise in Minnesota. Only one of the listed MN spots (West 7th in St Paul) is in an urban area. (125th and Central is not in Minneapolis, it's out in Ham Lake or somewhere.) Most of the rest are in decayed suburbs (Brooklyn Center), soon to be decaying due to the gas crisis (Coon Rapids, Blaine, etc.) or farm country (Fairmont, etc.). Some seem to have been located for freeway access.
posted by gimonca at 8:56 PM on July 18, 2008


I rather doubt the benefits thing is altruistic, but rather a method to attract a certain demographic as employees.

Oh, like Costco, which we also hate. Oh, wait.

Starbucks hate just shows how shallow some "progressives" really are*. I almost wish Walmart would start a coffee shop chain, just to see the all the fixie-riding hipster knees explode from the backpedaling on Starbucks.

*OK, some of them are just plain yuppie snobs.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:31 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I call so much BS on this. They're only closing one in the entire state of Arizona? There are seven or eight Starbucks within a 5 minute drive of where I live. There's no way some of them aren't stepping on each other's profits. 115 degree weather must mean big business for iced lattes and Frappucinos.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:33 PM on July 18, 2008


For a long time I couldn't understand the point of Starbucks' strange sizing names. Then few months ago I was in Berlin. Now, I'm practically bilingual, I can manage with most eastern european languages, and I have a minimum of French necessary not to get punched in the face in Paris. But - my mouth and my brain are incapable of producing German. I just can't do it. I can barely count to five and say 'bye'. Mostly I would walk into stores, point and grunt. Usually it worked, but after awhile it gets very tiring. Once I got stuck in Potsdamer Platz, and it being the giant shopping mall that it is, there was only a Starbucks there to sit down and read a book. I walked in, looked at the menu, and understood everything - it was exactly the same as in the States. None of that Pulp Fictiony Le Big Mac, just exactly the same. And I ordered my "tall caramel latte" without a hitch, only to bug out my eyes and try to understand when the server asked me whether I wanted it to go or not.

Also, everywhere in Europe if you are staying in the cafe they will give you a mug or a proper china cup. It drives me up the wall how everyone everywhere in the States gets their drinks in paper cups, sits at their table drinking it, and then throws it out. We won't have any trees soon, but then if you suddenly need to jump up and run out with your coffee you can!

But Starbucks is still a soulless monster pretending to be a coffee shop.
posted by Shusha at 9:49 PM on July 18, 2008


I don't expect a whole lot of crocodile tears from a bunch of anony mefites, but being a current employee of Starbucks, I have to put my neck out there a little bit for the company that's treated me (very) well.

Starbucks is one of the only companies in the U.S. that gives full benefits to employees for working part-time (20hrs/wk), including medical/dental/vision for self and family, 401k, paid vacation, stock, discounts and free coffee. Did you know that Starbucks Corporation actually spends more annually paying for the benefits of their employees than they do the coffee that they sell? I know for myself and for hundreds of thousands of others, the benefits of working at Starbucks were a godsend at the time it came along. They also pay their employees quite reasonably, and allow them to receive tips.

In terms of driving out the independent competition, while I can't deny it, I also would like to posit that Starbucks was one of the first independent coffee shops in the country, and without the trailblazing they did, many of these indie shops wouldn't even exist today. And while I don't doubt that there are many great indie shops with great staffs and quick, skillful service...the vast majority of the time you'd be hard-pressed to find better that what you can get at a Starbucks. And I'm not saying that because I'm being cocky -- it's because independent shops just generally can't treat their employees as well as Starbucks does. It's hard to provide good service as a business when you can't take care of your employees.

And for being an evil corporation, Starbucks is the number one purchaser of fair-trade and organic shade-grown coffee in the world. And the rest of the coffee that they sell is held to the highest standards in terms of farmer and plantation payout and humanitarian aid.

I won't address the comments about the quality of the coffee itself, because to each their own. Starbucks has a pretty large menu -- and if the brewed coffee is too dark for you (Starbucks does brew their in-house coffee on the stronger side), maybe try an Americano. They're great!

