Author Topic: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?  (Read 9545 times)

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Offline Dar

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2008, 08:08:24 PM »
I'll pipe in just because I managed a Starbucks for a couple of years.  I know that many people hate them because they drive out small businesses.  I agree that it isn't a particularly good thing (and most of the independent stores in my area stayed open and had good business-including me); however, the company itself is beyond good to its employees.  While I worked there, I had health care as did my staff that worked up to 20 hours a week or more.  There isn't another company that will do that in food/drink service.  They also did offer tuition reimbursement and many of my baristas took that option.

In addition, the company encourages its employees to participate in the community through volunteering.  If you volunteered with Starbucks, it was celebrated.  If you volunteered without Starbucks, it was celebrated just as much.  I ran an AIDS Walk, Cancer Walk, animal charity walk, and several others.  Only 3 were through Starbucks. 

Starbucks has recently discovered that their business isn't running the way it should.  They brought back Howard Schultz (the founder) and numerous stores are being closed across America (I am unsure about here).  The stores closed for a day or two so that all the baristas could receive training to improve customer service (which had become shoddy) and learn what Starbucks was about.  It will probably start to come here as well. 

Are they expensive?  Yes.  Do they pay their employees more than the average cafe?  Definitely, yes.  Do they buy fair trade coffee in order for the farmers to get the money that they deserve?  Yes.  Does this make the coffee more expensive?  Of course. 

I know that when I was a manager, I would have been all over the barista that served a latte with spoiled milk.  I would have had them re-make the drink that was picked up off the table before it was finished.  I would demand that the cafe, back of house, and kitchen were sparkling clean.  I would also expect every single person to be kind, attentive, and quick with their service.  That is what was expected of them.  If it wasn't done, there were some pretty tough ramifications. 

Customers are what make a place.  If the baristas are terrible, customers won't come back.  In the end, I had a very good experience working there.  I have been in stores where the customer service and ability to make a good drink is total crap.  It makes me very sad because that is not the company philosophy.  The company is trying to turn it around.

Should you buy from Starbucks?  That is your decision.  I just thought it would be nice to hear from someone who worked for the company and saw it from the inside out.  I was treated better at Starbucks that I have ever been treated at any of my office jobs.  I personally find that to speak volumes.


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Offline Andee

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2008, 06:41:01 AM »
Dar, it's good to hear your point of view.  I was actually considering Starbucks as a place to work.  (I recently found out that I could make about the same as a barista--not even a manager or asst. manager--as I do where I work now as an assistant manager!

At one time in Philadelphia I avoided Starbucks because I was afraid they would put the the funky independant coffee places out of business, especially around the South Street area where I used to work.  But that didn't really happen, and in fact I believe even a new shop or two opened up very close to Starbucks. 

I had friends who liked Starbucks so that's the place we would meet up at, and friends who swore it off, so we'd meet at the independant shops.  In the end, I guess I gave my money to both.

As far as cost, it never really bothered me since going out for coffee, rather than making it at home was purely a treat and not something I'd do everyday, so I didn't mind paying for it--especially, like Dar said, if it was fair trade coffee.
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Offline hatsumomo

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2008, 08:31:21 AM »
I hate them -

1.  The snotty way they behave when you ask for a "large _____" and they say "don't you mean a VENTI mocha choca latte frappe with soy and a shot of espresso?!?!?".  Sorry i'm not going to buy into an idiotic marketing ploy and use special words when ordering something.
2.  I hate the way they have built up this image that their coffee is somehow luxurious. It's the coffee equivalent of going to McDonalds.
3.  Their products are nasty.  Drinks are underwhelming and their sandwiches make me gag.

You can tell I like Starbucks.   ;D

Offline Aless

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2008, 08:51:12 AM »
Dar - thanks for that post.  I think some people don't realise this about "evil" Starbucks.  I've had several friends that have worked for the company and have all said the same thing.

Yes, they probably need to work on their consumer image and service issues that have slipped over the past few years, but even people who hate the COFFEE have to admit they are a morally responsible company - more than other coffee chains or even local coffee shops.

