Unless you've been hiding under a java plant, you're well aware of yesterday's three-hour Starbucks closing. As soon as I heard of it yesterday morning I called it a publicity stunt. It certainly is the right of a company to pull a stunt like this, let's look at the upside:
- the threat of inconvenience and (the horror) lack of caffeine likely cause a jump in the daily traffic prior to and after the blackout period (I can tell you that the location we visited in the morning on Tuesday was slammed, as was the parking lot)
- it makes Schultz and Co. seem truly, deeply interested in the needs of clientele (which in all likelihood is true)
- Free publicity across every major media outlet for several days (including but not limited to panic-filled man-on-the-street interviews via Fox & Friends yesterday morning, massive blog coverage today...)
Obviously, the move is meant to prove that Schultz was serious when wanted to remedy perceived ills at the chain. Many long-time fans had been complaining about a drop in quality. It's questionable whether a three-and-a-half hour training session is actually going to improve the skillset of Starbucks employees, but you can bet 20 Duetto Dollars that there will be people sauntering into your office tomorrow swearing that their espresso tastes soooo much better than it did two days ago.It's good to know I'm not the only one convinced it was a stunt. But I can't say I disapprove of the tactic. Subversive, yes. Below the belt? I think not. Cheaper than a massive ad buy? You bet. Even if you hate Starbucks, you were probably talking about them yesterday - if only to laugh at those panic-stricken New Yorkers they interviewed on Fox News. And hey, if the service or the coffee does improve, won't we all be just a little happier?
Art above courtesy of Coffee-art.com, where barista Karen recreates classic masterpieces using only the finest espresso as her medium of choice. Now that's true passion.