Friends don’t let friends bash Starbucks
If you’ve been in any of the non-chain coffee shops in San Luis Obispo county, you’ve no doubt seen the stickers on some of the walls that read, “Friends don’t let friends go to Starbucks.” And you’ve no doubt heard locals make derogatory comments about Starbucks, the evil “corporate” chain. Just what is it that they don’t like about Starbucks, and I assume the other chains like Peet’s Coffee and Tea? Well, it’s nothing logical, that’s for sure.
Let’s compare the chains to the local, independents. Now, understand that I am speaking in general, and here are exceptions to what I’m saying. But, overall, I find the local coffee houses to be sub-par in quality and service. I like friendly and fast service, but it in the majority of the small shops, both are virtually non existent. If I see more than three customers in line in some of the smaller places, I know I’m in for a long wait. Yet, if I drop into a Starbucks and see 15 people in line, I know I can still be out of there in five minutes, and I always get consistent drinks. And I cannot remember a time when I’ve walked into any of the Starbucks in town, or in Peet’s, that I have not been greeted with a smile, and the attitude that they can quickly accommodate any order I might throw at them.
As I said, I don’t include all independent coffee shops in the same category. Uptown Espresso is one of the finest coffee shops I’ve been to: fast efficient and friendly, with smart people at the counter. There are others, so don’t automatically think that I am talking about your favorite place.
What’s really interesting is that some think that it’s just horrible to work for a chain. That’s nonsense. Starbucks, for example, offers any employees working over 20 hours a week a progressive compensation package that can include Medical, Prescription Drugs, Dental, Vision, Retirement Plan, Stock Options, Life and Disability Coverage, Adoption Assistance, and listen up liberal SLO coffee drinkers: even Domestic Partner Benefits. Does the anti-Starbucks coffee house you frequent offer any of these things, or do they just let their employees put out a tip jar with the words “401K Plan” written on it?
I do love some independent shops too (like I said, Uptown is fantastic). But I don’t subscribe to the Starbucks is evil mentality, and I think that those that do are, simply, not too bright. I’ll drink coffee anywhere anyone wants to compete on product and service. But seeing one of those anti-Starbucks stickers on the wall is my first clue that I most likely will be better off walking out the door.