2.24.2010

and now the end is near...

and so i face the final curtain.

i've been absent for so long, and it pleases me to no end that readers still happen upon this blog and send me comments and emails. but now it's time to bring this blog to a close. i have officially hung up my apron and am no longer a barista.

BUT i cannot leave without one final post about the bux. about the company that i used to love and used to be so happy working for.
first, though, i must tell you a story about the best manager ever.

she wasn't my first manager at bux, nor was she my last, but she was undoubtedly the best.
she was the kind of manager who recognized the hard workers and let them know they were appreciated. the kind of manager who listened to her partners complaints and concerns and who was a champion and voice for the baristas when dealing with upper management. she developed several baristas to leads, leads to managers. she was the go-to gal for her district and peers, always lending a hand, covering a store or answering questions. she had been recognized by her district and regional managers several times for the amazing job she did.
it might sound silly, but it was close to magical working for her. our store was at it's best under her guidance. there was no drama, no needless bitching - just a close knit store filled with partners who loved coming to work each day. i have learned so much from her, more than she ever could realize, and i'm honored to now call her a friend.

now, i've been quite critical of the direction bux has taken over the past few years. initially i was hopefully when howard came back, but quickly learned that all he was giving was lip service. i have no idea why seattle doesn't listen to its partners, because the ones at store level ALWAYS know better. we are the ones who talk to the customers each day, the ones who see how bad corporate decisions affect the business, the ones who actually still care about the culture and not just profit/loss statements.
i have made peace with the fact that bux will never again be the company i started with. that entity is gone and buried - and believe it or not, i can understand. when a company gets so huge it's impossible to hang on to the culture - especially when you're opening a new store just about every damn day. so, i reminisce about the days of yore, but i know it's not something that can be recaptured, even if you do bring back a former ceo. but just because you can't go back in time doesn't mean you can't move towards being something great. yes, it will be different, but it can still be GOOD. it's still possible to make decisions based on what's right, and not just what's profitable.

you know, i always used to joke about getting fired. not for doing anything wrong or illicit, but for being the highest paid hourly worker in my store. when bux laid off all those district managers (yes, mostly ones who'd been in their position for years and making a good chunk of change) i said i was probably next. but my best manager ever reminded me that although it looked better on paper to get rid of me and hire in a newbie, i did the job of at least two people, so in fact bux was getting a bargain!
well, i managed to quit before they got rid of me, but the best manager ever wasn't so lucky.

i have no more love for bux. i can't. not after they get rid of an incredible manager for made up reasons. and unfortunately her story isn't unique. it's happening all over. even my last manager (who is also very wonderful) admitted to me he also is in fear of losing his position on a daily basis. district managers are literally splitting hairs to come up with reasons to put managers on final action plans.
it's so sad, but managers who have put in years, YEARS of incredible service are being forced out. and everyone knows why.

money.

why pay someone 60k a year to manage a store when you can find someone to do it almost half the cost?
i can tell you why - because that 60k gives you smoothly run stores, fully developed partners and happy customers.
what you get is a manager who cares and knows how to run a business.
what you get is loyalty which apparently bux is quite short of.

i don't know what will happen to bux if they stay on this road. and honestly, i don't care.
it seems they've given up caring quite a while ago.

so, although i won't be posting on this blog anymore, at least not as an actual barista, i have started a more personal blog documenting my journey to become a published author.

i want to thank every person who's ever read this blog.
i've had over 980,000 hits and you can't imagine how incredible that is for me.
so, again, from the bottom of my heart -
thank you

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey,

Thanks for all the stories--I always enjoyed reading your blog. Best of luck with the writing...

(From a Canadian who usually has Tim Hortons but occasionally a starbucks)

Songbird said...

Enjoyed your Bux blog very much. Best wishes for a fantastic writing career!

Christine said...

Goodbye and good luck. Have enjoyed this blog a great deal and wondered what happened to you. Thank you for the stories and all the best with your writing career.

Random Thinker said...

Thanks for the great read over the years. I enjoyed it so much. As a customer of Starbucks I have seen its decline from the other side of the counter. The cutesy chitchat between the baristas as if serving the customers is an imposition on them. Switched to Caribou long ago. Good luck. Excuse me now while I head over to your new blog.

Anonymous said...

