starcup.jpgAre they kidding me!?

From 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. yesterday, Starbucks shut down 7000 plus stores in the United States to “energize” its work force.

OK, at that time, they probably will have to pour a lot of serious espresso into their workers to get them moving, since that’s about the time employees are saying “see ya later buddy” and heading home to their loved ones.

I love how management at major companies think all they have to do is take three hours and then, suddenly, the downturn will head for an upturn. And, it’s all about those lazy, unenthusiastic workers. All we have to do is “energize” them and suddenly Wall Street will throw bails of money at us.

I think it’s an interesting stunt but getting workers motivated is about treating them right and getting them excited about how great a company is. Starbucks sort of had that, until they got so big it was like taming a global octopus. Have you been to a Starbucks on the New Jersey turnpike lately…it’s like the Wild West of hack baristas. My mom paid for a nearly $5 latte with $20 bucks and she got back $5 as change. When she asked for the rest of the cash, she was practically run out of the place.

An email to Starbucks got her a $10 certificate to Starbucks and an explanation that the company didn’t really own those Starbucks on the Pike. A third party supposedly managed those coffee shops and Starbucks just sold them its name.

OKAY, this is the problem folks. A company getting too big for itself.

Workers don’t know what storyline to follow because there really isn’t a storyline anymore.

The CEO Howard Schultz thinks a three-hour, almost bedtime story will help reinvigorate the caffeine giant but he may be dillusional:

“We are passionate about our coffee. And we will revisit our standards of quality that are the foundation for the trust that our customers have in our coffee and in all of us,” Schultz wrote in a memo titled “Howard Schultz Transformation Agenda Communication #8.”

You want passion from your workers, earn it. Unfortunately, committing three hours to the effort is like Starbucks coffee lately — weak, cold and limp on the foam.

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