Most of the stores closing were planned in the early 2000-2004 time period, with a few exceptions. This happened under the leadership of former President and C.E.O. Jim Donald, who was fired at the beginning of 2008. Donald's vision of Starbucks was more in line with McDonalds than "coffee shop." He brought us the hot sandwiches, which are now (thankfully) going away nationally by September. We're not going to have a "value meal" any time soon. Now that owner Howard Schultz has returned to the helm of the company, the values and vision that made Starbucks great during the 90's are coming back...but not before he cleans up a little bit of the mess that was made in his stead. Unfortunately that's going to put a lot of people in a hard place.

So let's just hope that the potentially 12,000 soon-to-be unemployed workers at these closing stores are able to find a place at another Starbucks, because it's going to be hard for them to find another job that will take care of them in the same way.
posted by erstwhile at 10:05 PM on July 18, 2008 [15 favorites]


2or3whiskeysodas: Yep, that's one of the dyads out there. There's also one in a Randalls across from a standalone on Memorial at Dairy Ashford. I'm think that I've seen a third Starbucks Binary System in the Houston area but where exactly it might be escapes me. Perhaps it was a bad dream.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 PM on July 18, 2008


Also, that kid in the video made a fairly spot on assertion that cops just go around staring at butts. Also, my proofreading kind of sucks.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 PM on July 18, 2008


I honestly don't understand it when a person complains that coffee tastes "burnt." It's like complaining that ice cream is cold. That's what it is. If it weren't cold, it would no longer be ice cream. It would be gross.

Coffee is actually the refuse of plants which have been heated until they are no longer what they originally were. Then you take this deliriously heated refuse of plants and you combine it with scalding hot water.

Coffee IS burnt water. I don't care if it's at a Starbucks, a Dennys, or next to the water cooler, coffee is supposed to taste "burnt."

If you don't like coffee cuz it's burnt, THIS MEANS YOU DON'T LIKE COFFEE. And if you tell me there's certain kinds of coffee that don't taste burnt, I will tell you that THAT "coffee" has somehow been treated so as to be 'flavored' and it no longer has any coffeeness in it. If it tastes like amaretto, or hazelnut, or almondy, or minty, or fruity, or whatevery? It's no longer coffee. It's been ruined. You like ruined coffee, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

True Coffee. Actual Coffee. The kinda coffee that is meant to wake you up in the morning by scalding your tongue and making your taste buds wish the rest of you was dead. THAT is supposed to taste burnt. Anyone who tells you otherwise does not love you.

God Bless Detective Nick Yemana. RIP
posted by ZachsMind at 10:44 PM on July 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


If Starbucks paid more in benefits than it made from coffee sales, it would be closing most of its stores, not just 600. I think you're probably thinking more in the line of "pays more for benefits than it pays for coffee," but even that's probably up for bean-counting debate.

Meanwhile, for what it's worth, an article from Conde Nast Portfolio that profiles the CEO and discusses those benefits:

Four years ago, a small but hardy band of baristas attempted the near-impossible task of unionizing a single Starbucks store on Madison Avenue in New York. The leader of the effort, a young firebrand named Daniel Gross, took on what he called “the myth of the socially responsible Starbucks,” complaining of subsistence wages, sadistically unpredictable schedules, and understaffing. He noted that only four out of 10 Starbucks employees actually receive its vaunted health benefits—a lower rate than at Wal-Mart—either because, as part-time workers, they don’t work the 240 hours a quarter required to qualify, or because, at between $7 and $9 an hour, they can’t afford the premiums, copays, and deductibles. (A Starbucks spokesperson says it’s because they have coverage from other sources and that 80 percent of its employees are covered by some kind of insurance.)

As soon as the unionization drive was announced, Schultz sent out a company­wide email expressing his dismay and disappointment. It was almost as if his feelings had been hurt. He visited the epicenter of the unionization effort, the store on Madison Avenue where Gross worked. Gross, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, a.k.a. the Wobblies, says that when he tried talking to Schultz, he was rebuffed, though Schultz denies it. Gross was later fired.