I'll miss you at bux - but look forward to reading more on your new blog. Thanks for some great reads.

k said...

I've had you in my google reader for a long time now and have enjoyed your stories immensely. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to following you on your new adventure of writing. Good for you for following your dreams!

Meghan said...

Your blog has been one of my favorites of all time. Thank you for all the great stories. You're an excellent writer and storyteller, and I can see you having a wildly successful writing career. Best of luck!

Johnny Yen said...

Unfortunately, what's going on at "Bux" is happening in a lot of places. Penny wise, pound foolish.

I'm sorry you're ending this blog-- I've enjoyed it a lot-- but look forward to reading your new one!

Little-Bit said...

Thank you for sharing part of your life with us. It was an honor. And, every time I carry 3 gallons of milk with one hand, I still think of you :)

Anonymous said...

i've been a starbucks partner for eight yrs and everything you've said, i've thought. i recently told my boyfriend i didn't know if i could ignore it anymore :/

good luck and thanks :)

Ms. Divina Loca said...

Thank you for this blog and I wish you well in whatever happens next. 'Bux didn't make you a great blogger so why not just blog about whatever comes into your head? I hope you do.

Zoltar Panaflex said...

Brat --> Yours is the most compelling blog I've read. I hope you start up something else to talk to everyone out here. Your style is wonderful, and you're so obviously full of heart and spirit, people will want to read what you have to say *no matter the topic*.

I kept waiting for the 'it's over folks' post - I had been in retail (Selling at Nordstrom) and that company has also changed so much, it's NOT FUN anymore. And why show up just to be miserable?

Brat - I'm sure I'm one of a multitude that wishes you well and that you are happy with what you find to do.

Your blog was amazing.....because you are amazing too!

Smooches and clinking of coffee cups to you,

zoltarpanaflex (dianne)

Anonymous said...

I'm a dunkin donuts guy but I have enjoyed your stories for the last few years and always appreciated how you portrayed the great and not so great people you have worked with. Your leaving is their loss, I wish it wasn't so difficult to enjoy a job these days.

Good luck in the future.

Anonymous said...

I've looked for your next post for months and alas it will be your last here. Sadly what you experienced at the Bux is taking place all over the corporate world. I don't need to wish you good luck because you will make your own luck with the writing you do so well. It's been a pleasure...

Biff Nightingale said...

I was an ASM at a store in Canada and watched all the good hardworking decent SMss go extinct and get replaced by scared shitless external hires who almost unanimously would lean on ASMs to all their work for them, then shit-can them as they got overworked.

Then it happened to me.

Trust me, brat, it sucks right now, but both you and your manager will be better off in the long run. You can both find someplace that actually appreciates hard work, not scorns it.

Tom said...

Ack, no! Thanks for writing such a great blog. I always enjoyed reading it, and as I was reading this one I thought, "I wonder if she has ever considered writing more than just a blog." Good to see you aren't going to let those enviable skills go to waste. Best of luck! I'll be following your new efforts with additional interest, as they parallel some of my own.

Matthew said...

Best of luck. I enjoyed the blog.

Sarah said...

love the blog Brat. been reading forever it seems. will definately miss ya!!

HC said...

Best of luck to you! I'll miss this blog!

Jeannie said...

Thank you for your blog. I'll miss checking in from time to time. As a former member of the front-line service industry, I've greatly enjoyed your take on customers, management and service.

Zoltar Panaflex said...

Brat - I saw a news release today that made me instantly think of you. Starbucks is going to let their customers 'custom order' Fraps - including soy and anything else they want.

I read this to husband & he said "I'll bet that blogger is glad she's out of that!"

Also, I read about the 31-ounce Starbucks is testing.

I hope you are doing well and that you found something that makes you truly happy!

Banquet Manager said...

Good luck to you.
So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager

E said...

ah brat. your blog was one of the funniest things ive read on the net. aftr stumbling on a link to you from Manuel over at the WellDoneFillet i near spit my cuppa over my keyboard. i continued reading...and reading... and before i knew it it was five in the morning and i spent the next day brewing the coffees at work like a zombie (but still chuckling!)
thanks so much for your brilliant work.

Medicated Roger said...

Make sure this doesn't happen in your store.

http://www.vancouvernewsblog.com/2010/06/starbucks-knife-fight.html

Poor Starbucks workers and customers, EH?