600 Starbucks to close. Good Riddance!

600 Starbucks to close. Good Riddance!

Summary: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!As the great Obi-Wan Kenobi once said "I felt a great disturbance in the Force...

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Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

As the great Obi-Wan Kenobi once said "I felt a great disturbance in the Force...as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced."

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Some of you might have missed the memo from early July, but 600 of Starbucks' stores are about to close. This amounts to nearly 9 percent of of the total of 7,087 stores that the mega-chain operates.As we all know, caffeine is the fuel of the IT worker. Admit it, we're all a bunch of junkies, whether its that $5 tall skim milk cappuccino with a quadruple shot (my personal crutch to help me get through a particularly difficult day),  Green Tea Lattes or even chaining Diet Cokes.  Without that simple C8H10N4O2  molecule, all the enterprise systems in the world won't stop every overworked tech worker from falling asleep at their desks. If I was a James Bond villain or a seriously twisted anarchist, endangering the world's coffee supply would be top on my list of things to do in order to bring about world chaos. Note to Osama: Don't get any weird ideas, man. I'm just a freaking tech columnist.

So Starbucks is feeling the crunch of the recession. Yes, you got it right, this is a RECESSION. Full blown, people are losing their jobs, people can't afford basic necessities recession. Not "We might be entering a recession". We've been in the midst of it for a least a year now.  Major corporations like Starbucks have a lot of money in their coffers to ride out bad times, but even giants like those are fully aware of what the mind-boggling costs are of running a huge retail store network like that are, and have to make some hard choices.

So if your local Starbucks is closing down, what do you do?

Well, for starters, I'd think about supporting your local mom and pop businesses. Whenever I travel, I seek out the independent coffee roasters, that put a lot of care into their businesses and take pride in their work, many of which support sustainable and Fair Trade coffee growers from 3rd-world countries. It isn't that Starbucks doesn't deliver a decent and consistent product, but after a while, you get tired of the sameness and want something different. I also find the Starbucks dark city roast to be somewhat on the burned side, which brings out the more bitter elements of the coffee. This is apparently what most consumers want, because when they briefly went to a milder roast, it didn't do as well. Starbucks coffee is also ridiculously overpriced. I mean, really, what should a regular triple shot cappuccino actually cost? $2.50?

I also see this as an opportunity for IT shops to improve the quality of their coffee in their break rooms. I mean, what would it actually cost to set up a "coffee club" where you bring in one of those decent automated Keurig coffee machines with different flavors, or a pod-based easy-cleanup espresso machine and share the cost among a group of people, or contribute based on the honor system? Keep your IT workers happy with good coffee and keep them at their desks.

And if you're an independent coffee roaster, if you haven't done it already, set yourself up with a Cable Modem/DSL line and free Wi-Fi for your customers. Starbucks charges for it and it always makes me think twice about going into one when I know I need my email and Frappuccino fix.

And for God sakes, Corporate America  -- Mini Moos do NOT have an unlimited shelf life, ok? When they curdle in coffee, it's time to get new ones.

If your local Starbucks is closing, what do you plan to do about it? Talk Back and let me know.

Topics: Collaboration, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Telcos, Wi-Fi

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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Talkback

39 comments
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  • ZD Can't Spell

    It's "riddance" not "riddens". If "riddens" was supposed to be a play on words or a joke or a reference to something having to do with coffee, I don't get it.

    Otherwise, since you guys write about tech, maybe use that there spellchecker next time.

    Sheesh.

    Oh, and since I don't drink coffee and think Starbucks is overpriced Lemming Food, I don't really care that they're closing 600 stores. Good riddance indeed.
    quasilou
    • re: ZD Can't Spell

      Since we're pointing out mistakes.....

      'ZD' didn't make the mistake, Jason Perlow did. ;)
      Badgered
      • re: ZD Can't Spell

        It was a choice, not a mistake, to emphasize that it's a writer on a tech site (one of the biggest in the world) who didn't bother to use a spellchecker.

