Tag Archives: Starbucks

If you don’t see Merry Christmas in the window, no, you don’t go in that store! The Star of David used to do that trick.

This season’s War-On-Christmas email is pushing a holiday ditty whose refrain goes “If you don’t see Merry Christmas in the window, then you don’t go in that store.” Seems like it might be easier to mark those stores with a Star of David on the window, or would that be too obviously Nazi?
On the other hand, it is refreshing to see even Dumbfox recognize the imperative of targeting commerce to make your point heard. So, boycotts do work?

You can see the Christmas-lovers’ point of course. They’d prefer that merchants exploiting the Christmas purchasing season at least be paying lip service to Christmas and not the ever-looming Godless “Holiday” eclipse, supposed.

This song reminds us “it’s all about the little baby Jesus” and goes on to list all the things Christmas wouldn’t be without him. Of course, half the list traces back to pagan tradition, but what to Christian Holiday-goers know of that?

And the latter half goes back as far as they remember, as their grandmother and her grandmother before might remember, but no more. The commercial Christmas charts its provenance to the industrial revolution, the birth of consumer goods and marketing. Santa Claus as we recognize him stepped right off Coca-cola calendars of the last mid-century.

Christmas was the religious Trojan Horse to pitch the shopping holiday to reluctant hedonists. Now the same parishioners who don’t have an needle’s-eye chance to get to Heaven, feel like the can pay their tithes in Christmas presents.

Yes, I do think it’s funny that people who abhor the prospect of disruptive economic boycotts are willing to consider it at the drop of Santa’s cap. Unless of course they’re satisfied that making this video viral is a shot across the bow enough. I doubt their Christmas Spirit has any room for Lenten restraint.

Oddly enough, one of their potential boycott targets, and mine, has hung banners in its outlets to announce they will be open for Christmas, introducing a delectable dilemma. Starbucks says Merry Christmas in the window, so it’s exempt from this singing email picket, yet it disrespects Christmas by working through it. What do you do?

I answer that one unequivocally. Yes, boycott Starbucks. They fund Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. That may be somewhat directly related to their celebrating Hanukkah not Christmas, but that’s NO KIND OF REASON to boycott a business. If you want to boycott a store because it’s not Christian, take it up with the Anti-Defamation League. Leave bigotry to the Zionists.

You can’t even trust Goobers anymore

By “goobers” I mean Goober Peas. That staple of American Diet in more ways than you can possibly imagine unless you’re allergic to them, Once Again being recalled due to bacteria that exist naturally in the digestive tracts of Carnivores. In this case, like the LAST recall, which was only last year, about this time, it’s Salmonella.

How DOES a bacterium that would ordinarily be found in Dog Poo and in the contaminated meat from improperly slaughtered and mass-production butchered animals (chickens mostly) and from SlaughterFactory companies where the same machines and the same Almost-machine-people employed at the processing plants have to handle the pieces of dead chickens also have to handle the pieces of dead cows, pigs, (who are, like chickens, omnivorous) etc….
How would it get into VEGETABLE Kingdom products like spinach, tomatoes, peppers, Peanut Butter, peanut flour (that last is used in a ghastly huge list of products, I wouldn’t be much surprised to find it in Toothpaste next)?

Droppings from “Illegal Alien” migrant farm workers, as suggested in the spinach and tomato mayhem? Perhaps the droppings from Tent City but that’s another over-hyped non-story…

How about this, (which is far and away the most common scenario): Contaminated bins and contaminated machines and processing tables at the Mega Corporate Food Processing Centers?

And their delivery vehicles. And places like WalMart and McDonalds and those who follow their corporate model (more than half the Corporations is America) regarding people who have the misfortune of being employed by those Jerkoffs, and not getting paid or even in some cases Unpaid sick leave when they have infectious diseases.

The “Migrant Workers shitting in the fields” is easy to believe, (except it wasn’t the root cause or even a secondary, nor yet again a Tertiary cause) because it’s a backward admission from the Corporations that they still use the old Slave Plantation Model of “how to treat farm laborers”.

They treat ALL their workers like that. What’s distressing is that they treat the PEOPLE who handle food the exact same way. Like to eat at Mickey Dee, drink your favorite cup o’ joe at Starbucks? Remember that they FIRE employees who take more than 5 consecutive sick days. That their workweek is all seven days with shortened hours so the company doesn’t have to pay overtime.

