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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
gift horses and the dental health thereof 
26th-Apr-2006 11:45 am
note to self
When I got to work this morning, there was a bouquet of 3 roses and a card waiting on my desk for me — happy Administrative Professionals Day! Every job I've had, after that first summer job at Dairy Queen, has been as an admin of some sort (admin assistant or research assistant), but this is the first time my manager(s) have done anything to observe the day*, so I'm fairly pleased by this. (I know some people hate the day, but I'm not debating its merits, just saying it's nice to get flowers occasionally.)


Accompanying the card was a $15 Starbucks gift card.

I hate Starbucks. I think they're evil. I think their business practices are predatory, and that they deliberately try to force independent coffee shops out of business. In the past 10 years or so, I've been into a Starbucks once (and would have pushed for going elsewhere if it hadn't been the choice of a new co-worker on my first day at a new job; it didn't seem like an opportune time to make waves).

But the card has already been purchased. If I don't use it, it's pure profit for Starbucks. If I do use it, it's still profit for them, but less so.

So, of the things Starbucks sells, what do they get the least profit on? Are there any loss-leaders I could buy and thereby cost them money?

Oh, hey — most Starbucks I've seen sell CDs from Putumayo. We already have World Lounge; maybe I'll pick up Brazilian Lounge, Asian Lounge, Latin Lounge, Blues Lounge, Sahara Lounge, or Euro Lounge. The profit they make on a CD must be less than the profit they make on coffee, wouldn't you think?

*Yeah, sure, the job before this one was grant-funded (which is synonymous with "underfunded"), so there wasn't any money to spare for such fripperies. But I know for a fact that all the non-admin staff in our department chipped in from their own pockets to buy the gift cards for us admins, so departmental funding really isn't the issue — attitude is.
26th-Apr-2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on the Starbuck's. Perhaps you could just go to one of their locations and ask for a refund on the gift card - explain that you don't drink coffee and you'd rather have the $15 in cash.
26th-Apr-2006 08:45 pm (UTC) - Return it to the giver
It's perfectly acceptable to return it to the giver. I assume that's your boss. "I don't drink Starbucks." is a great response.

Hell, I live in Starbucks land, and I refuse to go there.

Or you could find one of your nominal friends that does go there and give it to them. Or you could sell it on the street in front of the local starbucks. Or you could shred it and dump the pieces all over the desk of the ungrateful and obviously oblivious overseer who deemed it necessary to spend 2 minutes on their way into work to get you something you don't appreciate. Or you could give it to a homeless person. Or...
26th-Apr-2006 09:27 pm (UTC) - beat their ploughshares into swords
So, of the things Starbucks sells, what do they get the least profit on?

Buy $15 worth of the stickiest, messiest caramel lattes you can find. Then fling them all over the floor, walls, and ceiling. They'll spend far more money in cleaning supplies and manpower than they will have made selling you those drinks.
26th-Apr-2006 10:41 pm (UTC) - Re: beat their ploughshares into swords
Well, there's an idea.
26th-Apr-2006 10:54 pm (UTC) - Re: beat their ploughshares into swords
If you're trying to maximize the damage that you can do to Starbucks that's the best I can come up with. Maybe "pour the caramel into a Starbucks delivery truck gas tank" is worse, but I think I saw a mythbusters where they said "sugar in a gas tank" doesn't actually do very much.
26th-Apr-2006 10:57 pm (UTC) - Re: beat their ploughshares into swords
I saw that episode, and it's true, sugar in the gas tank does nothing.

She could get arrested for vandalizing a Starbucks if they see her actually throw the caramel lattes around, so I suggest being a little sneakier and going in the bathroom and clogging up the toilet or something.
26th-Apr-2006 11:00 pm (UTC) - Re: beat their ploughshares into swords
Yeah, but you can clog up a Starbucks toilet without using any of their products to do so. Maybe she could stuff $15 worth of bran muffins down there. Or go to OSH and trade the card for a 10 pound bag of cement.
26th-Apr-2006 11:01 pm (UTC) - Re: beat their ploughshares into swords
Maybe she could stuff $15 worth of bran muffins down there.

I don't know why, but this made me LOL.
27th-Apr-2006 06:40 pm (UTC) - Re: beat their ploughshares into swords
I would counsel against any type of 'vandalism' in the store or in the bathroom, because such a thing isn't going to affect the 'corporate' end of things in the least, it's just going to be some poor kid (like Dirtwitch's nephew) who's going to have to clean it up....

I like the idea of figuring out what they make the least profit on, and buying that (assuming it's something you can use.
27th-Apr-2006 06:59 pm (UTC) - Re: beat their ploughshares into swords
such a thing isn't going to affect the 'corporate' end of things in the least, it's just going to be some poor kid (like Dirtwitch's nephew) who's going to have to clean it up....

I'm not actually advocating these things. Starbucks sells omnipresent shitty coffee, they don't actually do anything harmful.

At the same time lexica510 did ask how she could inflict the most harm on Starbucks with her $15 gift card and I'm exploring the full extent of the envelope. I don't think you can do anything to "harm the corporate end of things" with a $15 gift card.
27th-Apr-2006 12:38 am (UTC)
If you decide to buy something, buy the FairTrade Coffe (It's just that...) and give it to someone, I don't know...a Women's shelter. Heh.
Here's an odd note for you...
Yeah I agree that Starbucks is Icky Icky Icky... HOWEVER...
My beloved cousin Ben is a transexual. Was my beloved cousin Danielle. He worked at Starbucks for 4,5 years.
"Why do you work there" I says, "they're (see above and above...)"
"Well", he says, " they are paying for my treatments, doctors visits and testosterone..."
"Huh" I says. So he used them and left... Now he is a goddam good carpenter working for a big ass company and happy as a young boy full of testosterone and the love from Family.
No moral. I'll take the Coffee. or do that caramel thing. Or buy a great CD... You can always vandalize them...
They already HAVE the freakin' money... don't let them keep it.
27th-Apr-2006 01:57 am (UTC)
You can usually craigslist (or ebay, but that's more work) such cards. I know a few people who have done this with Amazon and Gap GCs, and regularly get ninety cents on the dollar.

If you posted a $15 GC for $13, and restricted it to Oakland, you'd probably get it. They're happy ($2 free), you're happy (no need to grace the door of Starbucks and $13 cash to boot), everyone wins. Alas, Starbucks is happy too, but that's unavoidable.

Hmm. I still have a $50 Sharper Image GC. I should get off my chair and post that...
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