A Cup of Like

Image by Paul Kiser

A Grande Like

10º  I don’t feel it’s appropriate for a business to ‘love’ its customers. Loving someone is a personal bond that shouldn’t be related to business, (unless you’re Lady Gaga, then you can love your ‘monsters.’)

However, I do feel strongly that a business should ‘like‘ its customers. When I go into a Starbucks I can tell if they are serving drinks, or if they are offering a cup of like. Anyone can serve a drink, but serving like requires more than the mechanics of taking an order, knowing how much milk to put in a cup, and/or yelling, “I have a Venti Latte with two shots on the bar!”

My home Starbucks on 7th and Keystone in Reno, Nevada has ‘like’ down. They seem truly happy when a customer walks in the door. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their down days, but most of the time you will get more than your drink from the staff.

This is not what I experience when I travel. It’s easy to pick on airlines, because if there is one group of people who don’t ‘like’ their customers, it’s air travel industry. But, finding hotel or restaurant staff that makes you feel liked is harder and harder to do.

In fact, a business that likes their customer is so rare that a genuine friendly person stands out among the ugliness of customer service in most businesses. The opportunity to beat the competition is to simply like your customers.

The place to start is with management. Managers have to like their staff and like their job. If their not happy then how can the staff possibly be?

For A Few Dollars More


Trash outside of a Reno Starbucks...I picked it up for them after I took the picture

Trash outside of a Reno Starbucks…I picked it up for them after I took the picture

250°  If there seems like there is more trash on the ground around Starbucks these days, you’re probably right. A Reno Starbucks parking lot looked more like an abandon homeless camp than a business parking lot.

Why has Starbucks gone trashy? It likely comes down to greed. Over a year ago several of the Reno area store managers pulled most of their trash cans from outside the store and reduced the number of trash cans inside the store. At the time I was told by one store manager that ‘people,’ aka:  those damn customers, were putting more than ‘Starbucks’ trash in their trash cans and they didn’t feel they should have to pay to haul it away.

That probably isn’t the real reason.

Most likely Corporate Starbucks issued a command to cut expenses. Store managers didn’t want to cut labor or supplies so they looked for somewhere else to save money. A store manager doesn’t get any points for how much garbage is hauled away, so they eliminated the outside trash can by the door and in the drive-through trash container. This forces people to keep their trash, or throw it on the ground. In either case it is not an expense the store manager has to worry about when their District Manager goes over the P&L  (profit and loss) statement.

Fortunately, Reno is usually windy so most of the trash blows out of their parking lot, but lately we have had calm winds and the trash just lays there waiting for the next gust of wind.

The selfish policy of it’s-not-my-problem is unfortunate. Starbucks attempts to be a good community member; however, when I hear of something good they have done I am reminded that these are the same people who are saving a few dollars on trash service by making our community less pleasant.