9 Reasons to Stay Out of Starbucks


Starbucks: people either love ‘em or loathe ‘em. My husband likes their coffee and admires their business brains. I, on the other hand, can’t stand them for their homogenized, yuppie style. Having grown up in grunge-era Seattle, once a land of artsy coffee shops crammed with kitschy sofas and local color, cookie-cutter Starbucks look to me like a department store: void of soul and chock-full of useless merchandise.

But how bad is Starbucks, really? I decided to find out.

1. Clean water is such a precious commodity in the world these days, but Starbucks didn’t seem to care. Their “leave the tap running all day” policy created an eco-scandal to the tune of 23 million litres wasted every day. Less than a year later, they’re installing water-saving faucets which purport to reduce water wastage by 150 gallons per day, per store. Note, they only changed their wasteful ways after they got caught.

2. Although some people claim that having a Starbucks in the neighborhood is actually good for local mom & pop cafes, the long-running belief is that Starbucks turns the uniquely local neighborhood vibe into cookie-cutter corporate…well, crap. Perhaps it’s really just a matter of taste, but most of your dollars spent at a Starbucks location will end up in the pockets of distant executives – and not circulate in your local economy.

3. Ever keen to new marketing strategies, Starbucks has decided to co-opt the unique neighborhood vibe. What you think is your local indie cafe might actually be a Starbucks in disguise. To try and get the business of economic locavores, Starbucks has sent out scouts to cop the look and feel of various neighborhoods, then create a “unique” coffeeshop under a different name. Some might call this a brilliant business strategy, but I think it’s pretty underhanded.

4. Then there was the Ethiopian coffee debacle. In 2006, the Ethiopian government attempted to trademark regional coffees such as Sidamo and Harar because these specialty brews sell for up to $26 a pound, with only about $1 getting back to the Ethiopian coffee farmers. Starbucks, working through the National Coffee Association, blocked Ethiopia’s trademark bid, helping ensure the continuation of poverty in an already impoverished region.

5. Did you hear about the tip scandal? A former (and clearly disgruntled) Starbucks barista successfully sued the corporation on behalf of all California baristas in a class action law suit. Starbucks was ordered to pay $100 million to baristas to make up for tips that had been given to shift supervisors. It sounds like the ultimate low blow, but there is a grey area here: although California law prohibits managers and supervisors from receiving tips, Starbucks’ shift supervisors do help customers and make coffee. They’re paid much more than the baristas; do they also deserve a cut of the tips?

6. After years of customers haggling them for recycling bins, or at least recyclable cups, Starbucks has finally launched a recycling pilot program. Puh-lease…coffee shops the world over have already had recycling and composting systems in place for years. Starbucks should have been able to do better, and faster – why has it taken them so long to jump on the greenwagon?

7. Starbucks has decided to increase their purchases of Fair Trade coffee – but that’s only after years of pressure from Fair Trade groups. Considering that the worldwide coffee trade is a huge source of oppression and poverty in third world countries, buying Fair Trade goes far to support better wages and working conditions for coffee farmers. So far, only a small percentage of Starbucks coffee will actually be Fair Trade Certified, but they’ve still created a marketing campaign around it. I’d expect better from a large corporation; since Starbucks is large enough for the world to pay attention to its products, they could push some powerful change by using their influence for the greater good.

8. No matter what they do to be a little more green, if Starbucks won’t pour coffee into a reusable mug, they’ll never win my heart. My husband informed me of his own infuriating Starbucks experience where they refused to fill his travel mug, instead handing him his latte in a disposable paper cup and telling him he could fill his travel mug himself. He’s not the only one who’s had eco efforts thwarted like this at Starbucks.

9. And besides, McDonald’s beat Starbucks in a coffee taste test. Ouch!

So what do you think? Personally, I think Starbucks can do better and set a positive example for the coffee business in general, but they won’t do that unless they feel the heat from customers.


