Friday, September 19, 2008

So Long, Big Green, It's Been Fun...

Now, before you say anything, I know exactly what you're thinking. Starbucks is the Devil. They're atrocious. Their predatory expansion practices, their relentless march toward homogenization, their complicity in gentrification... all of those things are true, at least to some degree. And don't think for a second that I don't support the little guy. The Rocking Frog, Chance of Rain, Muddy Waters and Sound Grounds have all had my support in recent years (especially the Rocking Frog; shout out to Sam!). But when I moved into my current place of residence four and a half years ago, the first thing I did was to make my way over to the local Starbucks for some coffee (with Copilot in tow, no less - any of you remember him?), and they've known me by name ever since. There've been times when they saw me coming and had my drink ready for me before I even walked in the door. Admittedly, it's a pretty simple drink, a grande drip in a venti cup (I have a spillage problem), but still... Hell, I've even been out on dates with a couple of the girls behind the counter! None of which came to anything, but hey, Bob's yer uncle.

Well, my local Starbucks was one of the 600 stores that got the axe this month. Today was their last day. So naturally, I had to venture over there one last time. Here's barista extraordinare Adam showing off the fire sale wares:

I made off with that blue cup under his elbow and a pound of house blend, free of charge. Here's a shot of the depurposed merchandise wall, looking pretty sad and lonely:

For all of the controversy and vitriol that surrounds the "Starbucks question," it's worth noting that there are real people behind this organization. And they're almost always really good people. More often than not, they're on their way to somewhere else, but they get up at four in the morning and drag themselves into work everyday so that the rest of us can pay way too much for coffee on our way to work. And if they ever resent us for it, at least they put on their game faces.

So what can I say? It's Starbucks. They're the evil empire, I know, I know. But I've got a soft spot for the people at the Ladd's Addition store. I'm going to miss them.


Anonymous said...

They may be closing 600 stores, but they have, or are, opening three new places in Saginaw! LGS

Julie Ann said...

At least they give health benefits to their employees who work 20 hours a week or more. That's not too shabby. Plus, I have been the beneficiary of the free pound of coffee here and there, myself (a former student working across the street from the HS I used to work at would drop it by) so I can't complain too much.

tommy said...

I'm with you, J. While I can understand the argument against the corporate expansionist business model (and lord knows I've made that argument against Wal-Mart to no exhaustion in the past, as LGS -aka Mom- can no doubt attest to...), I've never been a Starbucks hater. And as you said, they're pretty good to their employees, all things considered. So yeah, I'm a little bummed about the closure of the Ladd's store.