Is The End Of Starbucks Empire Near?

by AMANDA MELILLO · February 26, 2008

starbucks closing [Photo via Racked] When Seattle began to export its coffee with the green label and siren logo to cities across the United States, and then countries around the world, I think we all just assumed world takeover was evident. Beginning in the 1990s, the company began growing so fast that a new Starbucks store was opening every business day. That's right. A new store was opening PER DAY! Per day!!! That meteoric trend continued into the new millennium, and in order to keep that breakneck pace rolling, higher-ups at the company decided this was rationale to begin opening identical coffee shops across the street from one another. But, after a spate of news concerning this ubiquitous chain has hit headlines, I just have to ask: What the hell is going on at Starbucks?!?!

Nationwide, first they eliminate their breakfast sandwich, prompting an entire movement to return it to its former glory on the menu. I can't be sure, but I think this is the official crossover for those that formerly joined "Save this Failing TV Show" movements to those now campaigning to "Save this Menu Item." That's right, those of you raising Darfur Awareness--we have found real issues to fight for! Then McDonald's, that beacon of ready-in-90-seconds, less-than-a-dollar, artery-clogging suggestion of what food should be, actually BEAT Starbucks for best-tasting coffee. That added insult to injury of their stock prices dropping, and an announcement that would cut 600 jobs as part of "restructuring." As it turns out, maybe people DON'T want to pay four dollars for a designer cup of coffee.

Here in New York, some even stranger things have been happening. Just last week, a Starbucks CLOSED on W 8th street, in the very heart of NYU-land, where you would think over-exhausted and hung-over college students needing a jolt before an exam would be most likely to gravitate. I mean, if the cost of NYU is at least $50,000, what's four dollars and fifteen cents for a macchiato? Shortly after this, a man was pistol-whipped outside a Starbucks while carrying $150,000 in cash in a black duffel bag. And today, all Starbucks will be closing between the hours of 5:30 to 8:30 so that baristas new and old can be trained and retrained on the exact art of pressing the button on the automated espresso machines. Dunkin' Donuts is already on it, and has found a way to capitalize on the blackout period. It is just me, or is Starbucks having problems a lot closer to our Big Apple home....?

But my absolute favorite is this video of Improv Everywhere, the same group that brought mass confusion to tourists and commuters in Grand Central by freezing in place for five minutes, lugging their desktop PCs to hook up alongside laptop-users. As it turns out, there is more than one way to undermine a trendy caffeine powerhouse.

[McDonald's McCafe]