After his visit, the I.W.W. says that Starbucks sent antiunion managers into the store and sicced high-priced lawyers from the Washington, D.C., law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld on Gross and his cohorts. The local office of the National Labor Relations Board sided with the union, filing complaints that Starbucks had engaged in numerous unfair labor practices and twice taking it to court. One case was settled; the other, which required weeks of testimony, is still pending. But the company’s war of attrition has largely succeeded: The union drive in New York has effectively been neutered.

posted by raysmj at 10:53 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Starbucks pays more for its employees than it pays for coffee, this is nothing other than completely normal for that sort of business. Even restaurants don't spend as much for food as for employees and leases. You're not paying for the food or beverage; you're paying to be able to walk into a shop and have somebody hand it to you.

That said, I don't get the Starbucks hate either. Their coffee compares unfavorably with very good coffee shops but is reliably okay when there's no very good coffee shop around -- in other words, practically anywhere but a good urban walking district, and in the U.S. as a whole, good urban walking districts are scarcely more common than wild kangaroos.

And the stuff about Starbucks driving out local coffee shops is mostly a myth. It happens here and there, but they've done far more more to create the market than destroy it. And frankly, any really good coffee shop in a position to be put out of business by a Starbucks was in the wrong place: nobody who really likes really good coffee shops is going to go to that new Starbucks instead.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:09 PM on July 18, 2008


Thanks for the perspective there, erstwhile. I get a little conflicted about Starbucks, because where I am, Starbucks is not one of the pioneers of coffee culture. Aussie coffee culture started in ernest when many post-war Italian migrants got fed up with the local approach to coffee ("We'll buy it by the tonne and let it moulder in a shed while we all drink tea!") and opened their own cafes with actual baristas and all-day breakfasts. Starbucks only really arrived in Australia a decade or so ago, and is part of the dilution of local colour with international brands. But they also are one of the few companies who actively seek out fair-trade coffee beans, and the stores near me will occasionally perform fundraising drives when natural disasters come along. I don't drink there however because as loquatious put it, it tastes like the ass of an ass. Ass squared.

I get my poison from Sugar and Spice on Adelaide St. The staff are awesome, the coffee is roasted locally, the main barista has a sort of precience that allows him to detect what coffee I need before I've even walked in the door, and best of all the coffee is utterly sublime.
posted by Jilder at 11:15 PM on July 18, 2008


I'm pretty sure I did say that they pay more for benefits than they do for the coffee they sell. Obviously the company still needs to profit to be in existence (and the company is still profiting, it's just not growing -- and that's why the stocks are so down).

And while only 47% of eligible employees are currently covered, not everyone needs the benefits. A large percentage of employees are college students or younger, and they are often still covered by their family insurance plans. Believe me, it's not expensive to maintain the benes -- it only costs me something like $15/paycheck for complete coverage.
posted by erstwhile at 11:20 PM on July 18, 2008


I don't know much but I know this, I wouldn't have health insurance if it was not for my girlfriend working at starbucks, our daughter would not have the same health insurance if my girlfriend didn't work at starbucks. We can take my daughter in for regular check ups without putting the family in debt because my girlfriend works at starbucks. Liz worked at a local coffee shop for about a year, that is where I met her. They treated her like shit, she left and went to work for starbucks because they paid enough for her to live on and offered benefits that she and I would not have be able to afford otherwise. Those fuckers she worked for before, the local fair trade, peace love and happiness assholes tried to turn her friend against her over it, they talked shit about her everywhere in this small town. Then they moved to Vermont where their parents paid their way while they went to cooking school and enjoyed looking down their noses at anyone not as privileged as they are.
posted by nola at 11:23 PM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Will anyone ever see that the unwelcome one in SE Portland that was Molotov cocktailed will be closed? This little news item is way down here.
posted by Cranberry at 11:27 PM on July 18, 2008


Also, the New York and the unionization is a completely different ball of wax. If you can't afford to live in New York, you really shouldn't live in New York.
posted by erstwhile at 11:31 PM on July 18, 2008


Just to ask: If you shouldn't live in New York if you can't afford it (which I can agree with on multiple levels, but I wasn't born there or anything), then ... Well, who's supposed to pour your coffee for you? I can only presume you'd run out of college kids after a while. Herein lies one of the biggest problems with myriad urban economies in the United States, not just NYC.
posted by raysmj at 11:41 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


With one crop of graduating seniors, you'll always have a class of incoming freshman!