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42 thoughts on “9 Reasons to Stay Out of Starbucks

  1. Pingback: Bombarded by Stupidity: The Easy Access to a Framework of Purity | Have I Convinced You Yet?

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  3. Hi – I’d love to see a follow up to this post.. it’s 3 years later and so many of the things mentioned here have changed. Big organisations do take ages to react / change course… I think the sheer scale can make it hard. I remember reading about when McDonalds wanted to introduce apple in a bag and it took them years.. and they over night became the largest single purchaser of apples in the US …

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  6. I had to chalk up my cue stick 7 months later just to demonstrate that my hatred for the sleezepit corpo dung heap is not a fleeting thing. I have something that should be considered for #10. You will not get a straight or truthful answer from anyone in their chain of command(like that is something new). Ask them how many dead dried monkeys they have fished out of their coffee containers.That is not a joke. They have a bad problem with monkeys climbing into the conex boxes at the ports when they pack the pallets of coffee for shipment. After a few days the poor monkeys without food or water climb on top off the stacks of coffee beans and die. I stopped drinking their coffee after they talked about that during one of our training classes. The thought that the special disgusting flavor of their coffee might be essence of dead monkey grossed me out.Believe me you do not want to drink anything that came from under a dead dried monkey carcus.
    That is not the most disgusting thing I have seen or heard about that bunch. I refuse to talk about the other thing I sawwhile working there. I get nausea if I think about it. I do not let my family members go there,but I have never had a problem with any of them going there.If they decided on the spur of the moment to stop in I would try to stop them. If they went anyway I would monitor them for a few days.

  7. @ ROBB face it…….American will never stop drinking coffee, and we will always love it. If your so worried about the environment, why don’t you not eat anything and live in a recycled cardboard box to help the world. Seriously…..EVERY SINGLE thing you use on a day to day basis harms the environment. Drinking one less cup of coffee isn’t gonna stop the world from global warming now is it? How about beef and other crops you eat? It has to be all grown on a farm, and watered, and shipped to your local supermarket. If everyone thought like you, we might as well not live anymore and chuck ourselves off of a giant cliff…

  8. My hatred for Starbucks runs far deeper than some enviro concept they may be violating. I hate them because of the way they lie to and cheat their employees. They are the biggest deadbeats in the corporate world yet they live a lie of false fairness every day. One bare faced lie they tell/told over and over was the coffee they provided to the troops overseas. They did not give one pound of coffee to anyone. The employees get a pound a week called mark off. Their supervisors came around and brow beat them out of their pound so the corpo deadbeats could ride that lie. Another thing is the free community service. After standing beside their 500 degreeF roasting machines for a 12 hour shift on concrete floors …the last thing I feel like doing is going to a nearby park and pulling weeds and providing free landscaping service. On top of that I am allergic to bee stings. I have almost died twice from bee stings. Makes no difference in their eyes I was a no good bum because I would not risk my life for free on MY off time. The 3rd but just one in many reasons I loathe this bunch of losers is the retirement plan they don’t have. After working there for a year or so they used to give a one percent match to a sort of 401k plan they had. Now they don’t match anything. They will take your funds and use them for free if you let them ,but unlike most companies in the USA they will not match a dime. They also do not do an annual raise. They will quickly tell you DUHHHH We just don’t do that anymore….DUHHHH!!!!They lie like other people breathe….and double dog dare you to call them on it. I told them 3 times..THREE …33333…TREY times that I SMOKE !!!!! I SMOKE!!!!!! I SMOKE!!!!!!!! Not a problem dude…No problem …we have an area in our break area for smokers….The first day of training the lil rug munchie lesbo HR team nazi tells me they are going to be a TOBACCO FREE CAMPUS after the first of the year. They will just send me to the doctor and give me a shot that will make me stop smoking. Not to worry that 5000 people that have taken the majic shot have commited suicide. What about me telling you THREE TIMES THAT I SMOKE and it was not a problem..”Well I don’t know anything about that but if you smoke after the first you will be terminated”….The fact that I took a urine test and completely disclosed the fact that I have fused discs in my spine and I take a pain med some times did not go unchallenged. Their corpo doc was fine with that,but that did not stop their lil training munchkin from screaming at me in a class room full of my peers that you look like some kind of “DOPE FIEND !!!! ” YEP !!!!! You look like you are HIGH ON DRUGS!!!! I stood up and screamed back. I will be glad to pee in any cup you have!!!! I started packing my training manuals and getting my study materials together when she ran over and asked what I was doing. I told her I was going to go get a drug screen. She immediately told me to sit down and forget about it. I said Oh no….you want to make those kind of allegations against me in public in front of my coworkers…I’m going to give you a chance to back them up. She again told me to sit down and forget about it. …How fair is it to read someones personal records then come to a public forum and chastise them that way? That is typical Starbucks style. I finally got to the point one day that I just packed up and left. To Hell with them all!!!!!

