Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Starbucks, au Courant

Are the times a-changin’ at Starbucks?

For the Hartford Courant, enough time has for customers to wake up and assess whether they get more of rush from patronizing one of the Seattle-based chain’s cafes than they did a week ago.

Starbucks has taken action to avoid sinking like a stone. On Feb. 26, days after it announced the layoff of 600 employees, Starbucks closed 7,100 stores from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to train more than 135,000 employees in the fine art of brewing espresso.

Just one week later, on March 4, the Courant ran a verdict story.

Was the Starbucks experience conspicuously improved? Or is it all foam?

One reader called the training a corporate stunt.

Another said Starbucks is great and that she doesn’t mind paying the ``extra few cents.'' A writer, boldly self-identified as ``JP,’’ said ``Pretentious BS, like calling the minimum-wage counter drones `Baristas,’ ‘’ should be ignored. JP doesn't mind five bucks a cup for some brews.

``It’s a cup of coffee,’’ another reader noted. Baristas – Starbucks also calls them ``store partners,’’

[C]ould probably care less and are just being exploited for meager wages by pretentious suburbanites who feel an undeserved sense of entitlement.

By pretentious suburbanites, was this commentator was referring to Starbucks corporate execs or customers, or both? Not clear.

Will Starbucks become a more fun place?

Maybe yes.

Maybe no.

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