I know. That comes as a huge surprise to many of you out there (if i have any readers left after disappearing for so long). Some of you may recall a little news bit…something about some coffee place closing some stores.
What? You have heard? OK, good, we are on the same page there.
I have seen it explode all over the place. I have had people call me up to ask what I know. It isn’t a lot. There are not a lot of details…and if I did know anything I am not at liberty to discuss it.
But that is not what this post is about. It isn’t some insider update.
I am irritated at the reaction and some of the discussion that is going on regarding this big decision. One particularly irksome discussion came from one of my favorite feminist blogs. The post itself wasn’t that bad…it’s the comments that got me. They are not unlike a lot of the common things I am hearing out and about, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous, especially given the context of the forum where they are discussed. Whenever Starbucks comes up in discussion on boards and the like almost as soon as the author hits publish you have comments from all over creation talking about how bad large corporations are, frothing over w/ ‘i am better than you’ attitudes about who would want to drink that yuppie coffee at those prices anyhow and how it serves them right for growing so large so fast. It is amusing that they have sprung up on every corner, hell we joke in my house about the block where there is a Starbucks on both ends of the block w/ Dave and Busters, and a corporate office nearby. It’s easy fodder for humor.
What people in these discussions seem to be forgetting is that we are not talking about a big nasty corporation doing horrible things and getting what they deserve. We are not talking about a multi billion dollar corporation closing some stores and losing some business…once again I find myself reminding people that we are talking about other people! We are talking about (my initial guess was off by half) over 12000 people who are about to lose their jobs. We are talking about people who worked for a good company that pays a (mostly) livable wage and takes good care of their employees. We are talking about people who are going to lose benefits. For example, Starbucks is one of the few large corporations that you can hire in entry level, work 90 days and qualify for full benefits, including insurance that is affordable and covers married couples, domestic partners, same sex couples and many different versions of families equally. That is rare. When I was searching for a job I wanted to find something that would allow me to insure my family even if the Guy and I didn’t marry. I found two places willing to do that, Starbucks and Whole Foods (another big bad corp that takes a beating from those ‘i am better than you b/c i don’t patronize them’ folk I mentioned above). Starbucks allows all employees to maintain benefits while working only 20 hours a week…and they offer flexible hours. They also pay you back for going to school. As a company, they are not perfect, but they do a damn good job taking care of the people who take care of them…which is the #1 rule of customer service for anyone out there who has worked in the industry. They also do a bang up job of giving back to communities…and that means something to me. I can tell you about some of the good they do, personally,
So, you can have all the negative opinions you want about Starbucks. You can pretend you are grossed out by them or that you are way above having one of their lattes, but if you are going to make fun of them for closing stores you are going to find me reminding you that you are talking about fucking people again. People who are uncertain about their futures. People who don’t know what’s going to happen now. And w/ the economy and job market being the way it is these days I can not for the life of me figure out why it is so funny.