  9. Sorry to make you wrong about that… “9 Reasons to Stay Out of Starbucks”. I’m about to give you reason NUMBER 10 and it isn’t pretty.
    Now, many of you might recall about a year and a half ago, the EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation) filed suit in federal court against AT&T regarding their pact (contract) with Satan… in the form of the spyware they WILLINGLY maintain for the NSA (National Security Agency) to spy on all AT&T Wifi traffic. That means you the Amerikan citizen. The suit was well publicized, however dismissed by some federal (career-minded judge) that dismissed on the feds motion to preserve “national security” (Adolph Hitler’s old ploy)
    Well, let’s move forward to last Sunday, June 27, 2010, approx. 12:00. In case any of you were wondering why the AT&T hotspots were down at Starbucks FOR NEARLY 8 1/2 HOURS, it was NOT because of AT&T’s typically crappy service (this time). After making many numerous phone calls I eventually reached a mid-level AT&T tech who informed me that it was in no way an internal AT&T server problem The problem was the software link to the NSA was broken and that automatically disallowed any web traffic at all from AT&T hotspots (i.e. STARBUCKS!) because if the NSA was unable, for any reason, to monitor and filter web traffic the software shuts down the entire link. How nice is that? The Starbucks Wifi finally came back on at 8:13 PM.
    Ok, so I’M not a terrorist e-mailing for some rockets to get mailed from Pakistan to LA or something, but how about other (so-assumed) private matters, like e-mails from cheaters sent to their mistresses or lovers? How about sensitive e-mails communications to your secret offshore banks?
    Needless to mention further, Starbucks is clearly aiding and abetting this sorry situation and customers have a right to know that using Starbucks/AT&T is NOT safe at all.
    Free wireless, don’t bet on that one? I hope no one is forgetting that nothing in life is really free.

  10. First off y’all might consider thinking about what y’all are saying b4 y’all say it cause most of y’all r just stupid. Has starbucks changed over the years, of course, so has what ppl wear, what type of music is popular, the types of food commonly eaten, what’s on tv and the movies have changed. And going to the starbucks in your small town does help it’s economy because the partners at that store rely on that store continuing to be open and tips which they spend at that town. I’m a shift supervisor and guess what, we don’t make that much more than baristas, that’s why we also get tips, that, and this whole site is just a big example as to why the west coast is so fucked up. Yeah we prevented Ethiopia from claiming that coffee, we pay the farmers much better too. Let’s face it, Ethiopia isn’t exactly known for it’s advances in human rights. As far as the fair trade comment, the price of having a coffee certified as fair trade in America is a lot more than it is in the uk.

    While this country is seeing more and more of it’s companies outsource to other countries to escape taxes or find cheaper labor, y’all attack an American company that remains in the U.S. And employs a couple hundred thousand employees, stop being selfish, this country doesn’t need your can’t do and why me and tattle-tale attitudes(if you hear something bad happen, don’t bitch about it for 6 months, work to fix it) much of this country is unemployed and the ones that want to work know that a crappy job still brings in a paycheck.

    I’d say find something better to do with your time but since y’all might think to have children I won’t, cause if you r this messed up, I can’t imagine how you’ll raise your kids

  11. Fast is Starbucks coffee sucks, I didn’t know all this stuff but most people don’t even know what the hell real coffee tastes like with out all the sugar, creme and frothed milk.

  12. I think their brew is schmoo. I had a gift card that came with wifi access. I turns out that in order to use it I needed a credit card and to set up a 30 day acct with t mobile. What a rip. I gave the gift card to a homeless person outside so the could use the $10 in there and annoy people.

  13. I have worked at starbucks for about 3 years. I have to say its not perfect but when you talk about water wastage true but they did fix it. Starbucks gives a lot of money to people who dont have it like the product red everytime you buy a red coffee 10 cents goes to poverty and such same with ethos water 10 cents goes to clean water in africa now you may be thinking 10 cents whoopty doo but what are other water companys doing….nothing. At my starbucks we have to throw away are expired pastries out at night we put them in a bag and give them to homeless shelters 24 hour recovery places. Starbucks does try to help more then other money sucking companies. And i heard about that whole tip supervisor thing i work at a store in canada i am a shift and we get tips we only get paid 1.35 more then a barista…. so not worth it. lol. And starbucks has always tried to get people to bring their own mugs in as to why they get 10 cents off when they bring theres in. At my store we hate un green like people. we recycle yet are homeless people break open are bags and steal our recycling.

  14. Addendum:

    I believe I’ve seriously underestimated the number of postcards in my earlier post.

    Assuming 275 transactions per store per day, 365 days per year, 11,000 stores in the US, and 10% participation, would yield over 7 million post cards per year.

