I Hate Starbucks

I hate Starbucks. Sit down, grab a three fourths decaf half nonfat half soy 185 degrees no foam two and a half splenda stirred Sumatra misto and join me on a little journey through time and space to a magical land of espresso and community.

If by "espresso and community" I mean a global corporation that exploits and ravages all it touches. A place where workers both retail and production are paid slave wages, made to work for pennies on the dollar as the profits soar in unfair, unsafe and hazardous conditions, where lower and middle management are bullied, threatened and coerced into treating their "partners" like numbered cattle for the labor-slaughter and bottom line, where the shareholders openly extoll their hideous and vile opinions of our fellow man and, most especially, the very people who have made them rich- the baristas.

A wonderful place where the small businesses and independent cafes that gave our neighborhoods and towns such a unique flavor are forced out of business in favor of overpriced, oversugared and ultimately unhealthy and uncreative options while the CEO and his fellows flash toothy smiles and speak honeyed words about "healing the nation" and "creating jobs for America" and urging politicians to "come together" and "fix the economy," all this while they pillage and profit in times of economic turmoil and exploit their labor force, both domestically and abroad, from the green aprons in the trench to the farmers picking the beans to the roasting plant attendant. A landscape littered with piles and piles of garbage fettered by little green logos, never biodegrading and casting a pall of filth and waste over the horizon. A place where the customers, in the eyes of the corporation, are not patrons of their business or even people but transactions, units, profit margins and, if the barista spends more than a few seconds dealing with them, a waste of time and money lost.

I'm not going to lie- I pretty much hate Starbucks.

To wit, though, many people- partners and customers alike- maintain a love/hate relationship with the company. For certain, there are aspects on the employee side of things that make the job a rewarding experience: the people they meet and bond with, the joy of doing a great job, the knowledge and the experience. That being said, customers do love a familiar, friendly face behind the counter, especially given the amount of passion and blood and sweat and toil baristas put into their work regardless of the conditions forced upon them. There's always some good to take with the bad.

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