Monday, September 22, 2008

A Parting Double-Shot

Before I get started with this, I just want to say that I do understand that a Starbucks closing is not the worst thing in the world that can happen. I am not that shallow. There are tragedies large and small taking place all around the world every moment of the day, and billions of people would love to have no bigger problem than a coffee shop closing.

I get that. Truly I do.

And this will be my last post about it.

That being said, I've also come to realize that I can only control what I can control. I can't make everyone in Paris recycle, but I can recycle here at home, then talk to people about what I do, and encourage them to start. I can't feed the world, but I can take a bag of groceries to Christians in Action. I can't stop war, but I can encourage people to vote.

I can't keep Wendy's from being taken over by Arby's, but I can vote my measly 52 shares against the merger. And I can't keep our Starbucks open, but I can make a little bit of noise when I think they treated their employees shabbily on their last day of business. I posted the following as a customer comment on the Starbucks website on Saturday morning:

Yesterday was the final day of business for the Paris, Texas, location. I am most disappointed in the way the closing was handled. Instead of giving Starbucks’ loyal customers and friends one last chance to stop in and receive our normal legendary service in the customary, wonderful environment the Paris store has always provided, some bright light made the decision to send in people from another store to start packing everything up DURING BUSINESS HOURS. You couldn’t have waited until the store had actually closed to do all this? Unbelievable.

What this meant for customers trying to say goodbye, was that our favorite baristas, shifts, and managers had to try their hardest to work around strangers who were running around with power tools, taking fixtures off the walls, removing product from the serving line, and generally making nuisances of themselves. It also meant that we customers had to sidestep piles of boxes and packing materials in the lobby. Rather dangerous and extremely irritating. One of the people who came in was, I believe, the store manager from your Texarkana location. Besides the fact that she had a visible tattoo and a pink stripe in her hair (when did that become acceptable?), she was rather loud and obnoxious as she yelled directions at the people she had brought with her. “Take this! Pack that! Don’t leave that behind – we can use that!” They took so much product off the line, that the last few customers in the store at 5:30, there for the 6:00 close, had to wait while one of the Paris baristas had to go look in one of the Texarkana crew’s truck to get STRAWS for the drinks that were still being sold.

To their credit, and despite all the mayhem, the Paris staff still managed to work with smiles on their faces, putting out terrific products, taking time out for hugs, or pictures, or answering questions about where they’d be working next from their longtime regular customers. They have stayed positive and upbeat, even as they knew that their store would be closing. We customers never heard a single, negative word from them about your ill-considered and idiotic decision to close this store.

Since you're closing 600 of your stores, one would think that you ought to be getting pretty good at it, but it's apparent that you have a long way to go to figure out how to close a store. Quite obviously, The Starbucks Corporation doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your now-former Paris customers, but your partners in this store deserved much, MUCH better from you.

That is all.


ajreed said...

Bravo for a well said piece towards the Starbucks Corporation.

Dee Martin said...