Friday, November 23, 2007

How to Fix Starbucks: Rip Out the Speakers!

It took a few days of contemplation and a three hour, post-Thanksgiving dinner session of Risk, The Game of World Domination, but I think I’ve figured out Starbucks’ problem.

What could Risk, The Game of World Domination, have to do with Starbucks’ problem?

Very little, actually.

It’s just that a few hours spent on nothing but the task of accumulating armies, defending the wonderfully hard-to-attack Australia against all comers, and contemplating how best to destroy brothers-in-laws before they destroy you leaves one’s mind clear to resolving bigger issues, such as what is wrong with Starbucks.

And what is wrong with Starbucks has nothing to do with the taste of the coffee, the rising price of milk or the fact that there are so many Starbucks around the country that Wall Street’s Finest are muttering the word “saturation.” (I think the last word on this topic came from The Onion, which once carried the banner headline: New Starbucks Opens In Rest Room Of Existing Starbucks).

No, the problem with Starbucks is Paul McCartney. At least, I’ve come to believe Sir Paul is driving customers away.

This is because I’ve been trapped beneath a speaker for the last couple of hours at our local Starbucks during which time Sir Paul’s latest album, “Memory Almost Full of Lousy Songs,” which Starbucks released under its own music label, has been playing and re-playing to the point that I am ready to pay them to turn it off.

Well I was found in the transit lounge
Of a dirty airport town
What was I doing on the road to ruin
Well my mama laid me down
My mama laid me down

Those are actual lyrics, and I am not making them up.

Whatever happened to “Blackbird singing in the dead of night/take these broken wings and learn to fly” or “Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs/of every head he’s had the pleasure to have known”?

Put these new, dreadful lyrics together with old, familiar riffs ranging from the worst of Wings, which was pretty bad, to his “Your Mother Should Know” period with The Beatles, which was awful, and it’s not a stretch to believe that Dave Barry was right: some time during the decade after the Beatles broke up Sir Paul must have been taken over by a Pod Person.

How else to explain lyrics that sound like they were copied from a Hallmark card for the recently widowed?

At the end of the end
It’s the start of a journey
To a much better place
And this wasn’t bad
So a much better place
Would have to be special

Hey, why not just put on a double album of Yoko Ono imitating cattle being prodded in a shopping mall on Black Friday, and really drive away the coffee-drinkers?

Come to think of it, perhaps I could have defended Australia in our epic battle of Risk, The Game of World Domination had I been humming a little post-Beatles McCartney, which surely would have driven my brothers-in-laws quite mad. More likely, though, it would have invited even more aggressive attacks than I suffered, possibly involving blunt objects, just to get me out of the room.

The only thing worse than standing in line for five minutes at a Starbucks must be standing behind the counter mixing coffee drinks for five hours while Sir Paul sings:

Only mama knows why she laid me down
In this God-forsaken town

Only mama knows not only why he wrote not only those God-forsaken lyrics, but then decided to record them, and why Starbucks management decided to cut a deal with Sir Paul that requires them to actually play “Memory Almost Full of Lousy Songs” in a room full of people looking anxiously at the exits.

Starbucks baristas unite! Rip out the speakers! Help turn around Starbucks today!

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2007 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, nor is it a solicitation of business in any way. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


Bruce said...

It seems this post has more to do with personal disappointment & disillusionment with Paul McCartney than Starbucks.

I've met Paul a few times. Always friendly, always a gentleman. I've met his soon to be ex-wife, no comment.

Very very few people can keep the magic they had once upon a time, that got them fame & fortune.

Chips Whitesugar said...

Starbucks isn't the only establishment guilty of this sin. The playing of really, really, bad music has become ubiquitous almost everywhere you need( or wish you could avoid) to go these days -from every other store in the mall to the gym. I have know idea what the people
who operate these assaults on anyone with musical sensitivity are thinking - I cannot imagine it actually improves sales. Quit the contrary - I try to leave these places as quickly as possible.

Hayseed said...

Jethro, you know i'm a reasonable guy and i have to say that sbux and its patrons really are driving me crazy. i go in there twice a week because its the only place i can get green tea: i order a large (not a venti as these koolaid drinkers want me to say) green tea, iced, with nothing in it. they look at me as if i just arrived from mars. the other patrons ordering their various lattes and double frappe crap also peer at me as if i was an idiot, like i'm not part of the team, as if someone from Minitrue should come out and issue me a summons to appear before the grande arbiter of herd mentality. the entire sbux movement is getting to the point of pushing me into a quasi-michael douglas role in "falling down". yesterday, i went into the sbux here in Dallas - highland park and the guy (loosely used term) ordered the following, which i committed to memory, partially to prevent me from losing it: triple grande decaf cappucino caramel macchioto half calf latte with extra whip. it took me every fiber of my being not to go to my car, get out my 5 iron, and come back swinging at anything that moved. let's bring back coffee and let's put this nightmare behind us.

Stock Market Beat said...

How much did you spend during your "two hours at the local starbucks?"

Perhaps the music is a tool to increase turnover by chasing out the loiterers.

eagles242 said...

don't care for the coffee, the service stinks with all the "moo moo" drinks, the grub is overpriced and old, the best seats are occupied with laptops, crumbs all over the place so you can see the wrappers from the 4 hour old they have music?

Dr.Gray said...

I have to totally disagree here. The problem with starbucks is not the music its the horrible, high priced, crappy tasting, mass manufactured, swill that they serve. Honestly if you really enjoy starbucks stuff that says something about your exposer to good products. Try something like this instead - latte matcha