I will admit that I enjoyed Starbucks a few years ago than I do now.  Maybe it's some of the service issues Dar mentioned, but the coffee at my local one just isn't as good anymore...I've just stopped going (used to buy one maybe 1-2/month, so never was a big customer anyway) because the past few coffees there have just tasted poor and the syrups/flavorings are just off somehow.  I think perhaps in the fervor of growth, their training has slipped.  Hopefully in this contracting trend in the company they will re-focus on the essentials of service and quality.
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Offline Elynor

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2008, 09:15:17 AM »
Because I don't like coffee and they can't seem to make a decent cup of tea. Even in the UK! :P

Offline Dar

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2008, 09:21:29 AM »
The service has slipped and they are re-focusing on training.  When I worked there, the products were really good.  The thought that went into each drink was ridiculous.  I spent hours, literally, HOURS, training my staff on the proper way to pull a shot, the differences between a long shot and a short shot, how to steam milk, how to steam soy, how to steam organic milk, and the list goes on and on and on.  The amount a barista has to know to work the bar is mind-boggling.  In addition, they are expected to chat with the customers while pushing out high quality drinks in under a minute.

Hatsumomo, if that is how they are responding to you, speak to their manager.  That is completely unacceptable and the manager would agree.  Those special words are for the barista making the drink.  It is their job to pass on your order to the person at the bar and not insult you in the process.

The coffee is good.  It is very high quality (I've been to the roasting plant and seen the process).  It is very strong and so most people don't like it.  Again, it is a personal choice.  I always found the mild blend to be a bit strong, but, my dad saw it as the darker the better.  

This fall in their service is so incredibly sad.  I remember my local Starbucks from when I worked in Massachusetts.  The baristas knew me by name, chatted with me, had my drink ready for me before I finished paying, and all of them were lovely people.  That is what Starbucks wants every customer to experience and it is sad that it isn't happening anymore.

Anyway, I won't say anymore.  I'll get off my soap box.  I guess I just wanted people to know that there are two sides to every story.  Or something.  

Because I don't like coffee and they can't seem to make a decent cup of tea. Even in the UK! :P

I agree.  The tea is a bit rubbish (I do like the mint tea though.  It was wonderous for my stomach when it was upset).
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Offline StephanieLea

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2008, 09:22:45 AM »
Starbucks are okay.. their coffee isnt that great, but I always go for the fairtrade which seems better than the house blend. I live a mile from one so it's more convenience than anything else. I prefer Caffe Nero but it's in the town which I only venture to about once a month..

If we had a cozy cafe somewhere, i'd go for it, but they don't exist in these parts. It does make holidaying in France all the better though..  :)
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Offline Marlene

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2008, 10:03:53 AM »
I agree, one of my good friends managed a Starbucks for a while and he said that he was treated very well as an employee, and still defends them as an employer to this day (not in regard to the drinks).  So I have a certain level of respect for that.  I don't really go there, as I think the shops are really taking a turn for the worse.  The interiors look horrible and there seems no motivation for franchisers to keep up their appearances.  Couches are ripped and wallpaper is falling off the walls...

I also don't like their coffees.  For me, its important that the coffees taste good.  Regardless of theri abilities to be good employers, I do not choose to buy their drinks.

Dar - thanks for that post.  I think some people don't realise this about "evil" Starbucks.  I've had several friends that have worked for the company and have all said the same thing.

Yes, they probably need to work on their consumer image and service issues that have slipped over the past few years, but even people who hate the COFFEE have to admit they are a morally responsible company - more than other coffee chains or even local coffee shops.

I will admit that I enjoyed Starbucks a few years ago than I do now.  Maybe it's some of the service issues Dar mentioned, but the coffee at my local one just isn't as good anymore...I've just stopped going (used to buy one maybe 1-2/month, so never was a big customer anyway) because the past few coffees there have just tasted poor and the syrups/flavorings are just off somehow.  I think perhaps in the fervor of growth, their training has slipped.  Hopefully in this contracting trend in the company they will re-focus on the essentials of service and quality.

Offline helle_chic

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2008, 11:00:44 AM »
I have never had a problem with Starbucks...  For me, it is a local business! :P  Then again I don't particularly like coffee in general, so no argument for those who don't like their coffee.  I find that I don't go very often here in London, because a lot of my favorite drinks and treats are just not the same (I miss the chai!), and Starbucks is one of very few places in London where for some reason I can't help converting prices to dollars in my head... 
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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2008, 12:42:25 PM »
 
Well, maybe those are the stats, but they did run out a couple of lovely well-run interesting independent coffee shops in Providence by setting up virtually right next door.  :-\\\\

That's probably true in the states but I have to say that things have really improved for parents of young children since the arrival of Starbucks.  Before that there was either a limit of the number of  children allowed in most cafes/coffee shops (they'd stop you at the door) or babies were not welcome at all (coffee shops in my town had signs on the door saying this).  Since Starbucks most other coffee places have cleaned up thier act or gone out of business.  I think that's a good thing.

