Thursday, January 29, 2009

Starbucks annoy me, I boycott them, and see what happens...

The BBC reports that Starbucks are cutting 6,700 jobs worldwide, with the closure of 300 stores. This may have something to do with the announcement that quarterly profits were down 69%, although I'd like to think that my decision to give up my regular vanilla latte was a contribution.

Frankly, I'm surprised that it has taken this long, given the cost of their product. However, it is a sign that people are reining in their spending in anticipation of a long, hard recession. If that money is used to buy other things, then all is good. If it is used to pay off debt, we could be mired in gloom for some time.

Unfortunately for the Government, I'm more inclined to the cautious view and, whilst I tend to shun debt, the idea of building up my savings, if only in a small way, is an appealing one. Forget the miserable interest rates, the idea of having reserves is reassuring.

1 comment:

Matthew Huntbach said...

What you are paying for in Starbucks is not just the cost of the coffee, but also a reasonably pleasant place to sit, and a guarantee that the product will be just like any other Starbucks.

The reason these chains work is that if I go to a town I've never been to before and see one of their branches I know what to expect. I don't have to think about what to buy, I know their range and I'll probably chose my "normal". If there's an independent shop selling the same sort of product, it may be very good or it may be very bad, and I'll have to think more carefully about what I buy. I might want to be experimental and try, but quite often I'm tired, I don't want to take the risk.

If I'm honest, one of the reasons I might choose Starbucks is that the prices and products keep out people I might find it uncomfortable to sit with, so I'm paying for that. McDonalds is great for providing a place where families with children can sit down and have a cheapish meal and a drink, anyone who remembers what it was like trying to take a brood of kids out somewhere in the pre-MacD era will know what I mean by that. McD's coffee may be cheaper and as good as Starbuck's, but if I want to sit down and drink it, I'll be surrounded by screaming kids.

Of course, Starbucks is a luxury. If I've lost my job I won't go there. But also I might not go there if I fear I may lose my job, as I know that would cause me to think "If only I hadn't spent all that money on coffee-and-sit-down, I'd have enough to feed myself now" should the job loss ever happen.