Honestly, I don't know. But given the general cost of living versus minimum wage discrepancies in NYC as it is, one would be silly to expect to be able to live off of working at a SBUX (or any other relatively low-waged job). Yet, the service industry jobs still exist there.

Quite the conundrum I've noticed with New York... people from all over the world want to live there. But the people that are born there want to get out (eventually).
posted by erstwhile at 12:07 AM on July 19, 2008


The one in my neighborhood opened less than 6 months ago #13765. What a waste. Not mine of course I never set foot in the place and prefer summer coffee cold dripped at home with lots of ice and a splash of chocolate silk.
posted by emypocu at 12:42 AM on July 19, 2008


Fine, I'll go into detail:

First off, I'm going to use Poor with a capital P as I'm discussing class distinctions, those in Poverty, rather than those who merely don't have much money or even for whom money is tight, as this distinction is important here.

Poor people are not Starbucks' customers, as they cannot afford overpriced coffee. Given that, Starbucks wishes to fabricate an atmosphere and image a bit more upscale and hip than corporate fast food usually goes for. PR hype that they give benefits to part-timers helps with that, but there's more.

When you are going for an upscale atmosphere, you prefer not to have Poor people interacting with the non-Poor customers. Poor employees are less likely to be viewed as part of an upscale, hip experience, less likely to be perceived as uniformly cheerful and friendly. For a similar example, consider many a restaurant where the waitstaff are selected for Whiteness and attractiveness while the cooks and dishwashers are selected for being cheap immigrant labor.

You're not going to do anything silly like pay a decent wage if you can get away with less, so therefore appeal to the non-Poor but low on money people - college students, sundry slackers, "starving" artists, or (making an assumption about this specific case) a housemate a coupla years ago who worked at one of San Francisco's major "centers for the arts" (YBCA) that's "heavily involved in the community", etc.

Unfortunately for your plan, corporate fast food jobs are disdained by the non-Poor, stereotyped as flipping burgers, and jerking coffee is pretty much the same as flipping burgers. How might we compensate for this? The upscale environment helps a bit. Free coffee helps as a perk, probably way more than a pay increase of the retail value of that coffee, and at low cost to Starbucks. There's yet another way, though. Many non-Poor but low-money people are doing more-or-less alright with cashflow, but find that they have only-so-many workweek-hours such that [they can't] participate in their group insurance plan or otherwise don't have benefits which they would like to have. Offering benefits helps to snap up non-Poor people who otherwise wouldn't work a low-wage fast food job.

Now, you don't want Poor people snapping up those benefits, so, besides just not hiring Poor people when you can get away with that, make the jobs part-time as Poor people need more money than a single part-time job pays. Furthermore, as the unions complain, have unpredictable schedules to make it impossible to fit around a full-time job or other part-time jobs.

Large corporations do not seem to me to be moral actors. Too profit driven? Just too big? Public ownership? They will to various degrees pretend to be moral actors as a profit-increasing PR exercise (the fair trade coffee), or because the corporation believes that acting like a moral actor aligns with the profit motive for various other reasons (Starbucks will observe moral strictures against mugging the customers, but mugging customers would be unprofitable in the long run.), but when the bottom line is threatened, the gloves come off and Starbucks tries to bust the unions.

Yes, there is validity to supporting with your custom those large corporations whose PR-moralities do result in good things like giving people health benefits and buying fair trade coffees, but there are definitely negative aspects of Starbucks which should also be considered, such as union busting, contributing to the growing homogenization and growing lack of meaningful community in this country, and selling coffee that is overpriced and regarded by many as inferior.

On another tack, apparently by virtue of living or working in NYC one deserves a union less than other people?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:45 AM on July 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


so maybe Bart can get his tattoo now b/c all the stores in the mall are not Starbucks.
posted by hooptycritter at 5:25 AM on July 19, 2008


For some reason, Starbucks has been slower to expand into the Mexican areas than the black neighborhoods.

Probably because Latinos know how to make good coffee without all of the stupid trimmings. Or they did before Starbuck's began invading their turf.