My husband loves Cafe Nerro, but I'm not a huge fan.  They refused to make me an iced latte the last time and said I'd have to get a frappe latte out of the fridge.  Um, no thanks.  If I can't have a fresh drink that I want I think I'll go elsewhere.

Offline Aless

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2008, 12:49:08 PM »
The coffee is good.  It is very high quality (I've been to the roasting plant and seen the process).  It is very strong and so most people don't like it.  Again, it is a personal choice.  I always found the mild blend to be a bit strong, but, my dad saw it as the darker the better. 

Two things:
1 - Do you know if the coffee served in the UK (and other countries) is sourced to the same standards?  Same coffee farms?

2 - I have no way in confirming this, but I think my experience in the coffee not tasting "right" recently probably has to do with how it's brewed (as in, badly trained baristas), not with the quality of the actual beans.  Last time I was in my local one, it took 2 tries and my mocha still tasted like milky vaguely coffee-flavoured warm drink.  I suspect this is where a lot of people's complaints about Starbucks coffee come from - tasting weird due to bad brewing.
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Offline bookgrl

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2008, 01:16:57 PM »
Two things:
1 - Do you know if the coffee served in the UK (and other countries) is sourced to the same standards?  Same coffee farms?

2 - I have no way in confirming this, but I think my experience in the coffee not tasting "right" recently probably has to do with how it's brewed (as in, badly trained baristas), not with the quality of the actual beans.  Last time I was in my local one, it took 2 tries and my mocha still tasted like milky vaguely coffee-flavoured warm drink.  I suspect this is where a lot of people's complaints about Starbucks coffee come from - tasting weird due to bad brewing.

The regular coffee tastes very acidic to me and gives me indigestion.  I used to work there, so I sampled all the different types. 

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2008, 01:28:49 PM »
My husband loves Cafe Nerro, but I'm not a huge fan.  They refused to make me an iced latte the last time and said I'd have to get a frappe latte out of the fridge.  Um, no thanks.  If I can't have a fresh drink that I want I think I'll go elsewhere.

We had a similar experience the last time we were at Nero.  It was around the 4th, and we had planned some "cheat days".  It was hot and I wanted a cold drink.  We queued and I asked for an iced something or another.  The barista pointed to the fridge, didn't hold our place, and we had to re-queue up.  They add ice to it after you fetch it, but it was still pretty bad.  I don't really judge a cafe by their frozen drinks, but the whole situation got to me.  The place was absolutely filthy.  It was the one we used to go to all the time while I was still refusing to go to Starbucks, so I know this isn't something that is usual for this branch.  But really, it's not that unusual either.  We've been in there on more than one occasion when it's relatively empty yet cluttered up with empty cups, plates crumbs, etc.  And the loos were out of toilet roll.  I guess almost anywhere can suffer from poor customer service and cleanliness issues depending on who is working.

Offline Dar

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2008, 01:30:05 PM »
Two things:
1 - Do you know if the coffee served in the UK (and other countries) is sourced to the same standards?  Same coffee farms?

2 - I have no way in confirming this, but I think my experience in the coffee not tasting "right" recently probably has to do with how it's brewed (as in, badly trained baristas), not with the quality of the actual beans.  Last time I was in my local one, it took 2 tries and my mocha still tasted like milky vaguely coffee-flavoured warm drink.  I suspect this is where a lot of people's complaints about Starbucks coffee come from - tasting weird due to bad brewing.

It is all sourced from the same place.  The wildly varying flavor is due crap brewing and bad training.  The baristas aren't brewing it correctly, the machine needs servicing, the coffee grind is too coarse or too fine, or the barista isn't following the correct drink recipe.

The regular coffee tastes very acidic to me and gives me indigestion.  I used to work there, so I sampled all the different types. 

The regular coffees are rather acidic.  The only one I could drink without having indigestion was the Kenyan roast.  Although, pretty much all coffee gives me indigestion.  :-\\\\
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Offline Marlene

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Re: Why do *you* hate Starbucks?
« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2008, 03:57:17 PM »
I agree, it makes me feel ill  :-X

The regular coffee tastes very acidic to me and gives me indigestion.  I used to work there, so I sampled all the different types.