    Imagine what it takes to generate and mail that many postcards! And where do they go? I haven’t seen recycling bins at any of the many Starbucks stores I have visited! Colossal waste and environmental pollution!!

  15. No. 10 on the ‘Shame On You, Starbucks!’ list should be the recent change of their discount program from a paper-less, electronically processed program, to the current paper-based ‘Sweet 15′ postcard program.

    (BTW, this is not a comment on the customer un-friendliness of reducing a program that awarded a 10% discount on all purchases, to one that rewards every 15 purchase transactions, regardless of purchase amount, with a free drink.)

    What I object to is the fact that the new rewards program that Starbucks, in 2009/2010, a time when avoiding further environmental pollution is, or should be, a major business priority of every company, *initiated* a program that sends out postcards to its loyal customers every day.

    A conservative estimate would be that this is hundreds of thousands of postcards a year! How many trees is that! How much ink and printing! How many additional USPS trucks! It is safe to assume that this program increases the annual carbon footprint of Starbucks by hundreds of metric tons of CO2 emissions (the average annual carbon footprint of a person in the US is around 20 metric tons). Even if Starbucks is offsetting this, it is an irresponsible and unnecessary business practice.

    As a customer who qualifies for the rewards program already uses a Starbucks card to pay for purchases, and the purchases are tracked electronically so that Starbucks can send out the ‘Sweet 15′ postcards, surely it can’t be very difficult to tweak the software to treat the first drink after 15 purchases as a free drink.

    Starbucks no longer deserves to be rated among the most environmentally friendly companies, if ever that was an accurate reflection of their business conduct. I admit, I have been a loyal customer, as I like their coffee, and don’t mind the setting. But I no longer redeem my cards as I feel this would make me complicit in this environmentally callous and irresponsible business practice.

    I’m left wondering: is it incompetence, corporate greed or simply callous disregard for the environment that’s at work here?

  16. You had me until you said you got your coffee from McD’s instead. Really? McD’s has done more to trash our entire food system than anything Starbucks’s could do in 100 years.

  17. Pingback: Top 5 Reasons To Walk Past Starbucks « coff.eeha.us

  18. My husband was born in Seattle so I better watch what I say. :p I never step into a Starbucks unless my husband wants something. I think their coffee tastes like burnt toast. Disgusting! That goes for most of their other drinks as well. From my experience, every Starbucks I’ve ever been to seems to staff people that can’t make a decent cup of coffee.

  19. Years ago I realized how much more tasty and economical it is to make coffee at home. In the winter time I buy a giant travel thermos to carry mine around, as this is the best way to save.

  20. Everytime I’ve gone to Starbucks with my own cup they have filled it with out question. Have always very nice and I have no problems with them. May be you are just looking for a fight. If so then go after something you can really get your teeth into like the goverment.

  21. @Robb You don’t need to apologise – I think you make some valid points and I believe it’s good to have a healthy discussion of the pros and cons. I actually don’t think you sounded like a dick and you didn’t offend me. I just don’t happen to agree with you. I too have formed my views after extensive research and analysis and I am happy to agree to disagree. I hope you’ll stick around.

  22. @Jeff @Caitlin @Maggie – didn’t mean to offend you or anyone else with my anti-coffee rhetoric, obviously we’ve all got some pretty entrenched views on the subject. Agree to disagree, I guess. I’m well aware of the pros and cons, having done my own medical research on the topic and consulted with various healthcare experts – I just thought I’d offer the alternative because no one seems to be talking about it. This issue isn’t black and white, clearly, but as with any topic, there’s always a danger in just assuming the conventional wisdom is true. Didn’t mean to sound like a dick. This will be my last post on this particular thread. Cheers.

  23. @Robb – I wasn’t planning on drinking any coffee today, but I just started brewing a pot, because of your comments. I couldn’t disagree any more. There are many health benefits to drinking coffee, you should try reading up on thm.

    About the article above.. I stopped drinking starbucks because of how pricey they are. Although, I do go in there every once in awhile to get their leftover coffee grinds to add to my compost. They do give those out if you ask. At least my local starbucks does…

    And there’s no way I’ll ever drink a “fancy cup of coffee” from a McDonald ever. No matter what the taste tests say.

  24. Great reasons to stay away from Starbucks, and my main one is #3!

    On the other hand, aren’t we promoting Starbucks by talking about them?

