Wednesday, January 23, 2008

it is about time starbucks!

times finally aren’t so good for starbucks. about three years ago i tried to give starbucks coffee up – let me repeat that. i tried giving up “starbucks coffee”, not “coffee” – i’m not that crazy :) it wasn’t that i didn’t enjoy their coffee, in fact i love their coffee. i’m not one to order a frappucchino, a mocha, etc. – i just want a cup of black coffee with nothing added to it & in my opinion starbucks coffee quality & taste is consistent & rocks.

so why did i try to give it up? starbucks was becoming to commercial. it started feeling like a fast food shop – how quick can we turn a customer in/out appeared to be their driving concern. drive-thru windows were even installed. OK, i’ll admit that drive thru can be convenient at times. ever try sitting at a starbucks to actually do work? have you noticed that it’s always freezing inside starbucks & loud? you think that’s an accident? heck no, they want you in & out that door as quickly as possible. so they crank down the air & turn up the music & people leave because they can’t concentrate. the straw that broke the camels back was when they introduced t-mobile & *not* free internet - i was so pissed! then more food items started showing up (none of them good for you), they started selling walls of merchandise to include $1,500 espresso machines, CD purchases, & over-priced odwalla drinks, water, etc. most importantly of all these things – a tall coffee costs over a $1.70! i was checking out starbuck’s menu one afternoon & if you order anything other than a tall coffee or a espresso shot you are in for a $2+ drink. most drinks on their menu range from $3 - $4 bucks! give me a break!

the problem i ran into while trying to give up starbucks... other coffee spots were convenient given my location & the coffee was usually hit or miss day-to-day. it also seemed that ever corner i turned someone was giving me a starbucks card as a present so how could i avoid free coffee?

so i continue like so many others to frequent starbucks on a daily basis. how do i afford it? you’ll love this – the credit card kristin & i use is a starbucks rewards card. we don’t earn air miles – we earn starbuck’s points. for over two years now we’ve been fortunate enough that we’ve never had to “pay” the high dollars at starbucks due to the plethora of points that we earn each month.

we’ll i’m not the only one that has been frustrated by starbucks obviously & as a result starbucks IS now starting to feel some pain due to all their “dirty” tactics. they claim to serve their consumers – yeh right! gouge them for every dollar you can & get them out as quickly as possible has been their approach for too long!

it was just two weeks ago that they brought back their original CEO that took them to the top. early this month they fired jim donald & they reinstated howard shultz. if you own
starbuck’s stock then you know that on jan. 4th their stock price was sitting at $18.11. the stock had fallen over half of its value since may 5th of 2006 when it was at its peak of $39.63 a share.

upon hearing this news i visited
starbuck’s website & the home page was nothing but a letter from their CEO howard shultz explaining to consumers (aka investors) how he was going to turn things around & serve his customers ethically. you can still find the letter on their website but it no longer makes up their main page.

oddly enough starbucks is supposedly feeling the crunch from dunkin donuts & mcdonalds. i hear mcdonald’s coffee is actually really good & cheap; however, it goes against everything i believe in to visit a mcdonalds. as for dunkin, there is only one that i know of in austin & it’s out of my way to visit. i have been reading a lot about dunkin & how they have been working on changing their brand image recently. they’ve always been the coffee/donut shop for the common man. while i think they still stand by that statement, they are changing things up to draw more consumers (yuppies that are frustrated with starbucks) through their doors.

so this morning i heard something on NPR about starbucks that really peaked my interest. starbucks is going to offer a
$1 cup of coffee. i have repeated it over & over that a cup of black coffee should *not* cost any more than a buck. unfortunately for me starbucks is only rolling this promo idea out in its seattle store locations to see how it’s going to work & probably more importantly whether they can sustain at selling coffee at this price. i think it may actually work for them & more importantly us – the consumer! now how about turning that A/C down & providing us some free internet shultz!

additional information about starbucks if you are curious:

- 1971: first stoor opened in seattle
- 1982: howard shutlz gets involved
- jul. 03, 1992: starbucks IPOs for $0.71 – 165 stores
- 1999: starbucks buys TAZO tea (ever wonder why they sell TAZO?)
- 2000: shultz steps down & orin smith becomes CEO
- 2001: the starbucks card that we all have learned to love makes its appearance
- 2003: starbucks acquires seattle’s best
- 2004: t-mobile hot spots installed (bad (greedy) move)
- 2005: orin smith retires, jim donald takes charge
- may 05, 2006: starbucks is at it’s peak $39.63 – 12,440 stores!
- jan. 04, 2008: starbuck’s stock is at $18.11 (less than half of what it was worth in may ’06)
- jan. 04, 2008: starbucks sells naked juice brand (cutting loss leaders)
- jan. 04, 2008: starbucks stops offering organic milks (cutting costs & inventory)
- jan. 07, 2008: donald is fired & shutlz is brought back in as CEO
- jan. 23, 2008: trying $1 coffee in seattle stores

- jan. 23, 2008: starbuck’s stock is at $18.67 (well, we are headed into a recession folks)

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