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30 Jan 2012 00:31


Offbeat: Beam me up, coffee table: More exciting than a J.J. Abrams reboot

  • In case you’re tired of hearing about people dying in Syria, here’s a picture of a coffee table that looks like the Starship Enterprise. It can be yours for a mere $3,100. [h/t Geekologie] source
  • EDIT: Yes we were trolling. Sorry, all. 😛

17 Oct 2011 11:22


Biz: Has-bean? Starbucks worried climate change will damage coffee supply

  • They say they’re already seeing the effects: Could you imagine a world without Starbucks … or coffee? That’s what officials for the world’s largest caffeine hawker are seriously worried about, especially after a fairly busy hurricane season and more resistant bugs. The company has even considered partly converting many outlets to juice bars. “What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean,” says the company’s sustainability director, Jim Hanna. Three words, Jim: Yerba Mate Frappuccino. (photo via TPEGroup Photography & Design’s Flickr page) source

30 Sep 2011 16:55


Politics: “Muffingate”: Quick on the rage, slow on the follow-through (even um, us.)

  • Muffingate still provides a telling illustration of how relatively minor revelations can be turned into blood-curdling controversies. It also shows how the political and media communities move much faster to trumpet an outrage-inducing story than to set the record straight.
  • The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein • Offering a sobering take on the issue of $16 muffins from a story from a couple of weeks ago. Stein’s point: Despite the early coverage of the initial story, based on an infuriating Justice Department report, the follow-up coverage (where Hilton pointed out that the $16 wasn’t for “muffins” but a continental breakfast, written as shorthand on receipts), was a bit lacking. As a site, we admit that we didn’t even see the follow-ups ourselves (Editor’s note: I intended to do more with the story, but never got to it. Total fail on my part. — ES), but as this was a key fact, it throws the whole study into question. In retrospect, it feels more like a political hit piece — one that might have some truth to it, but blew its most important factoid. source

20 Sep 2011 20:28


Politics: The Department of Justice spends lots of money on conferences

  • Editor’s note: Please see this update to the story for more information that came out after this study was published. In short: Those muffins weren’t $16.
  • Playing to the biases people have about government: The Justice Department obviously has a very important job that requires them to herd a lot of cats into a lot of cages. However, when those cats are government workers and those cages are hotels like The Capital Hilton, a swanky hotel one block away from the White House, the costs leap quickly. Hence this report, which rips the wasteful spending happening all over the place. This, friends, validates every person who complains about wasteful spending. Just to give you guys an idea:
  • $121 million spent on 1,832 events in 2008 and 2009
  • $600,000 the amount spent on planning services for just five conferences
  • $490,000 the amount spent on food and beverages for ten conferences
  • $16 the amount spent on muffins — EACH — at one conference
  • $8 the amount spent on each cup of coffee at another conference
  • $32 the amount spent on snacks — per person! — at one conference source
  • » Absurd consulting fees, too: Why did one consultant charge $3,454 to fly back and forth between a conference site three times? And why didn’t he just go once? And why did the planners have to travel from across the country to stay at the hotel where they’ve had the conference numerous times in the past, incurring $29,000 in charges in the process? Do phones not work? And why did it cost the OCDETF Conference in D.C. $102 per person to feed 1,348 people over four days, incurring over $137,000 in charges? And why wasn’t there oversight on all this until after the study was implemented? It makes our head hurt.

03 Sep 2011 12:30


Biz, Politics: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz planning political town hall next week

This is the CEO’s follow-up to his call for more corporate responsibility, and it’s sponsored by No Labels. All we know is that there had better be free coffee. source

16 Aug 2011 02:48


Biz: Starbucks CEO to corporations: Get off your butt and hire some people!

  • Record levels of cash are piling up in corporate treasuries, idling. The only way to break this cycle of fear is to break it.
  • Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz • Following the lead of Warren Buffett and pushing for more responsibility from those that can afford it. While Buffett went after super-rich taxpayers; Schultz instead is going after corporations that are sitting on piles of cash, yet are staying on the sidelines and choosing not to hire more people — or worse, putting that money into political campaigns in hopes of putting business-friendly leadership in power in 2012. While Starbucks has had union issues and gay rights issues crop up recently, the company does have a reputation for treating its employees better than most corporations of its size. Kudos, Howard. source

12 Aug 2011 15:17


Culture: Guy subverts clever Starbucks Card experiment, because he’s a jerk

  • cool Mobile developer Jonathan Stark came up with this interesting idea called Jonathan’s Card, to allow people to let people buy other people coffee from Starbucks, as a social experiment. The experiment took off and drew massive media coverage, and roughly $8,700 has been spent through the card so far. Pretty good for a clever idea.
  • lame Another developer, Sam Odio, decided that this idea wasn’t interesting enough for him, so he decided to siphon money off the card using a script that transferred the funds to his own Starbucks card, which he plans to sell on eBay for charity. Hey Sam, whatever your point may be, could you not be a jerk about it? source

04 Nov 2010 11:08


Biz: Starbucks employees: Coffee company no longer respects us

  • It’s just been cut after cut … The fact is that it’s just gotten harder and harder to survive working this job. If Starbucks is doing what every other company is doing, then what makes it a different kind of company?
  • Minnesota Starbucks barista (and union member) Erik Foreman • Expressing frustration with the company, which may not have paid awesomely for a long time, but offered perks that kept its workers happy. However, when the economic downturn hit, changes in corporate structure hit employees hardest. They got Starbucks back to profitability, yes, but the cost seems to have been the happiness of their employees. “In the last two years, the company has become more dedicated to its shareholders and less to its employees,” said Omaha macchiato maker Tyler Swain. Is Starbucks about to become McDonald’s? Makes sense. McDonald’s is becoming more like Starbucks every single day, so eventually they’ll look exactly the same. source

22 Oct 2010 11:40


Biz: Magic Johnson sold his Starbucks. Is a venti-sized deal next?

  • what Magic Johnson has been on a selling spree lately. A day after selling his share in the Lakers, he sold his 105 Starbucks franchises, many of which are known for being located in inner-city areas.
  • whyThere’s a rumor that Johnson wants to buy a sports team with his money. He’s made around $100 million from the sale of his two major investments, so he could afford something that big. source

18 Oct 2010 21:26


Biz: Starbucks trying out booze, but it’s not strong enough for our tastes

  • It’s possible that soon enough, you may go to Starbucks and find this cup filled with something other than coffee. Like booze. See, the company is testing out beer and wine at some of its Seattle testbeds. If it proves popular, other Starbucks across the country could get it. If you ask us, though, we don’t think we could get behind this until they serve hard liquor, mainly because that’s the only way we think we could survive being in a Starbucks for an extended period of time. source