Dear Starbucks,

You may have noticed that your company is in serious trouble. Your labor force is acting up, McDonald’s is gobbling up your market share, you’ve cut almost 20,000 jobs in just over a year, and in the middle of recession your customers just aren’t willing to spend $4.50 on a mediocre latte. Given all these problems, it might be time to stop sticking your thumb in customers’ eyes by charging them for Internet access.

I’m typing this from a small, local coffee shop less than a block from two of your locations. To be honest, I’d rather be sitting sitting in one of those comfy recliners in your stores than this wobbly hardwood table. You cafes are quieter and more comfortable than this place, and the coffee is just as good at pretty much the same price. But you want me to pay to use the Internet, so I’m spending my money over here instead.

Look, this is the 21st century. Everyone and their dog has a laptop or tablet, and virtually every other coffee shop I’ve seen in major urban areas offers free internet access. That’s why the cafe I’m sitting in now is filled with people (ranging from poor college students to business people to some guy who looks like a trucker) typing away. Yeah, there’s a recession and maybe the apple pie and cherry cheesecake sales are suffering, but at least people are here. Your locations are completely empty.

Starbucks, for a few years there you looked like the poster child for the vitality of American commerce. Now you’re crumbling. It’s not that you flew too close to the sun–it’s that you’re trying to squeeze every last penny out of your customers and we just don’t care for it. In the words of Stringer Bell, “ya’ll actin like you got an inelastic product when you don’t!” Email me if you ever get your act together. Until then, I’ll be over here.


Sled Dog