Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dysfunctional Corporate Politics - Starbucks Bans Multi-Tasking

It's ugly out there, folks . . . and bound to get uglier, as Starbucks introduces new employee rules that are bound to lengthen your morning wait for a low-fat-mocha-caramel-vanilla-cappacino-americano, with a double-shot of expresso grande (or whatever floats your morning boat). News flash! It's a frickin' cup of coffee, for Pete's sake! Get over yourself. Particularly, you funky t-shirt, chino-wearing coffee "suits" in Seattle!

As was best said by Tom Hank's character in my favorite 1998 comedy-romancy/chick-flick, You've Got Mail:

"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self . . ."
 According to one source, Starbucks' "list of bizarre new edicts" are strangely  (and, quite frankly, Orwellian-ly) specific, including rules requiring employees to stand in one place, instead of scurrying around and (gasp!) multi-tasking.

The Wall Street Journal is reported to have got hold of the new Starbucks rules (which make McDonald's 'Clean, Don't Lean' policy, look liberally wimpy) that instruct their baristas to:

  • Steam milk for each individual drink (instead of steaming an entire pitcher for multiple coffees)
  • Rinse a pitcher every time it gets used
  • Stand still at the espresso bar rather than moving around the counter
  • Only use one espresso machine - not two.
  • Heaven forbid that a twenty-something counterperson working his or her way through college by slinging joe (yes, its just coffee) should attempt the never-tried-before art of "multi-tasking".

    I can just see a scrum of impatient and surly, caffeine-deprived java junkies jonesing for their morning Starbucks hit. Lord help the poor schmuck who can't speak Starbuckian, or comprehend with an unstimulated brain why on earth a small coffee is, in fact, now a 'tall' coffee in this brave new world of corporate chic.

    This whole item seems like Starbucks is taking a page from Coca-Cola's 'New Coke' strategy. (Hint: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!")

    I can only shake my head . . . and head for the exits.

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