        ;)
        quasilou
        • Then it was a poor choice

          [i]It was a choice, not a mistake, to emphasize that it's a writer on a tech site (one of the biggest in the world) who didn't bother to use a spellchecker.[/i]

          IMO it was a poor choice. ZD still didn't write or edit the article. Jason did. Now if every article or blog ever posted on ZDNet used 'Riddens' instead of 'Riddance', then I could see your point. As it stands, 1 person made the mistake not the entire company.
          Badgered
      • This is what happens when you don't have your morning coffee before writing

        BTW, a recession has several other side effects, such as the lack of copy editors for bloggers :)
        jperlow
        • Heh

          Well kudos to you for making the joke - and leaving the mistake :)
          quasilou
          • Aww, man...

            Now I have to take back half a kudo...what am I supposed to do with it?!
            quasilou
  • Good Riddance

    Good riddance
    rbennett00
  • RE: 600 Starbucks to close. Good Riddens!

    I plan to walk around the corner to the one that didn't close. If both of them close, I guess I'll have to go a full block to find one.
    6feet_
  • Wrong, not recession

    This isn't about recession.

    This is about stores that used to roast their own beans to make the store smell nice.

    This is about employees who actually made expresso at one time, instead of using semi-automated machines.

    Memo to Starbucks: You want to charge a premium for ceffee? Great, but you'd better provide a premium environment.

    How about you stop trying to sell music and concentrate on your core business. And make sure every store has free wifi.
    croberts
    • Re: Wrong, not recession

      First off, it's "espresso" not "expresso".

      Second, don't you think it's a bit odd to say that Starbucks should concentrate on their core business, then complain that they don't offer free wi-fi in all of their stores?

      What's their core business in your mind? Coffee or free wi-fi?
      quasilou
      • No Contradiction

        First off, considering the 's' and 'x' keys are beside each other, hopefully you'll forgive my typo.

        Secondly, the core business is to sell coffee. The Wifi should be an enabler, not a revenue stream. You want people to sit in the stores and drink. That's not to say it shouldn't be throttled or bandwidth limited in some way.
        croberts
        • No, their core business ...

          ... is not to sell coffee. Anyone can sell coffee. Their core business was to provide a high-quality coffee house style experience (which you comment on in your original post).

          I don't think we disagree on the essentials here, just wanted to clarify that one point.
          RationalGuy
          • Fair enough - agreed (nt)

            (nt)
            croberts
    • 40c/cup.

      I have no affiliation with them, except that I (and now a few people who have tried my coffee) own one of their machines. For those who love gourmet coffee, and there are hundreds of varieties, this is great. I still have the regular coffee pot for mass quantities, lol. This is especially efficient when you and just you want a cup of coffee.

      http://www.keurig.com/

      Pod systems don't match the quality.

      I discovered this machine about 4 years ago, on site customer visit, they had the corporate version in their office.

      TripleII

      Note: 40c/cup is with online purchase at any number of k-cup suppliers, you can find them, don't want to plug the one I use, however, 40c (including shipping) is your target price.
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Oops, meant to reply to story. (NT)

        (NT)
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
  • I'd hardly call a $3 cup of coffee a basic necessity (nt)

    nt
    Michael Kelly
    • True

      [i]I'd hardly call a $3 cup of coffee a basic necessity[/i]

      True, but my $1.25 20oz bottle of Mt. Dew sure is!
      Badgered
    • No, but

      $4+/gallon gasolene to get me to work, $150 at the grocery store that used to be $100, $80/month for water/gas instead of $40 in the dead of summer (well over $250 in the winter) $120/month electricity that used to be $80....


      These not necessities either? How am I supposed to buy expensive, sh*tty coffee from a shop full of sheep when everything is so expensive? (joke - but in all reality, people who aren't feeling the pinch are fortunate, everyone else can see just how bad it really is right now)
      laura.b
  • I buy whole beans and make my own..

    I buy pound packs of whole beans. The beans are UTZ certified, of course: http://www.utzcertified.org/

    I grind each time just enough beans for the amount of coffee that I want to make, so that I always have fresh coffee.

    Then I pour boiling water on it... there's nothing like it. Liquid dark fire. No coffee restaurant can compete.
    pjotr123