Friday, January 9, 2009

An embarrassment of Starbucks

Posted By on 01.09.09 at 04:44 PM

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Ever since Trader Joe's replaced the inexpensive but wonderful whole bean New Mexican Piñon Coffee with the company's ground version, I've all but stopped going to Trader Joe's. Now, what was once an occasional purchase of premium brands such as Intelligentsia or Metropolis has become a pricey weekly habit.

While I've simply been unable to economize on this particular necessity, at least I can feel good about supporting the local guys (who richly deserve it). But when a friend who works for a major consumer brands conglomerate offered to send me some surplus Starbucks beans they had on hand--leftovers from a cross-promotion--I said sure, why not?  I can choke down some of that overroasted mud and use the savings for something more important. Like, say, bourbon.

I had forgotten all about it by Monday when I'd returned from Julius Meinl with a $15 bag of Kolschitzky to find three cases of Starbucks' House Blend sitting on the doorstep--almost 20 pounds of beans.

I don't know exactly what went wrong with the promotion, but my friend tells me she had to get rid of hundreds of cases of the stuff, which retails for $9.95 a pound. And I'm not going take this bit of info and try to extrapolate some sort of causality for SBUX's well-publicized financial woes, but that is a tremendous amount of waste--enough to employ at least one barista for a year, or to fuel up the new corporate jet a few times. Or give Howard Schultz a couple more Hawaiian vacations.

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