Posted by infinitygoods on November 3, 2007
Starbucks strikes again. I keep hearing in the community, in the news, and on the Internet that Starbucks does not like children, and at least based on the experience we had a few days ago, I can say it’s absolutely true.
Our son’s teacher had prearranged with the local Starbucks manager in Oak Park, Calif., to have a small group of 6-10 homeschoolers accompanied by parents to journal for one hour. The thought was to have comfortable seating, pleasant music and, since the weather is getting chilly, perhaps even a cup of hot cocoa all while the children and parents wrote in their journals.
It seemed it would be a better experience than sitting in a school district classroom, which seems particularly uninviting to all of us who are so used to the pleasures and comfort of homeschooling.
We would have gained a clean, well-lighted place to write, and in exchange Starbucks would have gained some free community outreach in an affluent area which is extremely family oriented, all the while gaining some extra business at a time of day the manager had claimed was always slow.
Well, that was not to be.
Despite the prearrangement and the fact that several parents were already purchasing drinks and snacks, the manager asked the teacher to leave even before several of us had the chance to arrive, claiming there were too many patrons there that morning despite the seats still available both inside and on the patio.
Now, I ask you, since almost every single one of us had made a purchase, were we not patrons?
Mind you, we were not a group of screaming preschoolers or scary teen gang members. The three children who had already arrived were polite and quiet elementary school children who were accompanied by both a school district teacher, and one parent each.
Starbucks did not refuse to serve us. No, they gladly took our money. Starbucks refused to allow paying customers to sit down and sent children out into the cold!
When the teacher went to Starbucks to prearrange this, the manager had the choice to simply say no, or that she didn’t feel comfortable doing that, or that it was sometimes a busy time of day so it might not be comfortable for us, or any polite customer service excuse she wanted to give. But instead, she chose to tell the teacher yes, that it was a slow time of day and that it was “fine,” only to rudely go back on her word.
That’s not how to win repeat business or create community goodwill, Starbucks. That’s not only the perfect recipe for losing business today, but also for losing business tomorrow when those children become adults.
As you can see by this blog post, it’s also the perfect way to earn bad press for all the World Wide Web to read.
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