Honestly, when your business charges 4.00 USD for a cup of fucking coffee, no matter how fancy your despondent 19 year old employee behind the counter makes it, you're business is in line to get whacked.
Earlier last week, the (vastly inferrior, in my humblest of opinions) coffee chain Starbucks announced that for the first time in the company's history, it was going to close some of it's locations, six hundred to be exact. These closings mean that now Manhattanites will be forced to wait in line for a double mocha vanilla latte for approximately two minutes longer.
If you couldn't tell yet, I have zero fucking sympathy for the Seattle-based coffee chain. With the on-set of a recession, gas prices hovering around what some snobbish prick would pay for a cup of hi-test coffee, and the country continuing to spin around the bottom of the toilet bowl, any one could plainly see that Starbucks was fucking itself in it's Colombian-imported asshole.
According to NYT Business editor Brad Stone, alot of Starbucks' trouble stemmed from piss poor real estate decisions. Apparently, the folks at the helm of the good ship Starbucks thought it'd be a good idea to put locations within spitting distance of each other. You know, just in case the five minute waiting line was too long at one store, you could literally walk across the street to the other location, and wait five minutes over there.
I know this for a fact because I used to go to school in Manhattan's Clinton district, what used to be known as Hell's Kitchen. I would get off the subway at 57th and 7th (Q, R, N, W lines), and hoof it three blocks west and two blocks north. In that span of time, which was usually a fifteen minute walk, I would see no less than five fucking Starbucks. Two more if you counted the two inside the Time Warner building (one actual store on the ground level, another inside the Barnes and Nobles on the third floor.)
Coincidently, this is the trend that Starbucks' Board of Directors wanted to take across the country. According to Stone's article, Starbucks planned to have 1000 unit locations in the state of Florida alone. One thousand fucking Starbucks. Are you serious?!
I'm from a small town in Southern Maine, population hovering around 20K annually. I can think of three Starbucks within five minutes of each other back home. Christ.
So The New York Times' Stone thinks it's the location that drove Starbucks to kill 600 of it's own stores. It's not, though it could be seen as circumstantial evidence that would lead one to believe so. No, it's the fact that people, even the ridiculous Upper East Siders, in their lavish 39th floor 9000.00 USD a month apartments in Manhattan can no longer reasonably spend the amount of money they once were on something as frivilous as coffee. Not when you can go to any deli or sandwich shop or little cart parked on the sidewalk next to a newsstand, and get a cup of regular-ass coffee for a dollar.
All you're paying for at Starbucks is the status symbol. The ability to walk around with a cup in your hand, in a little gay sleeve, that says "hey, I can afford to drop 5 dollars on this cup of bland, watery coffee with some fucking milk foam on it." That's all. In the heirarchy of fucking coffee chains, Starbucks is the fucking lowest. It really is, as far as taste, price, employees, everything; if I had a score card for every commercial chain coffee joint I'd ever frequented, Starbucks would be dead last in all catagories.
You know, Starbucks does serve just a regular cup of coffee for about a dollar, maybe a little more. It sucks. And when you order it, as in "can I just have a plain-ass cup of coffee please?" You get a funny look from the cunt behind the register, a completely filled cup of black shit, and a finger pointing to where the cream and sugar is.
How the fuck am I supposed to work with this shit, Gretchen? You do realize that if I try to add creamer to this ... giant cup of hot blackness, I'm going to spill it all over the place, right?
And it's a horrible, terrible, burnt-to-shit French Roast.
I was subject to Starbucks for the three years I lived in NYC. For some reason, they have about a million Starbucks (also, strangely - just about a third of the people I met while living in NYC worked, or had worked for a Starbucks... weird) in the city, but only four Dunkin Donuts. So when I was pressed for coffee (and I drank a lot more of it then than I do now for some reason) and I coudn't find a small diner or deli, I had to go to Starbucks.
And while waiting in line, I'd sooner be driving a rusty nail through my cheek, to pin my tongue to my opposite cheek.
And you have these people, with their ridiculously long orders to the robot-like kid behind the counter. Some trendy bitch in a fur coat and gloves sounding off what seems like a grocery list than a coffee order:
"I'll take a decaff, skim-only, double foamed, chocolate and vanilla latte with a twist of lemon and a little bit of cinnamon. Oh, a little whip creme too!"
I understand now, why NYC has such heavy restrictions on firearms.
Back to the point at hand though, Starbucks shot itself in the foot by trying too hard. Literally like Britany Spears, Starbucks pushed itself to the point of actual implosion, caving under the weight of it's own celebrity. One could see the backlash from a mile away. How long did you think stupid Americans were going to continue to try to impress each other with cardboard cups?
How long were we going to pretend the emperor wasn't really naked and the coffee really didn't suck?