Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Starbucks economy

While the news stories lately focus on struggling families choosing between filling up their car and putting food on the table, another barometer of the tough economy has cropped up.

Starbucks announced recently it is closing 600 stores due to the economic downturn and the tough economy.

Call me boring. Call me traditional. But I like a regular cup of coffee (which Starbucks does sell). Does that Organic Sumatra-Peru Blend taste great? Probably. Is it worth four bucks? Maybe once in a while.

Our city got its first Starbucks earlier this year. It's a prime location right off of the interstate. We've got three other "coffee shops" in town, and there's no evidence that Starbucks is pulling their business.

And while the puns are potentially endless on this post (Starbuck-less. Falling Starbucks. Better latte, then never), what's not funny is the fallout from the current economic woes. If Starbucks (or your local coffeehouse or any other local business) closes, that means those now ex-employees are looking for jobs. Any jobs.

Suddenly, there's competition for those barely above minimum wage fast food, retail, and low-skill factory jobs. And the people competing for those jobs may be folks whose white-collar job is gone, and they need something - anything - to get by.

If you're the person doing the hiring, that person with the higher education and skills (and a resume) looks better than the average Joe or Jane who has worked those "dead end" jobs all their life.

The huge unknown (unless someone has a link to post about this) is the impact of higher skilled workers trickling down to lower-skilled and lower-paying jobs and its effect on people whose only realistic job choice are those low-skill, low-pay jobs. Stay tuned.


Outraged Man said...

They should of never opened that many to begin with. Do we really need 3 per corner?? no!

40-Year-Old Blog said...

In a city near us, there's a Starbucks in the mall and a standalone Starbucks outside the mall. My wife thinks that's a little odd. We'll see if one of those are the 600 that bite the dust.

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