Where you can get fired for actually working overtime, because the “experts” at Corporate Headquarters determined that you could have completed your Underpaid Tasks in the allotted time.
If you don’t take bathroom breaks or stuff like that.

Where if you catch something like Influenza, and you’re still contagious 6 days after the symptoms disappear.

Where they make boastful commercials like the Halls “Drill Sergeant” commercial, which they’ve re-introduced, where a Food Worker is encouraged to keep working despite having Respiratory Problems…
They’ve got one like that where a Rambo-Lookalike pops in to a different store.

Because “only a wussy wimp liberal would refrain from working around PEOPLE and/or their FOOD while packing a contagious ailment that might spread to the PEOPLE who buy the products at the stores and restaurants”.

Look for
the Union Label
when you are buying
Food for your Table…

Starbucks customers know their coffee

Starbucks X or Starbucks YOkay this is the obligatory coffee house post. Starbucks is betting its customers can’t tell fresh brewed from instant. Choose X or Y — the two are separated by gender apparently. Results could prove V, their space-age “VIA” instant product improves on Folgers, or W, their customers can’t tell good coffee from WORSE. I tried it.

Starbucks gave itself a break by putting its VIA instant, specially priced at $2.99 for three doses, against its ordinary brew, no Sidamo or Yirgacheffe for comparison. It’s probably the base they have stewing on the BUNN to caffeinate all their products. I couldn’t tell that from truck stop coffee. Good luck differentiating from that.

If Starbucks has set out to prove what Folgers never could, it’s proved what we already suspected. Starbucks has a lock on the best beans in the world, but its customers have been gorging themselves on the caramel whipped creme milkshakes and no longer know espresso from chocolate syrup. VIA will remind them of what coffee used to taste like at Duncan Doughnuts or the Waffle House. Bitter Americana.

July 5 protest Starbucks unfair labor

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union has declared a Global Day of Action to protest Starbucks’ anti-union termination. According to their press release:

Coordinated Actions Across the U.S., Europe, and Latin America Could
Be Largest Ever Against Coffee Chain.

Grand Rapids , MI ( 06-30-2008 )- Union members and social activists are gearing up for what may be the largest, global coordinated action against Starbucks ever. Protesters will decry what they see as an epidemic of anti-union terminations by the world’s largest coffee chain. Starbucks and its CEO Howard Schultz have exhibited a pattern of firing outspoken union baristas ever since the advent of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union (SWU) in 2004 and are demonstrating the same practice against the CNT union in Spain.

“On July 5th people around the world will show Starbucks that we, baristas along with our supporters, will have a voice and Starbucks discrimination and repression of our efforts will not go unchecked,” said Cole Dorsey, a fired Starbucks barista and a member of the SWU.

…Actions against Starbucks will take place in: Argentina, Chile, the British Isles, Italy, Japan, Norway, Serbia, Poland, Slovakia, 4 cities in Spain, 6 cities in Germany. In the US: Phoenix, Philadelphia, Grand Rapids, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles.

Starbucks simply wants the yuppy monied nerds, and not you

Let’s face it, coffee drinkers inside Starbucks reading The Independent instead of The New York Times or The Gazette are just not what Starbucks Management wants. It has nothing to do with a supposed single complaint about The Indy at all, but everything to do with having and keeping a yuppy monied image for their company, or not? Censorship for profit.

A free community paper? Well, that is not what overly caffeinated, yuppy monied nerds that spend too much for their fix want to hang their self image on. That would be a ‘commoner’ attitude to them, Instead, it is that Fraser, Seattle ambiance they are attracted to so magnetically.

Starbucks Management wants to keep it that way and not allow their gated yuppie centers to be turned into low-profit community cafes. I’m surprised that, like a few elite American hotels already do, they simply do not give all their caffeinated yuppy clients a free copy of the Wall Street Journal, and just up some more the price of their already ridiculously priced lattes?

How much nicer for caffeinated hot shots to enter into an area with more high class folk, than low life riff raff reading the back side ads of The Indy? Starbucks simply wants the yuppy monied nerds, and not nerdy old you and me. Well, OK. I don’t like their super hyped dope much anyway.

Liberals and Labour

The Labour Party of Britain has changed nothing at all from Tony Blair under PM Gordon Brown, just as the Democratic Party has changed nothing 7 years into the Bush presidency. Both still are corporate creations masquerading as popular parties of the common folk.

