Starbucks Steamed By S.F. Vandals

Aug 06, 2003

By George Anderson

San Francisco police reported as many as 17 Starbucks were vandalized throughout the city early Tuesday morning.

Stores had “For Lease” signs pasted on them, some locks were jammed and a notice announced the closing of stores worldwide.

A fake letter attributed to Starbucks said the store closings were necessary because, “The global economy requires a relentless substitution of quantity over quality and shareholder value over human values.”

It continued, “At our current market level, Starbucks cannot in good conscience guarantee all of our beans meet both our rigorous quality standards as well as our commitment to social responsibility. We are moving over and making room for local coffee bars.”

In some quarters of San Francisco and elsewhere, there is no love lost for Starbucks.

Marsha Garland, executive director of San Francisco’s North Beach Chamber of Commerce told the Los Angeles Times a main complaint about Starbucks is its “tactic of offering above-market rents to storefront owners, driving up other commercial rents and often forcing locally owned stores out.”

An unidentified president of a neighborhood chamber told the Times the act of vandalism against Starbucks was “pretty funny.”

Police have not identified a prime suspect in the case but believe it to be the work of an organized group.

Moderator’s Comment: What should Starbucks response be if the vandals in San Francisco are caught?

A consumer interviewed for this story summed up (we believe) the attitudes of most Americans. “If somebody’s offering cheaper goods and better quality,
I don’t have a problem if it’s a chain or a monster corporation.”

The people who vandalized the Starbucks were clearly trying to make a political statement. Those chose the wrong method for doing so.

We’d like to see the court order the vandals and the unidentified chamber president quoted by the LA Times to work as a barista in a Starbucks
for an extended period of time. First duty: washing windows.
Anderson – Moderator

Trouble Brews for S.F. Starbucks – Los Angeles Times

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