I loved Starbucks for over 25 years, traveling to what was known as the 3rd Place twice a day anywhere I might be located all over the world. Howard Schultz successfully imported an idea from Europe and perfected his dream he called the 3rd Place.
But alas, he allowed his management ranks to become infiltrated by interlopers who were formerly members of management from places like Jack in the Box. The new management, many of whom never worked in a Starbucks and had no idea what the 3rd Place was all about, were successful in transforming Starbucks to something akin to Jack in the Box.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Jack in the Box on occasion. It has its place, but it will never be the 3rd Place. Now Starbucks is no longer the 3rd Place. Prices are up to ridiculous heights. Pastries are down in size and flavor. Seldom do they use both cash registers to reduce a long line. The seating is designed to push customers back out the door. The music is no longer hip and designed to push customers out the door once they have left their money inside. Someone with a stopwatch has even removed most of the garbage cans in the name of barista efficiency.
Lastly, have you noticed that if you accumulate more than one free food or drink reward, Starbucks redeems the most recent reward thereby increasing the odds that your oldest rewards will go unclaimed. While there is nothing illegal about this tactic, it is another example of how Starbucks has stamped out their exemplary service focus.
There is a positive side. As a stock holder, we are currently making piles of money including stock splits, dividends and increased stock values. We can thank Jack in the Box for that.
I was driving by the Lakewood Towne Center Starbucks the other evening when I noticed that the sign on the side of the building was morphing into a more accurately descriptive name for Starbucks based on their current success in trouncing the 3rd Place and Jacking the profits.
Yes, Starbucks is no longer a bright star in the world of customer service and 3rd Place style environment. It has been reduced by greed to being just a money making machine. It makes sense that after shrinking value and service, they should shrink the name to more accurately reflect the true nature of their business model. That is why I was not amazed to see the Starbucks sign slowly fading and shrinking down to Bucks Coffee. Bucks Coffee: that says it all.