In an article on THE BIG MONEY website, entitled "There Is No McDonald's America and Starbucks America," by Dan Mitchell, the author says this:

"We are constantly confronted by false choices: Are you conservative or liberal? Do you prefer Letterman or Leno? You either shop at Barnes & Noble or at an indie bookshop. "Free trade" is either an unalloyed good or destroying society. You must take sides, whether or not there really are two "sides" to any particular question, which there usually aren't." (SEE THE FPL PIECE BY THAT SAME NAME)

I love that!

Then Dan goes on to say that asking people if they prefer McDonald's or Starbucks is like "comparing apples to kumquats."

Well, Dan, it used to be, but unfortunately, Howard D. Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, has attempted to turn Starbucks into McDonald's and as a result caused the demise of what was once the go-to model of a successful franchise.

I used to love going to Starbucks when it was exclusively a high-quality coffee bar. It was serene, cerebral even, with perhaps a touch of college town ambiance, and they made great coffee! But alas, even though Schultz made a fortune with the original business model, he apparently wanted to become McDonald's. So, there appeared the cheap snacks, and the little boxes of chocolate milk, and the sweeter and sweeter non-coffee drinks. In other words, Starbucks became - KID FRIENDLY!! And here I go... WHO WANTS TO HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE WHILE NAVIGATING AROUND SUV-SIZED STROLLERS AND LISTENING TO VERY LOUD TODDLERS FLINGING THEIR GOOEY RICE KRISPIE TREATS ALL OVER THE FLOOR?!!?

Clearly, not me. I stopped going to Starbucks a couple of years ago. Maybe the desperate mothers who couldn't stand one more day trapped in their brownstones with those loud, treat-flinging kids were grateful that Starbucks became a romper room, but judging from the way Starbucks has been losing money hand over fist and closing franchises down lately, something's gone wrong. And contrary to what some might think, it's not the economy. During recessions, people continue to do certain soothing things out of emotional necessity, like watching movies or TV and drinking coffee.

No, Starbucks, either out of greed or bad business judgment, blew it. Catering to kids - and of course, now we're onto one of my favorite themes - is not only bad for the kids and bad for the adults, its bad for business. Unless you're McDonalds.

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