True story: I was living in Chicago back in '91, going to grad school when Starbuck's was just getting started, and like most SAIC grad students, I lived in the mixed of Wicker Park. There were plenty of Polish diners and Latino bakeries that served coffee, but no Starbuck's, really, outside of the Loop.

Now they're all over the freaking world.

(That said, I wonder how well they're doing in China? With the Olympics coming up. prolly swell...)
posted by vhsiv at 6:24 AM on July 19, 2008


* I was in Hangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing 4 years ago, and there were Starbuck's EVERYWHERE.
posted by vhsiv at 6:27 AM on July 19, 2008


Hmm, I don't have a TV but I don't have any particular ill-will towards Starbucks. I'm under the impression that they treat their employees decently; their coffee is OK, if not stellar.

However, yes, I think it's pretty reasonable to interpret a correlation between not having a TV and not liking US corporations.

I'm making a pot of French press right now at home, mmm. Did you know that Bodum now makes a nice under-$20 French press unit (retail price)? It's rocking my world - makes enough for two big mugs, what else do you need?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:47 AM on July 19, 2008


(but see TheOnlyCoolTim's comment for some good reasons not to like Starbucks)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:53 AM on July 19, 2008


I'm so far ahead of the curve, I hate small independents.
posted by rhymer at 7:57 AM on July 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


what else do you need?

We make our coffee every day in a big-ass cafetière à piston. It is delicious.

If I am somewhere that is not my house, and I need coffee, and there is an S-Bux nearby, their coffee will do just fine. What they have going for them is ubiquity and reliability--certainly not the best coffee by any stretch, but it's doable, and does its caffeindish job.
posted by everichon at 9:03 AM on July 19, 2008


I don't like any coffee, so I'm neutral about the quality of Starbucks' offerings. My opposition to Starbucks is based on three things:

1. The opening of a Starbucks usually means the closing of whatever independent coffee shop was in the area. Independent shops are also usually owned by a local, which keeps more of the community's money in the community.

2. Starbucks matkets horrifically unhealthy dessert beverages as coffees. Granted, they're not alone in this but they are the market leader.

3. The homogenization of American retail (and public life in general) is sad and frustrating to watch. What's the point in traveling if everyplace looks the same?
posted by workerant at 9:11 AM on July 19, 2008


I can't believe I've just sat and read through 150 comments of Starbucks sucks vs Starbucks isn't that bad really.

This must be the nineteenth time we've had this discussion, and here I am, reading it all over again.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:23 AM on July 19, 2008


My problem with the "But people are going to lose their jobs!" argument is that it can be (and is) applied to anything--the tobacco industry, the auto industry, prisons. Obviously, I don't think that Starbucks is anywhere close to as unambiguously destructive as cigarettes or the ridiculously high incarceration rates in the U.S., but if people stop buying SUVs (which I personally think is good, and I bet a lot of you do too) then the automotive companies are going to continue to lay off people, or pay them to retire early.

At the root of it, Starbucks (and our entire economy!) is based on a model of endless expansion--if the U.S. economy is even growing less rapidly, that's a problem--and that is simply unsustainable in a world of limited space and resources. I don't want to see people suffer, but I don't see a way out of this mess that doesn't involve some people losing their jobs.

I also think that, on balance, it would be good for society if, say, non-violent drug offenders were all let out of prison even considering that a lot of prison guards would lose their jobs. Again, I'm not saying that Starbucks is as clearly problematic, but I do agree with workerant's points above. More importantly, I'm trying to make the point that celebrating the closing of something doesn't necessarily mean you don't care about the people losing their jobs but that you're prioritizing other considerations (just like the Starbucks Corporation is doing in closing the stores).
posted by overglow at 10:09 AM on July 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


1. The opening of a Starbucks usually means the closing of whatever independent coffee shop was in the area. Independent shops are also usually owned by a local, which keeps more of the community's money in the community.