The latest political scandal in Britain shows that ‘The Labour Party’ should actually be called The Property Developer Party.

In the US we really no longer have even the semblance of a Labor Movement, after its stagnant and corrupted leadership has spent decades after long decades monetarily supporting The Property Developer Party aka as The Corporate Trial Lawyer’s Party, etc. Union dues promoting corporate views, in short.

There is nothing democratic at all about The Democratic Party so this strategy of top down nothing (voting DP candidates) has led all of us into the dead end alley of total corporate control over ALL. We now hardly have a hint of what alternative direction would be like.

Because of this labour misleader co-option, all real organizing of the US Labor Movement will now have to be essentially a totally illegal activity if it is to have any chance to succeed at all, and American (and British workers, too) have gotten way too soft for this sort of battle. It was always the industrial workers that were the backbone for tough fights anyway, and much of that base has been ‘outsourced’ to outside the national borders of ‘The Homelands’. So what we have today, is a Labor Movement where Starbucks’ and Borders’ clerks make up some of the more militant sectors of the Anglo-Saxon working class. Oops!!! I hope I didn’t scare anybody with that word?… working class…

Liberals are now not from Labour, but are from the middle class, and worry about their food intake (healthy or not?), bowel movements (regular or not?), and image (polite or not?) while ‘protesting’. They are non-violent, turn the other cheek types, and not picket sign carriers walking the line subject to the company’s goons coming their way. Liberals now come more from churches than they do from blue collar jobs, so they are not going to bruise it out ‘violently’ witht he companies, as actually ultimately this has to be done again for progress to be made on class issues.

US Labor is now isolated,tasered, jailed, and sick (due to worsening health care and job conditions, worsening diet, and worsening ‘entertainment’ options). The only help for this sad situation might just have to come from workers in foreign countries actually standing up to the corporate goon squads (US military) we now, in America, consider absolutely normal to have all around us?

OK, that’s all I got to be said about Liberals and Labour… I gotta go shopping now! I got some coupons I need to use. Workers United For Good Coupons!

Don’t eat French Fries

OK, OK! The dittoheads are back to eating French Fries, and we get stuck with the damn Freedom Fries. They taste so damn plastic, too.

Did this ‘socialist ‘French foreign minister, Kouchner, get tutored by the US Democratic Party? He is to socialism as Gorbachev is to communism… a negation. And in the US many Right Wingers are way more ‘Left’ than the Democratic Party ‘progressives’, too. We live in a topsy turvy world, it seems.

Now, we should all begin to pity poor France. Because so many dummies over there hated immigrants more than they ever loved France, now their France will be torn apart like Bush has torn apart America and Americanism.

The least we can do for them to show solidarity is to stop eating French Fries. Let’s try Belgian Fries instead. The Paris Commune is now turned into a Starbucks.

Troglytes beneath us

Star Trek cloud minder living above Troglytes 
We’ve bred our worker class, Troglytes with no aspiration to look any further than their noses. I saw three gathered at a Starbucks. They’re here.

It was at one of those Starbucks inside a supermarket. They were killing time, standing by the counter, neither consuming anything, nor on the way anywhere it appeared. They kept company with a “Barista” on the clock.

Nothing new I suppose, except I became struck by their passive homogeneity. We are breeding them, this underling class. They’re pudgy, sloppily attired, hands in pockets, quiet, smug, flat footed, close cropped, coming and going from home and TV probably, or another Starbucks. I’ll add too, poor eyesight and terrible complexions but that could just reflect their unassuming, un-charismatic personalities. Their quality of life is their workplace decor, but they miss nothing because we’ve fashioned them with the brains of their parents, fetal alcohol syndrome, pseudo-education, uncritical thinking, squashed expectations, and monosyllabic vocabularies. Give them their pot if they insist on it.

So long as they lower their eyes when we pass, do we care?

Lampwick and the original Lost Boys

Trouble my friends right here in River CityWas Lampwick the archetypical dilettante? You know, dapper, cultured, erudite, jaded, amusing, but nihilist? The boys in Pinocchio who cut school to smoke, drink and play pool were turned into donkeys in the Land of Boobies. Sound like a fitting analogy for an effete lounge-oisie? Internet blogs can amuse us with cynical antics, they often feel to me like small plexiglass window-seats looking on protracted personal train wrecks in upholstered stalls.
 