  25. I find #8 strange because the last time we were at a Starbucks in a remote town (only on road trips when the other choice is nasty gas stations bathrooms and stale coffee) they refilled my travel mug – no problem.

    There are so many other reasons to stay away from them though!

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  27. I think the shear cost of a cup of coffee is a strike against Starbucks. By creating artificial demand for an item that on a cost-per-item basis gives them a built in profit margin that leads to unwarranted spending…

  28. Like wine, findings on coffee fluctuate. It all depends on what you believe. I don’t drink coffee because I believe it’s good for the world. I like the taste and that “flushing” process that Robb described. But I do often wonder if it works so efficiently to loosen the bowels, what else is it doing? Decaf for sure is full of chemicals, but I’ve always thought the organics are pretty good.

  29. If you are in Pittsburgh and would like one more reason to avoid Starbucks (…at least until the end of the G20 summit ..) Today in one of the Starbucks here someone replaced the supply of soap in the soap dispenser with a supply of urine!!

  30. Back to Starbucks… I have to admit I was pretty taken aback to see that the coffee concession inside the Forbidden City in Beijing was a Starbucks. (This was in 2003). Though given the general state of Chinese coffee as I experienced it, perhaps this was a good thing.

  31. Caitlin: “(Why are you on the internet right now? Do you need to be on the internet to sustain life?)”

    And that is what we call PWND.

  32. @Robb The water usage is an interesting point but I don’t really see how you connect excess water wastage with toxins in the coffee. They are two different things.

    At the small holder level and particularly for Arabica, which needs a particular climate, coffee is not an irrigated crop and it is grown in parts of the world that have quite a lot of rainfall. I assume you are talking about the water used to process the cherry to green bean stage. In some countries the first wash and fermentation is done at farm level, while in other places it’s all done at the coffee exporter’s centralised facility. In my experience there doesn’t seem to be any one method for this but I have seen many impressive set-ups that filter the water and, in some cases, return it to the environment cleaner than it was to begin with.

    All agriculture and all manufacturing uses water and coffee is not a particularly water-intensive crop as far as they go. While it may not strictly speaking be a “necessity” the same could be said for many other products, from chocolate to DVDs. (Why are you on the internet right now? Do you need to be on the internet to sustain life?). Unlike many things produced by humans, coffee at least does some good along the way.

    You said: “You don’t buy coffee because your money supports some Central American farmer and his family. You buy coffee because it’s an addictive substance that’s become part of your routine. It’s about you, not them. If this weren’t the case, you would stop drinking coffee and just send your $10 a day to a family in Colombia and cut out the middle men altogether, right?”

    No, that’s not the case at all. There have been times in my life when I’ve gone without coffee and I could do so again if I chose to. Yes, it’s part of my routine and I have some physical addiction but I choose not to break that because I passionately believe in the value of coffee as a force for good in the world. Yes, really.

    I don’t think welfare helps in the long run. I would far rather support someone’s livelihood through business and trade than give them a handout, which simply creates dependency.

    How many coffee farms and coffee processing plants have you visited in your life? I’m not saying you haven’t but I’m curious. I have visited dozens, on five continents. I have met the people I am talking about and I have an intimate understanding of how coffee affects their lives and how its absence would affect their lives.

    Without coffee, small farmholdings all over the world would become unsustainable. Acreage farmers would be forced off their land, losing the ability to grow most of their own food, and contributing to the ranks of the urban poor in the world’s swelling slums. The land would be swallowed up by bigger agricultural firms owned by Westerners, or developed. You probably think I am exaggerating. I am not.

  33. Happy to – you need to read Caffeine Blues by Dr. Stephen A. Cherniske – it’s an easy read and pretty enlightening.

    Flush out the bibliography and you’ll have a lot of what you need to know.

    I’ve long since lost access to the links to a lot of these studies myself; not being in college anymore tends to do that.

    Hopefully the book can clear some things up, but don’t take my word or his for it, really delve into the sources, I think it’ll be informative for you. Cheers.

  34. All good reasons for YOU not to go to Starbucks but looking at this week’s Newsweek highlighting the GREENEST big companies in American, Starbucks is no. 10. Not bad for a company you obviously hate so much.

  35. Caitlin,

    First, I reject the notion that coffee isn’t bad for the environment. It takes approximately 40 gallons of water to produce one cup of coffee, and we’d be naive in thinking that even “organically” grown coffee doesn’t involve some ancillary toxins. Simply put, there’s not really any such thing as sustainably grown coffee beans (on a scale that’s large enough to market – I make no presumptions about coffee grown and consumed locally). Additionally, all of these products need to be trucked or shipped like anything else, entailing additional harm to all ecosystems. Not to mention the fact that coffee beans grown and washed in Africa are contributing to a growing water crisis, especially for countries like Ethiopia and Uganda.