This statement gets thrown about a lot but is there actually any real evidence of this? I've seen plenty of indie coffee shops come and go that had no Starbucks in the vicinity. Mostly, it was poor management or the owners got tired of being at their stores all day every day. But just saying that a Starbucks is automatically going to crowd out a pre-existing (and for some odd reason, pseudo-sanctified) independent coffee shop without any proof is not good debating.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on July 19, 2008


Overglow: The reasons behind the celebration are so nebulous and equivocal, yet they still manage to create a perception of righteousness that somehow justify the celebration at the expense of real life (in this case, the real lives of employee's [and their families] from these 600 coffee shops). "Starbucks coffee sucks!" is probably the worst example of this, followed by the "evil corporation" pretense.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:32 AM on July 19, 2008



1. The opening of a Starbucks usually means the closing of whatever independent coffee shop was in the area. Independent shops are also usually owned by a local, which keeps more of the community's money in the community.

This statement gets thrown about a lot but is there actually any real evidence of this?


No, but, again, there actually is evidence to the contrary. But why let the truth get in the way of your favorite anti-corporate rant?
posted by The Gooch at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2008


In between raising cyberlon children and flying a viper and painting visions, where the heck does she find the time?!?

Oh they're closing 600 of her. She must be the final cyberlon! Why did I have to find out this way?!?
posted by davemee at 10:49 AM on July 19, 2008


Burhanistan, are you familiar with Starbucks' cannibalization strategy?

From Naomi Klein's No Logo, quoted here:

It also helped Starbucks, no doubt, that its cannibalization strategy preys not only on other Starbucks outlets but equally on its real competitors, independently run coffee shops and restaurants. And, unlike Starbucks, these lone businesses can only profit from one store at a time. The bottom line is that clustering, like big-boxing, is a competitive retail strategy that is only an option for a large chain that can afford to take a beating on individual store in order to reap a larger, long-term branding goal. It also explains why critics usually claim that companies like Starbucks' are preying on small businesses, while the chains themselves deny it, admitting only that they are expanding and creating new markets for their products. Both are true, but the chains' aggressive strategy of market expansion has the added bonus of simultaneously taking out competitors.

In 2006, the owner of an independent, locally owned coffee shop sued Starbucks for antitrust violations:

The lawsuit charges that Starbucks illegally maintains its monopoly by barring other coffeehouses from prime downtown high-rises in Seattle and Bellevue through exclusive leases with property owners.

Starbucks also drove Stafford and other coffeehouses out of business by buying coffee sellers and flooding neighborhoods with new Starbucks stores that even cannibalized the sales of existing Starbucks shops, the lawsuit alleges.
...

The lawsuit also alleged that:

the powerful corporation was able to persuade property owners not to lease to her by threatening to pull their own stores out of some buildings.

These issues with leases have been happening for a long time. Again, from No Logo:

Until the practice began creating controversy a few years back, Starbucks' real-estate strategy was to stake out a popular independent café in a well-trafficked, funky location and simply poach the lease from under it. Several independent café owners in prime locations are on record claiming that Starbucks went directly to their landlords and offered to pay them higher rental payments for the same or adjacent spaces. For instance, Chicago's Scenes Coffee House and Drama received an eviction notice after Starbucks rented a space in the shopping complex where it was located. The coffee chain attempted maneuver with Dooney's café in Toronto, though Starbucks claims it was the landlord who made the initial approach. Starbucks did gain control of Dooney's lease but the community protest was so strong that they company ended up having to sublet the space back to Dooney's.

Starbucks settled the antitrust lawsuit out of court:

a person familiar with the case called the settlement a "clear victory" for the solo defendant who pours the espresso and works her own till.
posted by overglow at 11:00 AM on July 19, 2008


Brocktoon, yeah, I can totally see how it looks that way, especially given the "coffee sucks" argument, which is a really weak one, imho (but I don't drink coffee anyway.) I think there is something to the "evil corporation" angle (especially given the links/quotes I just posted above) and I also think a lot of people are bothered by the homogenization of culture and landscape.
posted by overglow at 11:03 AM on July 19, 2008


Burhanistan, are you familiar with Starbucks' cannibalization strategy?

That's just more anti-corporate ranting! Go back to college with your citations!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:33 PM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The opening of a Starbucks usually means the closing of whatever independent coffee shop was in the area. Independent shops are also usually owned by a local, which keeps more of the community's money in the community.

This statement gets thrown about a lot but is there actually any real evidence of this? I've seen plenty of indie coffee shops come and go that had no Starbucks in the vicinity.


