Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What goes around usually comes around.

I was late tuning in the Phillies game tonight. I had just gotten in from one of my bike-to-gym runs and I flipped on the TV in the bottom of the second inning. That's when it happened. Phils broadcaster Chris Wheeler, said, "For those of you just tuning in..." Wow. I'm just tuning in. So many times I've heard that statement, and I've told the TV, "I've been watching for an hour." I used to wonder to whom they were talking. Now I know. It's me, that's whom.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corporation said on Tuesday it plans to close 600 underperforming U.S. stores and cut up to 12,000 full and part-time positions, (about 8 percent of its workforce) as it copes with an economic downturn and increasing competition.
For years, comedians and regular people have been making jokes about too many Starbucks. Lewis Black does ten minutes on being in Houston and standing next to a Starbucks and turning around and seeing ... another Starbucks. One of the corporate philosophies is that they intentionally put them across the street from one another because they figured that consumers don't want to be inconvenienced. What that tells me is that people won't cross the street for a cup of Starbucks coffee. Finally now we're seeing that it's true.
I feel badly for the people who are going to lose their jobs, and as usual, upper management is to blame. Come bonus time, you can bet your life that the CEO and his pals upstairs will get their fat bonus checks while the people they laid off are still looking for work. Ironically, news of the layoffs caused the stock price to rise by 5 percent. I guess that's why management doesn't mind laying off workers. The stock might have gone up 10 percent if some executives were let go.
I remember reading a Walgreen's annual report that said their research indicated that consumers want a drug store within 2 miles of their home. I have two. One is a CVS and the other is a Walgreen's. There are three if you count the drug store inside the supermarket. Let's say it's three.
In boom times, executives can't make a mistake. They build a Home Depot across the street from a Lowe's (intentionally) and a Rite Aid across the street from a CVS and a McDonald's across the street from a Burger King. Count them, they're everywhere.
In the late 1990s, the stock market was so good that a blind monkey with a pencil up his ass could pick a winning stock. Magazines and newspapers used to have contests where top analysts were up against a dart board to see who could pick the best stocks. Sometimes the dart board won and sometimes it was close.
Now that the bloom is off the rose and times are getting tougher, our flagrant lifestyle and "build 'em everywhere" mentality is catching up with us. The building hasn't stopped. Around here, a new Target store and a new Lowe's store is going up a few miles from a new Kohl's and a Home Depot.
Sometimes I get the urge to call the CEOs of these companies and say, "For those of you just tuning in..."


Kate Michele said...

Love the last line of that.

You know i would think that Starbucks would suffer i mean when we can hardly afford our groceries or gas to get us the doctors our kids need in oh say Cleveland [an example for emphasis] stopping for a 6$ coffee would be the last thing on my list.


Anthony said...

I think part of the lure of Starbucks is the trendy aspect. Having the cup with the logo means something to people who value such nonsense.
Trendy is cool when the money isn't an issue, but when they have to stop for a $75 fill-up before their morning coffee, that $2 Dunkin Donuts java looks pretty good by comparison.

Kate Michele said...

we are losing everything around here... burger kings, Macdonald's, starbucks and I'm tearing as i say it...chipotle.

I'm in the top five worst economies.

Really starts scaring you when Macdonald's start closing...

kimmyk said...

I for one will be glad when starbucks closes. My family spends way too much money there. I can't even begin to tell you. So much so that they give my kids free drinks almost's that bad.

I'll be able to put gas in my car and not have to worry. I've gotten to the point where I have started buying boxes of the black iced tea instead of buying it there because at 2.10 a pop three times a day--it adds up...quickly.

BK and McD's can hit the road too. I don't eat there. Blech.

Firestarter5 said...

I've never been inside a Starbucks or drank any of their offerings so I have no say on the matter.

I do know that if they tried that with Tim Hortons up here though, there would a revolution.

I wouldn't be involved though. I make my own coffee every morning.