Mick a Starbucks Employee


I work at starbucks.


Your site is interesting, however i feel that mabey you should come up with more effective means of 'vengence'.  ie, swopping chairs a few times isn't going to do a great deal to save the planet.  Nor is dressing up in a green apron and running round leicester square in the hope to gain local office worker's sympathy.
Are there any activists who treat the whole ordeal in a more mature manner?  I'd be interested to see what they have to say. As it stands, I don't entirely disagree with you, however, I do have student loans to pay off and couldn't ditch my job. What would you suggest be the right move for me? leave and get a job at McDonalds? but hang on, they're the same aren't they? how about working in WHSmith? but hang on - they sell microsoft products... so I would effectively be supporting the growing world domination of microsoft products.... do you not class Tesco (or any other well known store) as a company looking to monopolise the country? Or isn't it so bad when its only in one country?
This is what i don't understand about your agument.... are you against capitalism? Unless you don't ever use any microsoft product, any well known store, even buying Coke, Budweiser or anything else for that matter, i don't see how you can justify the childish activities you are creating around starbucks alone.

Mick
P.S I'm not trying to insult you, im just trying to level with you.
P.P.S We dont have any watered down music in our store - it seems to be just original songs (ie coldplay, stereophonics, madonna, etc)
P.P.P.S I don't feel that starbucks is reducing local culture - many starbucks actually have live events and help local bands get known.... (they certainly do where im from)
anyhow, look forward to your reply.

 

Dear Mick,
First of all thanks for writing, it is good to know that some people are at least seeing what we do. However I must say I think you are glossing over what we do a little. Fair enough the Musical chairs game and Starbucks fighting may not be the most mature forms of protest, we readily admit that, however we have to have some fun though.
Perhaps more to the point is the safari leaflets that we give out:
http://www.spacehijackers.co.uk/starbucks/html/deardrinker.html
These make a little more of a serious point about why we dislike starbucks and gives some of the customers a little more information on exactly what has gone into the cup that they are drinking.
I am sure that working for Starbucks you are aware that unlike in the US, Starbucks UK does not sell ANY fairtrade coffee. All of its coffee is by definition unfair trade. The excuse I was given for this was that it is taking a while to come through from the states, but may arrive later this year. However it seems that the coffee from third world countries seems to make it through to the UK just fine. Sorry I'm off on a rant again, as you pointed out in your email, Starbucks is not the only evil, it is just one in a whole host of mulitnationals that have made their way onto our high streets. Fair point, however you have to remember that Starbucks is the market leader in coffee stores, meaning that where they go others follow. If Starbucks were to change their labour, environmental or cultural morals then others would have to follow suit.
Personally I see it like this, if people were to make it clear that they were buying their coffee elsewhere because a local rival for example sells fair trade coffee, then it would become economically viable for Starbucks to get off their backsides and sell fair trade coffee. From here it would tricke down throughout the market. If we can show people the concequences of what they are buying then it is up to them to do make a decision from there.
As far as career moves go, I think you are being a little short sighted in reeling off the list of chain stores and multinationals to choose between. Yes we all have to pay bills and earn a living, but it needn't be for a mutinational at the expence of our community. Why not workl for a local store or non brand coffee store if retail is your thing?
Personally I work full time (yes we protestors have jobs too) for an independant cinema. Sicking out like a sore thumb in the sea of Odeons and Warner Villiages in central London. We show a lot of foreign and low budget films, and when we do show Hollywood rubbish it is second run (Meaning slightly later than the rest of the west end, so the rent is cheaper) so that we can charge a fair price to our customers £1.99 daytime & £3.50 evenings. The staff get to help design the cinema, pick films, organise events and generally have a say in what we do. This even went as far as voting not to do a deal that was proposed with starbucks. These are only some of the benefits of working for smaller firms. How many times have the baristas at your store been asked for their input on products or marketing strategy?
Obviously we still show some Hollywood films and are hardly a bastion of anti capitalism, however as I was saying before every little bit helps. If we can get a good audience and atmosphere around the cinema, then the Odeon bosses will start questioning their approach. We all have to buy stuff, use computers etc, but we also all get a choice as to which ones to use. Ok, its not all black and white, and you often have to choose the better of two evils, but every little bit helps. Local over multinational, fair trade over unfair and diversity over brand culture.
I'm sorry if I sound a bit like a preacher, I really don't mean to be. I hope that I have been a little clearer in my arguments than the site is, and perhaps I will go and speak to the others to see what can be done about not looking so childish and amateur.
Please write back and let me know what you think,