For twelve years I bought all of my coffee beans at Pasqua. I thought their coffee was SO good that I ended up getting all of my friends hooked too. So before long I was going on Pasqua runs for all of my friends and neighbors, I was like a coffee bean drug dealer. (They'd pay me & then grab the bag, stick their faces in it and take a sniff of the dark roast goodness. It was pretty funny.) I even had a Pasqua t-shirt that I always wore to the gym. I loved my Pasqua. They were doing so well that they even opened locations in airports and Il Fornaio locations. Pasqua's coffee rocked and it was only found in LA, SF & NY that I know of.

In 1999, Starbucks bought Pasqua. Within a few months they fired everyone, shut down the roasters, closed down every location, and opened them as Starbucks.

This was when I started boycotting. I never liked their coffee but I could deal with it... however when Starbucks killed Pasqua, I was PISSED. Then it became personal because having bought their coffee for over a decade I personally knew people who lost their jobs. Not that my boycott made any difference... but that's why I can smile now that they're finally doing poorly.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:41 PM on July 19, 2008


I've seen plenty of indie coffee shops come and go that had no Starbucks in the vicinity.

Running a business is tough. Running a business in the food industry is even tougher. The profit margin in the restaurant industry is notoriously minuscule. There are a million reasons why a business fails, but having to compete head to head with a huge multinational corporation is even more of a burden, even if that multinational corporation has desensitized the coffee drinking population into paying three or four times more for a cup of coffee than your average mom and pop used to charge. And even though their coffee pretty much tastes like burnt corn husks and mud.
posted by Dave Faris at 5:56 PM on July 19, 2008


Starbucks bought Pasqua.

miss lynnster, I completely appreciate your sentiment here (I used to manage and own indie coffee shops, as well as worked at SBUX). But it takes two to sell. It's not like Starbucks drove Pasqua out of business. They bought it from an owner who clearly cared more about the bottom line than his independent coffee shop scene and customers.

So in a way, SBUX didn't do anything that the owner didn't already do. Which is "sell-out", and care about profitability.

Unrelated, I think people care about SBUX and hate on it because it's so new. The coffee shop chain is only about 20 years old, whereas McDonalds, Burger King, etc have been around for decades. SBUX isn't doing anything differently than any other chain. Gap, Abercrombie, Wal-Mart, Target, Hilton, Marriott, BofA, Citi all put local businesses, and local owners, in a fight for their lives. But in the end, more people get cheap, reasonable quality, mass produced goods. And those who want "indie" can pay a premium, since that's what it costs to do business.

Do I think that corporatization is wrong? Well, it's very Darwinian. But beyond that, who's to say if it's right or wrong. These companies employ hundreds of thousands of Americans at every income level, and that is a good thing. Indie companies couldn't do that. And these corporations allow us to service the world, instead of just ourselves. Indie companies would have a tougher time doing that.

SBUX brought decent coffee to the masses and forced EVERYONE to raise their game. People here should be grateful for that, even though a couple of indies became casualties of war. Grocery stores now have a much better variety (compared to 50 years ago). Indie roasters are making a bundle off of this newfound interest in coffee. Hotels, fast food chains, restaurants, airlines, EVERYONE has put more emphasis on the coffee they serve. And you can thank SBUX for that. 50 years from now, THAT will be their greatest legacy. Bringing an awareness of coffee to the masses.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:58 PM on July 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


i work for a starbucks in the boston area, and people asking if my starbucks was closing got old reeaaaal quick. central square, cambridge, asshole! we're packed everyday.

as an employee who used to work in a district on the border, i'm shicked they aren't closing more of their NH stores. Those places were losing money hand over fist and it was nearly impossible to find willing managers (in NH the position pays just a little more than one earns as a grunt in MA).
posted by es_de_bah at 5:58 PM on July 19, 2008


central square, cambridge, asshole!

And before anybody gets up in arms over the supposedly rude sentiments expressed above, I can fully assure you as a former Cantabrigian that that is indeed the proper way to address correspondence to a business in Central Square.
posted by Spatch at 6:08 AM on July 20, 2008


central square, cambridge, asshole!

