Wrestling with Starbucks: Conscience, Capital, Cappuccino

By Kim Fellner | Go to book overview

7
When Worker
Met Partner

For a year, I kept five lovely little cards on my desk. Each was the size of a standard business card and bore an illustration, awash in gentle color and New Age sensibility, representing a trait that epitomizes the ideal Starbucks partner.

“Welcoming,” says one drawn in mock-child style, a picture of a multiracial group of partners wearing green aprons and smiles and surrounded by the word welcome in many languages. “Offer everyone a sense of belonging.”

“Involved,” says another. “Connect with one another, with the company, with your community.”

“Knowledgeable,” says a third. “Love what you do. Share it with others.”

Starbucks managers and partners are encouraged to give each other these cards as tokens of recognition and thanks for upholding company ideals beyond the call of duty. The cards may be hokey; but their messages and, even more important, their existence are meant to serve as an antidote to workplaces that are increasingly transitory and impersonal. It’s the kind of symbolism that would probably make your average union leader puke. And that’s a problem because, by lavishing even generic personal attention on workers, the company is meeting a need that unions all but neglect.

Unions, it seems, have a great future behind them, rooted in the anthems of the 1930s but tone-deaf to the cultural changes that are

-140-

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Wrestling with Starbucks: Conscience, Capital, Cappuccino
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction - The Global Economy Comes Home 1
  • 1 - The Empire Strikes Gold 15
  • 2 - Running the 10-K 27
  • 3 - Banking on the Bean 47
  • 4 - Go Sell It on the Mountain 69
  • 5 - Moving Up on Eighth Street 105
  • 6 - The Cross­dressing of Coffee-Counter Culture 123
  • 7 - When Worker Met Partner 140
  • 8 - At the Global Crossroads 163
  • 9 - The View from Headquarters 186
  • 10 - Capitalism Is like Fire … 203
  • 11 - Goodness as Battleground 220
  • 12 - Bread. Roses. Coffee 236
  • Acknowledgments 245
  • Notes 249
  • Index 267
  • About the Author 285
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