I got quite preachy a day ago in a local salon maudit, a favorite site I should also say. I’ll reprint my lecture here because the question I asked in earnest, albeit tucked inside some name-calling, remains unanswered.

This discussion has illuminated for me the challenge of how to activate the hands in pockets crowd. You make light of self-righteous do-gooders who take themselves too seriously. I do wish my indignation was less serious. It’s not that left-leaners have arbitrary spiritual beliefs which are being offended, it’s that our common sense of humanity is being trivialized. Bankrupted farmers, child slaves, indentured laborers, you tire of hearing about such horrors, but still you drink your Starbucks, buy your chocolate, and plug into your iPods with a yawn. What tone do you expect from activists beside scolding?

I ask that question seriously. What tone would cause you to say to Coca Cola: we’re not going to tolerate you killing Columbian union leaders or stealing India’s water? If consumers don’t withhold their consent, they are as guilty as Coke. I’m sorry fun-lovers but life comes with responsibility. Your pursuit of happiness may have to wait a bit, the rest of mankind begs your assistance.

The social justice movement isn’t about enlivening your water-cooler conversation, it’s about prompting change. We’re trying to organize a bucket brigade to help our neighbors stuck in a fire. And we have to stop those among us who are starting those fires. If you are standing idle, making light of the message we are trying to spread as quickly as possible, in chorus with the establishment voices already demeaning us, I’d just as soon walk over you.

Quite seriously, what would light a fire under your gay asses?

A Wii of One’s Own

wii.jpegVideo game playing in my household has never been a sedentary activity. I think that my boys, all three of them, came hard-wired with a gene that had lain dormant in human DNA for millions of years, waiting for the Japanese to self actualize. They are video game phenoms.

When my David was barely two, we got an English au pair who had apparently spent plenty of time in Cornwall video arcades. She taught him to play The Lion King. He was an amazing player from the start. He couldn’t speak yet, but he developed a whole video game language….a series of barks and whoops and shrieks reminiscent of Tourette’s Syndrome. He stood and leaned and squatted and ran back and forth. We once filmed him for America’s Funniest Home Videos. I know without a doubt that we would’ve won had we followed through.

We’ve had every Nintendo system invented. My boys reminded me every day for a month that the Wii came out November 19th. “Yes, yes, I know. You’re not getting one. I know what it will take and I’m not doin’ it. Deal with it.”

I’ll admit it. I have standing-in-line-in-the-dark-waiting baggage. The previously-mentioned English au pair once brought home two absolutely cute stuffed animals. A giraffe and a zebra. “Oh my gosh,” I said. “These are incredibly adorable. Where’d you get them?”

My first-born son, Brendan, was about ten at the time. Somehow, because of him, and partly because of my love of all things cute, cuddly and/or sparkly, we fell headlong into the Beanie Baby craze. I’ve stood in line in front of Little Richard’s, clad in a ski parka and mittens, clutching Starbucks and handwarmers, with myriad other weirdo collectors waiting for the “bear du jour” more times than I care to admit. We’ve dropped hundreds, if not thousands (sorry to the poor), of dollars on BBs.

Truthfully, Beanie Babies taught my children a lot about life and entrepreneurial pursuits. Once Bren said to me, “Mom, if I get $800 can I buy a Go-Cart?”
“Well, how much do you have now?”
“Nothing.”
“Oh, okay. If you earn $800 I’ll let you buy a Go-Cart.”

Little did I know that my dad, a major coin and art collector, had been lured into the BB web. He took Bren to a weekend BB trading show in Denver and, yep, the boy came home $1000 richer. I was proud and amazed. Mostly I was horrified because Bren was able to purchase an obnoxious, street un-legal, very dangerous Go-Cart. To this day, a decade later, he is persona non grata at the Country Club of Colorado for racing across the greens late at night.

Then there was the Star Wars stuff. I recall when Toys ‘R Us, very inconsiderately, decided to sell the newly-released toys at midnight on a school night. “Oh, Mom! You have to take Brent and me there or we’ll get nothing!” So, gamely, I sat in my car, with pillow and down comforter, while the boys raced around collecting loot for two hours.