    Second, your argument that we need to purchase coffee to support poor farmers is a little specious. Without getting into the ethical argument of whether an industry needs to be supported simply because people are currently employed in it regardless of whether or not it’s an industry consumers actually need (which coffee is not), we need to be honest about the reasons we buy coffee. You don’t buy coffee because your money supports some Central American farmer and his family. You buy coffee because it’s an addictive substance that’s become part of your routine. It’s about you, not them. If this weren’t the case, you would stop drinking coffee and just send your $10 a day to a family in Colombia and cut out the middle men altogether, right?

    Third, in terms of health concerns, there is an equally impressive body of scientific research to suggest that coffee is bad for you (and not just caffeinated coffee – decaf is loaded with trichloroethylene, which is almost a plasticy substance that may actually be worse for you). Coffee has been shown to raise blood pressure and risk of heart attack, affect motor skills, increases aggression, and damages liver function. It overworks your adrenal glands, creates nutritional deficiencies and, perhaps most dangerously, combines with the hydrochloric acid in your stomach which causes your body to violently eject bile (hence the “flush” of your system after you drink it) and effectively poisons the lining in your stomach over time.

    Granted, there’s room for debate on all these points – coffee’s not the devil, it won’t kill you at a young age or give you cancer as an adult – but I don’t think we should hide behind a vague reverence for the farmers who produce.

    The world would be a better place if we didn’t drink it.

  36. Starbucks aint perfect, that’s for sure. Though it does seem a little unfair to criticise them for a cookie-cutter cafe layout in one breath and for creating bespoke stores to reflect the local neighbourhood feel in the next! Still you make some really good points – I didn’t know about the water wastage.

    @Robb I have to disagree with you about coffee. I have visited numerous coffee farms all over the world. It’s definitely not bad for the environment and if we stopped drinking it we would be dooming millions of poor farmers – from Africa to Asia, and Papua New Guinea to Latin America – to extreme poverty.

    Robusta beans, used for instant coffee, are not the most eco-friendly crop because it’s so commoditised and it’s often grown on large acreage without a lot of trees. But Arabica beans, used for espresso and quality drip coffee by the likes of Starbucks and others, are actually a very sustainable crop. Sustainable in environmental terms because they are grown in a mixed-crop farm and can coexist with shade trees for birds and vegetables and so on. Sustainable in social terms because it is the one cash crop accessible to poor farmers with a small acreage. Without coffee they would not be able to buy cooking oil, clothing, medicine, school fees etc.

    Secondly, it’s not that toxic for your body. There are plenty of scientific studies showing moderate consumption is actually good for your body. Most nutritionists don’t think there is anything wrong with one or two cups a day.

  37. You’ve done great research here! I agree on many fronts – but in all fairness have to point out that Starbucks has developed a pretty amazing corporate social responsibility program. I’ve done some posts about when the good stuff of today is good enough to outweigh the indiscretions of the past (i.e. the running others out of business, running water etc.) and it’s a very fine line to be sure. Your point at the end is incredibly important though – consumers are KING and they DO need to make them feel the heat. All Starbucks brews in the UK and Europe are Fair Trade – but in the U.S., just a very small proportion. It’s up to us to demand different. More of my thoughts (would love to hear what you think!) here:

  38. Yeah! Buy McDonald’s coffee instead — that’ll show ‘em.

  39. Listen, there’s a simple solution to all of this. Stop blaming Starbucks for ruining your favorite java hut. Stop blaming Starbucks for not providing you with the appropriate level of hipster charm.

    STOP DRINKING COFFEE. It’s bad for the environment, it’s far more toxic for your body than the traces of toxic chemicals you think are in non-organic food, it’s expensive, and you don’t need it.

  40. Wow, that was eye-opening, even as my Sumatra is brewing upstairs. Bought it out of convenience, which is the usual way I end up at Starbucks rather than my preferred Blue Bottle Coffee. I agree with your observations about the ambiance. In my hood, and I suppose in others, Starbucks is not just a place to buy coffee but a gathering spot for students and lap top users. A culture has developed around these corporate coffee houses. Truth be told, I don’t think the coffee is that good. It’s always about the convenience when I need a fix. This makes me think again. Thanks, Sarah.


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