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Starbucks: Are your people free to make things right?

Our neighborhood chamber of commerce organized trick-or-treating along the main shopping street yesterday.  Hundreds of kids in costumes were getting their candy fix from the local retailers.

Starbucks, American Apparel, and 7-Eleven weren’t participating.

It was a stark reminder of the difference between a caring local business and a cold national chain.

I was most disappointed in Starbucks. Every one of those parents spends their Fourbucks there every morning.  When I went in, there were at least 10 disappointed kids and 20 annoyed parents.

Why didn’t the manager walk across the street and buy a $5 bag of candy?

It would have been a priceless customer service moment.  It would have prevented bad feelings with hundreds of customers.  It would have meant more than another "we’re so cool" corporate promotion.  It would have helped fix the always-present feeling that Starbucks is a predatory national brand.

It would have been easy.

The lesson: For all the supposedly enlightened philosophies of the company, how come nobody knew what to do when sad kids and annoyed parents are staring them in the face?

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