McDonald’s added joy to my life by topping their extra-big colas with a Star Wars lid. Brendan insisted that I take him to MickeyDs every day and then he sold the lids on a very new eBay to collectors in Britain for nearly $200 each. From a $2 soda!

You can probably guess the end of the story. My sweet boy, now 21, showed up on my doorstep with a Nintendo Wii for his younger brothers. He had to draft a friend, stand in line overnight, but he got the goods. Just like I used to for him.

Starbucks vs. the birthplace of coffee

Oldest coffee in the worldWant an afficionado’s tip? The mother of all coffees is Ethiopian Harrar. Literally. The insight is as olfactory as it is scientific. History records that the first coffees were cultivated in Ethiopia/ Abyssinia on the Red Sea. Every current variety of Coffea Arabica is believed to have originated from those plants. Colombian Juan Valdez picks coffee beans introduced to the New World by the Spaniards. Indoneasian javas were planted by the Dutch. Each of those famous varieties were transplanted Arabica. Starbucks wants to transplant the names.

It might be fitting now that Ethiopian farmers are asking for the right to control their unique varietal names. Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe are considered premium coffees and refer to the regions of Ethiopia where they are grown. It is estimated that trademarks could generate an additional $90 million for impoverished Ethiopian growers who currently receive just three cents per cup of coffee. The problem is from whose profit they would have to wrestle the extra money: Starbucks.

Starbucks has been opposing Ethiopia’s trademark applications on the grounds that giving a higher value to the farmers would result in a decreased demand for the premium beans. Do you buy that? Even if Starbucks passed the increased cost unto the customer, would a few cents deter their caffeen addicted connoisseurs from the world’s most potent coffee? Ethiopia’s control over the branding of their product is likely only to increase their coffee’s visibility and prestige.

Bean counters versus the bean growersStarbucks denies having asked the US National Coffee Association to block the Ethiopian trademark bid. But in fact Starbucks has been trying to trademark Sidamo for itself.

I can’t find an etymology record to link the term bean-counter with coffee beans. In any case the expression denotes someone who values quantity over quality. I’d say they have the wrong beans.

Update: Le Monde article translated at Truthout.

Crappuccino

pictureWhat’s a coffee-free coffee? Does it say on the bottle it’s a “Crappuccino?” What is that? It’s not a milk-frapped espresso. Is it a strawberry milkshake? Is it a smoothie? A Yoo-Hoo? A DQ Freeze? Maybe it’s Pepto-ccino.
 
When Starbucks begins to sell burgers like Dairy Queen too, and when their customers begin avoiding Mad Cow foods, Starbucks can sell hamburger buns without the hamburgers [burger-free hamburgers] and call them crapwiches!

Handcrafted aggrandizement

I’ve always been irked by the Starbucks invented term “Barista.” It’s the equivalent of Walmart calling their workers “associates.” It means nothing except to delude the workers that they are something more than slave-wage, unskilled workers.

Barista might imply that someone who serves coffee has a cultural legacy, shielding the subject from their more relevant historic socio-economic legacy: low man on the totem pole.

Recently I’ve been hearing a locally owned coffee joint using some of this psycho-syntax to its own advantage. “Handcrafted coffees.” They’re made by hand, obviously. But unlike a parking ticket, or a shaken welcome mat, a “handcrafted” coffee inplies the work of a craftsman.

While it’s certainly a nice sentiment, wouldn’t we all like to be thought craftsmen of our own realm? It doesn’t matter that it’s a delution of what it means to be a craftsman. Rather, it’s a lie. Shit by any other name would smell as sweet.

Starbucks feeds your addiction.

pictureWanna take it outside?
 
Starbucks. We strangle the little guy, keep the world price of coffee low, and sell it to you for 100 times more.
 
Caffein is a drug. In twenty years we’re going to get sued just like Philip Morris, in the meantime we’re going to make a killing, killing you, hehe.

Starbucks moves in across the street from competitors, saturates the local area with storefronts, and drives the mom & pops out of business. Starbucks employees get to call themselves “baristas,” a name Starbucks invented as if to lend legitimacy to the job. Basically drug pushers but they don’t get to keep the profits.

With a stranglehold on the coffee market, Starbucks can keep the price of coffee beans low, enriching themselves while ravaging the small economies where the beans are grown. As a result the smaller farms are absorbed by the large plantation owners.

Starbuck’s special blend, there’s blood in it.

Reprinted from Subvertize.com