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.
I COULDA TOLD YOU.
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..."