How much ya' wanna bet they punch peoples' dicks as a matter of course at that Starbucks?
posted by ericb at 6:48 AM on July 20, 2008


*OK, some of them are just plain yuppie snobs.

We have a winner!!

as for Starbucks. It's not the best cup in the world, but if it's around, it's OK, because at the end of the day, it's just a cup of coffee. If I need caffeine, I'll happily drink Dunkin' Donuts. That said, the company has done some weird shit, there's TWO starbucks within a block of eachother on Astor Place in the East Village. They're both usually busy,s trangely enough.

A few years back I was in a starbucks and under neath the main menuboard was a little sign saying 'ADD POWER 50 cents. I said 'OK, give me a frappucino with telekinesis.'
posted by jonmc at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2008


Somebody please make a heatmap of this. In shades of overpriced, watery brown.

I couldn't figure out how to specify the colors, but here's your heatmap. [self-link courtesy of Google Docs]
posted by odinsdream at 8:53 AM on July 20, 2008


Well, from the people I spoke to who worked at the shop, (allegedly) the people selling Pasqua felt they couldn't afford to turn the offer down. They had (allegedly) been led to believe they couldn't succeed in competition in the long run against Starbucks at the time, so they caved in. Allegedly.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:34 AM on July 20, 2008


Don't Fear Starbucks.

Prior to Starbucks, coffee at most mom-and-pop coffee shops tasted like indifferently served piss. Post Starbucks, not only has the number of mom-and-pop coffee shops increased, but the coffee actually tastes good. Sure, scores of people will have anecdotal reminisces to the contrary, but I'l bet that statistics support me. And, please (yawn) if you are a member of the "but you can prove anything with statistics!" posse, shut-up. Just because you can be trite, doesn't mean you should.

Starbucks is the best thing that has ever happened to the coffee industry, but they overexposed themselves, so they are now suffering from the predictable diatribes of the clueless who don't remember how bad the average cup of (cafe or restaurant) coffee tasted before the Starbucks explosion.

Yes, I'm cranky this morning. I have had my cup of Seattle's Best.
posted by Chasuk at 11:37 AM on July 20, 2008


What SeizeTheDay said.
posted by Chasuk at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2008


Did any of them threaten to punch you in the dick for ordering espresso over ice?

I make do better coffee dick-punching at home.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:43 PM on July 20, 2008


jokeefe writes: Maybe you have to spend a week in Blackpool to understand.

I spent a week in Blackpool in only three days.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:02 PM on July 20, 2008


When I was a kid, when my Grandpa asked for a cup of coffee at a restaurant, they would bring a cup of hot water and an instant-coffee bag. Only truckstops or interstate diners actually brewed pots of coffee. And it was gelatinous.

So yeah, coffee quality everywhere has improved tremendously during the SBUX era. But more importantly, good quality coffee access has improved everywhere.

Some of this has been directly due to SBUX, but most of it indirect, and also just the market reflecting adjustment to consumers' demands. But I think it is fair SBUX contributed greatly to jump-starting the current trend.

I was in Seattle recently for the first time, and I was a little surprised to see the jokes about coffee shops every 100 feet and Starbucks across the street from each other were TRUE.

It really is. It was like being on a movie set, walking past a coffee shop every block, sometimes twice a block. It was a little disconcerting at first, then just became comical.

The downtown area should really be renamed the coffee district.

As for me, I'm a casual coffee drinker. SBUX is just fine. Not great, but certainly not terrible. I've had indie shop coffee that was much better, and much worse. But usually, it tastes about the same.

But, given their cancerous growth the last few years, I'm not even a tiny bit surprised they will have to close some given a slowdown in the economy.

Didn't they also recently replace a CEO or something because of this over-aggressive growth strategy?
posted by Ynoxas at 8:30 AM on July 21, 2008


Regarding Seattle, the place I enjoyed the coffee the most was a little privately owned coffee shop on the corner of 5th and Blanchard, which I didn't even notice a sign or a name. I'm sure it had one. Very friendly guy, made a tasty breakfast croissant.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:13 AM on July 21, 2008


« Older They started out as spritely saplings, but somethi...  |  This scale... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments