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Starfucked: There Goes The City. Would You Like Some Sugar With That?

category dublin | consumer issues | feature author Saturday November 26, 2005 19:32author by choking on the filthy froth of my double half-caf latte - the gap-wearing, mcdonalds-eating, starbucks-drinking radical alterno kids of the central bank MAAANauthor address every street in the city - extremely soonauthor phone six six six (mobile: 086 666 666 6) Report this post to the editors

Another multinational rolls into town unopposed.

illustration picture

Two and a half years after it was reported on Indymedia that Starbucks were planning on bringing their business here, the coffee chain finally opened their first city centre outlet on College Green, right next door to the historic Bank of Ireland building, and a stones throw from the front gate of Trinity College, the oldest university in the state. Starbucks first Irish cafe opened up several months ago in the new Dundrum Shopping Centre, in the southern suburbs.

Starbucks have a touch of the cute hoor about them when it comes to the presentation of their cafes. Conscious of the backlash against the white and yellow plastic generic decor (and equally plastic food) of global fast food chains, instead they have constructed their premises in warm, organic, earthy browns, greens and oranges, selling the customer a relaxed atmosphere and image of luxurious radiance brought on by the warm afterglow from drinking one of their nuclear reactor size coffees. This is also the case with the Dublin cafe. There are many cafes around the city where you can relax and unwind - but for the most part at present, these cafes are independently owned and operated, without a massive global corporation behind the scenes.

But seriously though, whats the problem with them coming here? If people enjoy their coffee, like the premises, and their business does well, isnt that the invisible hand of the market giving the public what they want? Simon, the owner of "Simons Place" cafe in the Georges Street Arcade, said "The [Irish people] vote with their feet and their wallets. They generally get what they want. People seem to want this trend of big drinking factories, and in the last few years they've sprang up all over the place. Starbucks probably would be successful here." Judging on their success and expansion in the UK, undoubtedly the company is not going to rest on its laurels with its two stores in Dundrum and College Green. Expect them to heavily dot the landscape in the coming months.

Starbucks have a history of "cluster marketing" and aggressive startup policies when it comes to setting up shop in a new city. Although the book is slightly dated, and at this stage somewhat naive in places, Naomi Klein's "No Logo" well documents this process of how the multinational crushes all native opposition and existing independent cafes when it steamrolls into a city. "Rather than dropping an enormous big box on the edge of town, Starbucks' policy is to drop 'clusters' of outlets in urban areas already dotted with cafes and espresso bars. This strategy relies just as heavily on an economy of scale as Wal-Mart's does and the effect on competition is much the same. Instead of opening a few stores in every city in the world, or even in North America, Starbucks waits until it can blitz an entire area and spread, to quote Globe and Mail columnist John Barber, "like head lice through a kindergarten." It's a highly aggressive strategy, and it involves something the company calls 'cannibalization'." You can read a full excerpt about Starbucks here.

Three issues of contention with the opening of Starbucks are their attitude towards their workers, their use of non fair-trade coffee beans, and the homogenisation of city streets. The third one I have a particular bone of contention with. The last thing Dublin (or any city) needs is another global corporation stamping its bland, uniform, and lets face it, typically American vision of business into the psyche of the city's collective mind. There are many independent cafes out there who are being swallowed by rising rents, the Winding Stair being a prime example. This was a familiar outlet, with a beautiful bookshop underneath, selling second hand and rare antiquarian books. Now it is closed for good, with the shutters pulled permanently down. Starbucks, with its massive backing of capital, can open and operate (even at a loss) where it pleases. I find it incredibly depressing walking around yet another city that has succumbed to the lure of the yankee dollar. The ubiquitous logos and recognisable icons mean that the experience of difference and finding out spaces for yourself is gone. We're having a monoculture dictated to us by rich capitalists in Seattle. It could be Any Street, Europe - thats the way they like it.

Starbucks have a distinct policy document on Fair Trade (PDF) but only a very small percentage of their sales actually comes from fair trade coffee beans. You get the impression though that this is another example of eco-washing, similar to McDonalds making overtures about healthy diets and nutrition for kids, while still serving up the same old Big Mac. A challenge was drawn up by bloggers in the US, where Starbucks is everywhere, to see if one could actually get a cup of fair trade coffee in a Starbucks outlet yielded some interesting results - mostly negative (not available at the moment, staff did not know what the customer was talking about, etc). The company themselves responded with phone calls stressing their credentials, but anecdotally they just arent living up to their promises.

Anyway, if they're going to exist (grim fact of life) surely they should be selling ALL fair trade coffee? If multinationals actually adhered to some ethical principles, you get the feeling there wouldnt be such anitpathy towards them. If you have to ask specifically for a distinct brand that guarantees decent prices for coffee growers in the developing world, isnt the implication that the rest of their produce is traded and bought via exploitation and environmental damage? Global Exchange say that "Coffee farmers are becoming even more impoverished, going further into debt and losing their land due to extremely low world coffee prices. Meanwhile coffee companies such as Starbucks have not lowered consumer prices but are pocketing the difference, even taking into account the quality premiums in the specialty industry. According to Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International, Fair Trade farmers sell only about 20% of their coffee at a Fair Trade price. The rest is sold at the world price, due to lack of demand. Demand can be created by large corporations selling Fair Trade."

Recently their practices of exploiting their workers through precarity have come into the light, with employees beginning to unionise themselves. The first three unions in the US have affiliated to the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), and have served the company with notices demanding the management end their anti-union campaigns against the baristas, as well as guaranteeing a minimum working week.

According to the union, the workers were motivated to organize in part because of Starbucks' status as one of the few companies in the world with no full-time employment for non-managerial employees. An initiative of Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, the part-time scheme forces workers to contend with a constantly fluctuating number of work hours, and therefore, constantly fluctuating income. For example, a Starbucks barista could receive 35 hours of work one week, 18 hours the week after, and as low as single-digits in the following week. The world's largest coffee chain sacrifices employees' financial security in the name of cost-control and "flexibility." This comes from a company whose mission statements talks of, "provid[ing] a great work environment."

Employees in the IWW talk about how the company wangles its way out of providing employees with health benefits by cutting their hours down so they would end up with an average week of 19.75 hours - just under the 20 hour average that would guarantee benefits under the 401K plan, which includes basic treatment such as dental, medical, vision, etc. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Starbucks staff in one cafe in Auckland, New Zealand went on strike after discontent with low wages had been brewing up for some time. The strike went so well that other cafe workers across the city joined in on a wildcat action, and were joined by workers from McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC. Their demands mirrored those of the American unions. It seems that low pay and "flexible" working hours will more than likely be the norm for the Dublin cafe workers too - because a global multinational corporation is hardly likely to change its stripes just because its new here in Ireland.



queue out the door for coffee.
queue out the door for coffee.

author by Danpublication date Sat Nov 26, 2005 20:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lefties need to start a boycott starbucks campaign.

author by Crappucinomakerpublication date Sat Nov 26, 2005 20:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

worldwide is likely the only way to get their attention, I hate to say. I'm afraid we are past the point where politely asking multinationals to respect their workers and suppliers will result in any "modification" to their "behaviour." Starbucks, most other multinational corporations and the US as a country are a direct threat to every society's well-being (and in many cases its very existence.) I've always advocated nonviolence as a sole means of self-defence, but now I'm wondering how effective that will be as the forces of globalization become more ruthless and predatory.

author by gay georipublication date Sat Nov 26, 2005 21:23author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

For a start, there is already a Starbucks counter in DCU's Bialann Restaurant, and in Microsoft in Sandyford, so it's great that the general Irish public can now get to enjoy a Viente Drip as much as the US, UK, and many other nationality of customer globally can.

Back to the original posting - predictably though, the utterly tiresome Sept 10 weltanschaung of Intellectual Pygmi Klein is trotted out as a big stick with which to beat what is even accepted by the original poster as "something people seem to want" (how come No Logo is a global brand now and copyright protected by the way?). Not so fast with condemnations of freedom of choice, my little man.

In addition, I think Simon of Simon's Place would be the first to admit that competition is good for business - many of us remember his "Marks Bros" operation further down on Sth Great George's Street in the 80's and 90. Now he opens for breakfast, and God Help Us, sells CRISPS and DIET COKE and fancy Latte's too. Is his business any the worse? No. Is the service and product any worse? No. It's better. Did he go out of business when McDonalds and Bewley's expanded? No. Seems to me after 20 years of operation that his ethos is the same and he's busier than ever. And the Tuna Sandwiches are just as brilliant as they were in 1986, and he's still employing equally foxy women as servers too....

Calling for "direct action" (I presume of idiot G-Hate "Friends of Zanetti type we saw this year in Scotland) and "boycott" is a pathetic knee-jerk reaction of self-absorbed wankers who secretly seek to avail of all the benefits of globalisation, while denying them to the rest of us...

Finally, what dismal research on employment conditions in Ireland. The writer recycled a bunch of US information and some anectodal content from... New Zealand.... as conjecture on what she/he hopes the conditions will be like. The article contains no facts on the employment conditions in Starbuck's Ireland. Go check your information ...

Roll on my first Starbucks Viente Drip tomorrow morning!

Just remember - Zanetti has NO real friends....

Related Link: http://www.starbucks.com/retail/locator/ViewAll.aspx?a=1&CountryID=68&FC=RETAIL&City=
author by Panzrampublication date Sat Nov 26, 2005 21:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree that the opening of the Starbucks in Dublin is without a doubt the greatest threat that the city has faced since the arrival of McDonalds in the early eighties. I said then in an interview on Today Tonight that McDonalds would result in an epidemic of obesity and heroin addiction and both of these things have clearly come to pass.

Soon Starbucks branches will replace all Irish owned cafes then they will begin to replace restaurants, pubs, shops, offices and schools. They will gut Irish towns sucking out all of the life and leading to a decline in the Irish language, art and literature all in the name of the almighty dollar

Indeed in Fresno, California a study by UCLA found that Starbucks had replaced every bookshop in the city except for two new porn shops that had opened as a direct result of Starbucks arrival. It was also found that violence had spiraled out of control amongst the city's young people driven wild by the mega caffeine drinks sold in Starbucks. Frenzied unprovoked attacks on innocent passers by has led to the nickname "Stabucks"

With Starbucks and Stringfellows arriving in the same week we are surely in danger that rape and child sex abuse will rockets in areas that Starbucks open with caffeine junkies hanging around in hyper agitated states of arousal.

We must act now to stop the free availability of such dangerous quantities of this highly addictive drug. The first step must clearly be to ban the serving of coffee to any one under the age of 18 and the licensing of the purveyors of caffeine products like with the alcohol business.

author by gay georipublication date Sat Nov 26, 2005 22:52author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually, if you were following the McLibel case, you'd know that the franchisee appeared in the SEVENTIES....

By your logic, won't Starbucks replace Stringfellows? "Leave room for cream" could take on a new meaning... we'd better get the feminists on our side now and organise a prayer vigil outside both establishments immediately. Someone call Ailbe Smyth of UCD, Ivana Bacik of TCD, and Olive Braiden immediately for the photocall...

Simon's Place - You're Next
Simon's Place - You're Next

Related Link: http://www.mcspotlight.org/case/trial/verdict/verdict_jud3b.html
author by threesugarspublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 00:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...and there was I, thinking that advertising was not allowed on indymedia!

author by Michaelpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 00:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This article, or perhaps it's just the last few comments, smell quite fishy to me. Looks like a plant to me.

I can't seem to find the link right now, but I read about a public relations firm who do viral marketing campaigns employing all sorts of reverse psychology (not exactly, but it's something like that) to help ease big brands through difficult times, with critically-minded consumers. Hu-llo indy-media!

author by D'otherpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 01:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No Michael. I think if you followed the writing style, you'd see it was a regular contributer..

author by Sen Ryanpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 01:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A very interesting and well written article.

Take no notice of your detractors, whilst what was said was funny, no argument was made.

I get the impression that the pro-starbucks people see what starbucks and others remove from communities as being minimal and of little consequence.

That's the thing about opinions, every body has one and everyone is entitled to have one. Other than that opinions are rather vague and meaningless. That's why I like reality.

Today is a place where everything happens faster, it's not even instant gratification anymore, its instant post gratification.

James Gleick, puts forward the argument in his book, "Faster," that despite, mechanising the workplace, making the workers and workplace more efficient and making society and our envoirnments more co-operative with "big business" that, we have less time than ever to ourselves.

Couple the above paragraph with the certainty that, we have no health service, no transport service, and on and on I can go, to save me the effort try to think of a functional department within our government where there is widespread acceptance that it is functional.

"Hey you can't blame Multinationals for that! That's down to electing people that are unfit for the job" I hear some of you call.

I won't argue the fact that we have a pretty useless and non-representative government, but I can and will blame multinaionals for the fact that we enjoy no services whatsoever. We swap what we need for the "services" that these multinationalls offer in return.

The fact that any of these places sell any products, is not down to either the quality of the product or for the quality of the service either. I don't mean to get on the case of the employees here, I totally understand. Crap work conditions, crap wages, no security. "Would you like a smile with that?"

In fairness, I find it hard to "have a go" at the government over this. The fact that we need an American presence, in the transaction, in which I, an Irish person may procure, cook and then eat a spud, says it all. The idea of Capitalism is brilliant.

I can just Imagine Ronald Mc. Donald selling his idea about invading Ireland to his financial buddies.

"No seriously, we sell spuds to the Irish.
We sell them their own spuds in fact, out of their buildings, and using the people over there to do the cooking and the selling."

So Ronald obviously got the thumbs up to come over to "invest" in Ireland.

As I said earlier, that fact that these parasites shift any product is not down to quality, and if one looks at all the services we give up, it isn't cheap either. The reason they are able to sell is because of marketing.

Everyone knows why Mc. Donalds is popular. Its because they target their advertising at children in a way that undermines any authority or influence a parent might have. I'm not going to go into this any further at this point and besides the arguments are old and easy to find. Anyway, starbucks is like Mc. Donalds but for us older kids, who have some money we need to give away.

So if we had an indigenous media, tv, radio and newspapers, an indigenous government that acted in a way that gave power to their people as opposed to taking power from their people, we could have Irish equivalents to these multinationals and still have all the other services that we don't have now.

If wishes were fishes. Ah sure who gives a shit.

Sen Ryan

author by Bobcatpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 03:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whilst I am most definitly saddened by the opening of another Starbucks in Dublin, something that can only add to the homogenisation of the city, I do have to take issue with the comments about fair trade coffee. Although Starbucks' claims about their purchases of fair trade coffee are suspect the fact remains that if Starbucks decided tomorrow that they were going to buy all of their coffee from fair trade sources there would not be enough coffee to supply them.
Fair trade only buy coffee from small land holders and co-ops who have small outputs as opposed to coffee estates which can have huge outputs. The other issue with fair trade is the quality of the coffee that comes off the farms. This is why a lot of the coffee on fair trade farms is sold to the market, it's just not very good. I'm not saying that fair trade is not a good thing it's just that they're not going to be able to solve the problem by itself. If you ask them about this stuff they'll tell you themselves.
Another thing worth noting is that at the moment, and it is only at the moment, the international price for coffee is very high.

author by gay georipublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 13:49author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The allegations about working conditions in the US are also untrue. As a former resident of San Francisco, I can tell you that Starbucks pays it staff over the odds in comparison to local coffee shops, and also paid medical benefits. Again, get your facts right. I'd also like to know what the Irish situation really is...

author by agcspublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 14:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I find Starbucks coffee bland and overpriced . What's worse though is that It's impossible to read a book in its US outlets without listening to tapes of Bob Dylan or whoever whining in the background . Is piped music to be compulsory in Irish Starbucks franchises as well ?
The boycott idea is crazy though - the list is just getting too long. Coca cola , irish ferries ,ryan air ,all israeli products . I remember the socialist party trying to organize a boycott of all French goods about ten years ago in protest against French nuclear tests in the South Pacific. Whatever became of that I wonder. It would be nice to boycott the various manifestations of imperialism , but that won't make imperialism go away unfortunately.

author by D'otherpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So you lived in San Francisco which puts you in some sort of position to have anecedotal evidence that Starbucks pays above the odds there. Fair enough, but the authour of the above piece is alluding to a record of clever wrangling undertaken by Starbucks to get around paying benefits which has led to several iniatives in places as diverse as the states and NZ to engage in unionisation of Starbucks staff. Don't generalise from one local anecedote to the universal, as the author points out, it's far more likely that a particular globalised work situation will be replicated in Starbucks here as it has a recored preceeded.

On the quality of Starbucks, I was in there myself the othe day, after scanning the overhead menu for the cheapest item, I got served this middling sized cup of hof chocolate that was more tepid than hot with a great dollop of UHT cream mounted on the top of it for added authenticity. It tasted like frothy piss to be honest, except it had a 2.85 price tag, which is beyond excessive. A worry I have with Starbucks is that it will become a marker for prices across the scity, with other cafes using it as a watermark for their own prices. But one thing I can't understand is why there would be queues outside the door for such shite beverages. The bloke I was with paid out 1.20 for a pack of Mature cheese and red onion crisps, with an advertising tag splashed across the front. "It's not easy to make proper cheese and onion, sometimes we weep trying." Fucking hell, why tell us bunch of paddies its so difficult to make a pack of Tayto when we shit packs of them. As for the taste, it was like eating a compressed cheesy puff, with a plastic veneer.


author by Davepublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 16:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Again we get a typical reaction from the usual suspects. Most of the arguments against Starbucks setting up here are probably true. But compare the working conditions of your average Starbucks worker in Dundrum to the working conditions of an Eastern European migrant worker working in a cafe belonging to one our Celtic Tiger "enterpreneurs". Starbucks will, at least, be under the spotlight as far as workers rights are concerned.

And we won't see the usual suspects outside these single outlet cafes protesting at the rights of the European workers on minimum wage with no security. Save the high drama and be consistent. Put down "No Logo" for a second and if you want to protest be sure to protest against all cases of discrimination and not cases where it's fashionable to do so.

I'm off to Starbucks...

author by Insurrectionpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 18:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

New York, NY - 25 Starbucks baristas and supporters wearing union pins and hats surrounded the store manager at the Union Square location in Manhattan tonight to announce their membership in the IWW Starbucks Workers Union (www.starbucksunion.org). The workers, joined by union baristas from two other New York Starbucks stores, demanded a guaranteed minimum of 30 hours of work per week and an end to Starbucks' unlawful anti-union campaign. The Union will assail Starbucks with a wide array of actions until the demands are met.


Related Link: http://www.starbucksunion.org
author by d'otherpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Compare the working conditions of your average Starbucks worker in Dundrum to the working conditions of an Eastern European migrant worker working in a cafe belonging to one our Celtic Tiger "enterpreneurs". Starbucks will, at least, be under the spotlight as far as workers rights are concerned."

That sounds like a very interesting article, are you going to write it? I'm sure you could easily access a dictaphone and do some interviews or even reflect on some anecedotal evidence of such abuses.

author by gay georipublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 19:27author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Didn't have a Viente Drip, but did have a Grande Filtered Coffee. It was 2.60 Euro, which is fine with me, and a hell of a lot less than the pint of of booze, which is a point about culture that most of the usual suspects miss... In the DCU cafe, it's 2.00 Euro, so bit of a premium, but then Ballymun is a long way away from anything of interest

Furthermore, it was brilliant to see so many cultures there enjoying the product - muslim women in viels, Chinese students, Czech and Polish accents, Swedish tourists. Marvellous. A tribute to globalisation and multiculturalism everywhere.

Well done Starbucks.

By the way - the point about Fair Trade coffee is completely bogus. It's about buying product on political grounds from leftist approved regimes, but a global argument. Would you approve of the sale of Contra Coffee in the leftist anarchy nite cafe and other idiot "student" operations? hardly: http://www.contracafe.com/

And let's be clear about the IWW - a tired, sixties, niche joke, irrelevant and unwanted by all Starbucks workers except the idiot sons and daughters of the fading Berkeley hippies and hypocrites.

Related Link: http://www.contracafe.com/
author by eeekkkkpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 20:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The IWW first attracted attention in Goldfield, Nevada in 1906 '


is the rest of your commentary so accurate?

welcome to dublin btw

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wobblies#Founding
author by Bobcatpublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Geori, I think you're living a bit in the past there mate. Fair Trade isn't some Soviet plot to back up their satellite states in the south. But in case I'm missing something I'd love to hear about the rabid left wing regiemes in Kenya, Indonesia, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo. And even Nicaragua, ruled by the right wing for 15 years now, just ratified CAFTA in fact, not very leftist.
Fair trade is in fact about buying coffee from small producers and co-ops to shield them from the instability of the market and give them a decent standard of living. Although perhaps the idea of poor people having a decent standard of living is a wild left wing conspiracy.

author by regular joepublication date Sun Nov 27, 2005 23:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Michael, I don't think this is a case of it but here's a good article on the actions of viral marketeers.

full article @

(Just to stop clogging up of the thread I've removed the full contents of the article posted here and left the link - IMC Editor)

As regards targeting global corporations I think local action is effective but what we need is global co-operation. A Fair Trade Organisation to regulate militant-business would be a start....

author by jonpublication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 09:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

....had my suspicions about the motivations behind the comments of one certain pro-starbucks character on this thread when i read it yesterday. Now i return to see i'm not the only one! Whether or not this person is working for a PR company, or is just a bored exec, it is a fact that people are employed to post pro-industry comments in public forums and send irritating, conservative letters to newspapers (who invariably print them in the name of 'balanced reporting') to give the impression that their views are somehow mainstream. I've never met anyone in person who so vehemently defends fast food or crappy, overpriced coffee outlets. Most who have such capacity for rationalising will have long ago figured out the down sides of homogenisation and concentration of power.

author by Gay Georipublication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:32author email gg at beala dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

One would imagine that posting *negative* comments would also be considered viral marketing. The whole Monbiot piece is so laced with an ideological slant that he fails to recognise that the argument might cut both ways. People are free to post negative comments about Starbucks if they wish, I've no argument with that.

I saw all shapes and sizes in Starbucks yesterday. The queuing thing will die off eventually. But then there's queues up the ying yang in a lot of US and UK Starbucks too. I heard on RTE (so it's probably wrong) that over 100,000 Irish people went to New York this year to go shopping, so I don't see why a company like Starbucks (or whoever owns the franchise) would need viral marketing, when tghe exposure is already so high to the product.

I'm neither in PR or a bored exec, but a third level student. I wish someone would *pay me* to post my opinions, but on the otherhand they're not of much value anyway to anyone but myself. I'd hate to think I ever ended up like one of those sad wankers in Magill magasine rehashing tired old bollocks from the Freedom Insitute site for the sake of a headwank and a few euros.... On the otherhand there are people like Monbiot who are paid to write THEIR views and by the looks of it to sit on their holes all day analysing IP addresses and e-mail metadata and headers. Sad paranoid bastard.

Finally, I love Starbucks sure, but I also love my Apple iPod and Prada rucksack and Vincent Browne on RTE, but boy I can't stand RyanAir, Microsoft, the Sunday Independent, Village Magazine, and Hot Press, so I'm expressing a matter of taste really... how can that be part of a "marketing campaign" (rhetorical question)?

author by A10publication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Serve Coffee thats[1] hot [2] drinkable,and fresh,not the grunge left in a pot from two days before ala most irish "coffee shops"
[3] have a variety and can make a coffee to your specs,wether from fair trade beans or not.
I am all for it ,and wish they would hurry up and get out to the provinces of Ireland.
As the man said people vote with their feet and walletts.
Life is too short to drink cruddy overpriced coffee,in unpleasent dingy surroundings,served by grumpy Irish staff,in big draughty buildings that people insist are unique and must be preserved because it is part of our heritage.
If Beweleys had listned to their customers and stopped trying to rip them off,they would still be in busisness.

author by Will Lynchpublication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 14:49author email Will.Lynch at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think Starbucks will make a rich and much valued addition to the fabric of life in Dublin.

For a much vaunted "cosmopolitan" city, it extremely difficult to get a coffee after 6pm anywhere (kudos to Cafe Moka, an honourable exception). Those places that can't be bothered to cater for caffeine aficionados in the evening time deserve to go under - I hope Starbucks chew them up and spit them out.

This city desperately needs more coffee shops open at night time as a civilsing counterbalance to the plethora of pubs in this boozed out city.

I work long and hard during the day and there is nothing more I enjoy doing than relaxing with a good coffee and a book or with some friends in a suitable place in town. All those Starbuck Clones - Cafe Sol, Insomnia, West Coast Coffee, O'Breins etc - are any of them open after 5.30/6pm? Starbucks on Dame Street is and they make superior coffee too, so they will be maing money where the others could have been. It's their loss, Starbucks gain and the consumers gain too.

The building Starbucks now occupies was derelict for some time. What would you prefer, coffee being dispensed from there or some building not being used?

This Starbucks bashing is childish, petty and spiteful. Don't drink in Starbucks if you don't want too - its the choice of the consumer, not the dictates of the politburo that matter

author by Tonypublication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 15:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Where was Will when the campaign was running to save Bewleys??

author by Aislingpublication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 16:34author email pablobabe2 at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was recently proudly telling my friends here in Bolivia that Starbucks hasnt come to Ireland yet. So when I saw that no I was wrong they have arrived and taken up resident in one of the most well preserved parts of Dublin I was understandably very disapointed.

I am suprised at the number of comments relating to this, even though now I am adding to it. There are much more important things going on in the world then the arrival of Starbucks in Dublin. I can thing of a mountain of things in Bolivia alone along with the other news items on the website. Why are people only driven to write comments when it comes to subjects such as starbucks. Is it too difficult/uninteresting to debate other issues in this manner.

One last note on Starbucks. if the Irish people don't want them in the country then they should just not drink at starbucks. Starbucks will loose business close up and leave. This happens. If as I suspect the young super cool youth are delighted they can finally be a part of the Starbucks Culture, in ten years time when Starbucks have taken over Ireland they will only have themselves to blame.
But in the meantime
"We hope that you choke, that you choke..."

author by regular joepublication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 18:23author email elephant_room at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

So finally some clarity from Geori it seems hes motivated by a dislike for those that hate the corporate form and holds the theres you know a few bad apples more centrist view. Thats a valid viewpoint but to put it across so vociferously against those that find problems with a multinational corporation they consider to be a rotten apple and/or the apple barrels rotten is strange. Good ol StarBucks leave that particular one out of it but if you were on about MS oh would I weigh in there..

So for Geori would everyone quit the criticism of their labour standards, anti-union policies, the high price for shyte yet the fraction of one percentage the coffee growers get, predatory practices, homogeneity and boredom on the high street etc etc Its all useless moaning that never achieved anything. Tx.

As regards the Monbiot point he was not the investigator of Monsanto (another one of the corporate good guys I presume) here Detective work by the campaigner Jonathan Matthews and the freelance journalist Andy Rowell those two were the sad paranoid bastard[s] who rumbled Monsanto on this one. You know Monsanto of agent orange, BST, GM control the grain fame? Im sure werere all happy with pus laced milk and CaMV promoter maize. (CaMV Promoter is A Recombination Hotspot - No Transgenic Plant Containing CaMV Promoter Should be Released = http://biosci.umn.edu/~pregal/ryanpromoter.htm http://www.biotech-info.net/CMV.pdf Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments = http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/openlet-cn.htm )

And I think its not being paranoid to say that the likelihood of an indymedia site being posted to by such Marketeers in average citizens clothing is pretty high. Sure you could say why bother, preaching to the converted and all of that but then youd have to check up the popularity of just indy.ie not to mind the various other .s to see it cant just be de [h]activists that contribute. So if its profitable to nip in the bud any potential little McLibel Neos before they start then without question a corporation will take that action. If theyll break laws for profit and this is lawful and a potent marketing tool thenagain from that article Even before publication, the researchers knew their work was hazardous. One of them, Ignacio Chapela, was approached by the director of a Mexican corporation, who first offered him a glittering research post if he withheld his paper, then told him that he knew where to find his children.

Although I wonder how the PR VRs get accredited and audited? Is it per post or per death to a thread? Any books/links on this stuff?

author by Gaz B - -(A)-publication date Mon Nov 28, 2005 19:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

starbucks employees have recently gone on strike in new zealand.


author by PeterMpublication date Tue Nov 29, 2005 18:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For what its worth, the prices are a rip-off and the service is too slow. And I'd prefer just normal friendliness and courtesy, not this over-the-top 'and how are you today sir' shite.

author by naw...publication date Wed Nov 30, 2005 10:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We have this nostalia for Bewleys, for god sake get iver it. Have many of you been there in the past five years? A very poor breakfast for 9.50, slow service and crap wages.

We live in a consumer market, deal with it. Starbucks prices are no more ridiculous than any of the other cafe chains around dublin. I agree with most of what 'will' said above, as a non drinker this is a welcome addition and if it encourages other operators to lower pirces, open longer in a bid to keep customers than happy days.

They'll pay at least the legal minimum wages, the same as most menial/service jobs in the city.

The building they've occupied's a kip, I've been in the old TCD officer above it and if you were REALLY serious about 'point 3', you'd be more concerned about the massive numbers of spars, centras, liondas's dotted in old buildings like the old Virgin Megastore, or the former AIB on the Green.

Shame we always go for the easy American target...

author by Lefty typepublication date Wed Nov 30, 2005 11:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"and if it encourages other operators to lower pirces"

??? naw - think youre a little misguided in that statement. First off I don't think you fully understand how the Starbucks corporate model works.

Step 1: Open a store near existing "popular"/"family" coffee shop.
Step 2: Open a store on the other side.
Step 3: Run stores at a loss until you drive competition out of business.
Step 4: Close down surplus stores
Step 5: Jack up prices
Step 6: Repeat and rinse

So no I dont think that the advent of Starbucks will help depress the price level of coffee in Dublin. Even though Starbucks charge artificially high prices (not reasonably low as you contend), they drive away competition by operating a predatory (or clustering) model to drive sales. This results in LFL sales growth of less than 3% in individual branches, but is made feasible due to the "big-box" nature of their operation. - i.e. run enough stores, even at a loss, and eventually economies of scale kick in. That is to say Starbucks have a lot of buying power, and can squeeze better deals out of their suppliers. Thus buying in bulk allows them to reduce their cost per unit, and keep the dollars rolling in.

3 for a coffee in fairness. How stupid are people?

author by gay georipublication date Wed Nov 30, 2005 15:40author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

no, i don't see how it would force prices down either. by, the way the price of a viente drip in SF is about HALF waht it is in Dame Street.

Also, I am very disappointed to see that the doors are so narrow - buggies and wheelchairs can just about fit in. very poor thoughts.

the queues in there aren't constant - it's very slow outside of peak times and weekends...

author by see abovepublication date Wed Nov 30, 2005 17:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Funny, i never contended starbucks prices were low, so no idea where you got that from. I said their prices are no more ridiculous than the other cafes in the city.

It will be interesting to see if the other cafe's lower their prices to compete with the brand. Personally, I think thats a good thing. I mean the prices and service in Bewleys has been a jokes for years - we seem to hanker for this homely irish notion that doesn't exisit and hasn't for donkey's years!

If you want to see crap wages try working for campbell's (inc), Bewleys pay rates and conditions were awful, but we don't mention it coz they're Irish? please.

I welcome their arrival, and its only a shame they don't go into the sandwich market as well. Bloody prices of snadwiches and coffee in this city is a joke, I hope Starbucks scare the bejaysus our of the existing operators.

author by American Joepublication date Thu Dec 01, 2005 21:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Might make a difference if the irish knew how to brew a decent cup of coffee that isnt burnt, espresso, or rotten.

author by pearson68 - what's was wrong with instant coffee anyway?publication date Fri Dec 02, 2005 09:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What's wrong with espresso?

Or is it the over-priced poor quality version, you object to?

If I only have coffee once a month,

I might as well taste it..

Hot milk (Latte) -I don't need an expensive machine for that.

author by gay georipublication date Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:26author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This kind of fundamentualist terrorism, helps no-one. Vandalising Starbucks, just like the vandalism that's been going on in shops in Oakland by black fascists, targetting people's freedom of choice, is not only hypocritical but deeply disturbing it illustrates an underlying hatred and personaltity defect that's sinister, criminal, and indicative of a person who cannot integrate with the reality.

So their solution? The "If I can't have it / or don't want it, then I don't wany anyone else to have it / want it either" mentality of a 5 year old distubred child...

"Abdul Saleh and Abdulla Dabashi witnessed the tactics of Islamic fundamentalists in their native Yemen. But nothing in their experience there compares with the violence and intimidation under the guise of religion that unfolded last week in their Oakland market.

About a dozen black men, wearing bow ties, entered the San Pablo Liquor store on Thanksgiving eve, accused the clerk of selling alcohol to African Americans in violation of Islamic law -- and tore the store apart. "

Wacth the Video of the Sound of Breaking glass:

Related Link: http://cbs5.com/video/?id=8795
author by Beerbohmpublication date Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The fact is Starbucks does have a pro-active fair trade policy which is more than can be said for most of the "authentic" mom and pop greasy spoons in this city which are as likely to be dishing out Nescaf. Ditto for those delightful Italian places where your perfect espresso will be made from Lavazza, Palombini or Illy coffee bought from growers at the market price.
In truth, Fair Trade will only ever be a token measure. In a global commodities market, buyers cannot be expect to pay producers over the market price. If the Fair Trade system were generalised, there would be no objective mechanism for determining what the price of coffee should actually be. Unless you expect Nestl et al. to go socialist and agree unilaterally to pay over the odds, you are faced with a problem.
In the past, countries like Cote D'Ivoire operated a National Stability Fund which bought growers' coffee at a more or less fixed price from year to year, negotiated with the growers' lobby. In theory, in years when the price was up, a reserve would be built up, when down, this would be paid out. The system collapsed because of massive embezzlement of the Fund and because the sophistication of world markets made it easy for buyers to cut out the middleman. Efforts to create an OPEC type cartel for coffee have failed. There is simply way too much coffee being produced and not enough coffee drinkers. Quality ranges enormously and Brazil particularly has become the world's biggest producer by producing much better quality beans than what's available in West Africa.
The only way therefore to bring a semblance of justice to the coffee trade would be for Western governments to put a levy on coffee sold in Western countries which would then be redistributed to producer coutries. This of course raises the problem of dealing with hideously corrupt and autocratic governments in Cote D'Ivoire, Guatemala, Vietnam etc.
If you read French, an excellent, journalistic, study of how world food commodities markets work is: Commerce Inquitable: Le Roman Noir des Matires Premires by the Radio-France correspondent Jean-Pierre Boris.

author by all gone.publication date Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some interesting pix and dewy-eyed nostalgia at the below link.

Fractured into a million pieces...
Fractured into a million pieces...

Related Link: http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2005/11/61033.html
author by forgepublication date Fri Dec 02, 2005 16:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think what Sen Ryan said is very true,
"Today is a place where everything happens faster, it's not even instant gratification anymore, its instant post gratification"

On the point of no coffee shops open after six. Why should they be open after six. People got lifes and families don't they!

Starbucks coming hear can't be helped. Irish apathy...

Apathy at the fact that there is no where to go. We're trapped by coffee or drink.

Like in my area "You can't have a picnic in the new town center" Dundrum that is...

author by Bpublication date Sun Dec 04, 2005 23:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's high time Starbucks got to Ireland. Now we can finally get a decent cappuccino. The sooner they get down the country the better. I would be happy to take a franchise myself and put it next to my REMAX office in the midlands. Just doing my bit to Americanize the country........now if only we could get some of their infrastructure.......

author by FairPlayToYapublication date Wed Dec 07, 2005 20:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Never mind Starfucks, there is acoffee called java republic which says it is fairtrade but is it really? This article appeared today in the Irish "Independnet".

Irish Independent 7 dec 2005 Fairtrade Ireland in legal row with Java Republic. Charlie Weston

FAIRTRADE Ireland, the charity dedicated to relieving poverty in developing countries, has threatened legal action against coffee wholesaler Java Republic in a row about the use of the charity's trademark.

A letter from solicitors Woodcock & Sons on behalf of the Irish Fair Trade Network claims Java Republic is "abusing" the terms Fairtrade coffee and FairTrade. Java Republic was set up by former Bewley's staffer David McKernan and has Dublin offices, roasting, grinding and packing facilities. Its main customer is Superquinn. The coffee wholesaler buys coffee directly from producers and roasts beans for retail outlets and the catering trade.

The solicitors' letter calls on Mr McKernan to immediately recall all products and promotional material from shops. The lawyers allege: "It has come to our client's attention that you are abusing the Fairtrade mark in that you are using the words 'fairtrade coffee' and 'FairTrade' on products which amounts to passing-off or which involves the use of a name or mark similar to and which could reasonably be confused with the mark."

Managing director of Java Republic David McKernan said: "This matter is subject to legal proceedings, so we cannot comment at present."

Lawyers for Fairtrade have demanded that Java Republic recall brands including Sumatra Blue, Munkey Espresso and Mocha Centro.

The letter, a copy of which has been seen by this newspaper, also calls for an undertaking from Java Republic not to use the trademark and to sign a licence agreement with Fair Trade Ireland.

author by gay georipublication date Wed Dec 07, 2005 23:07author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

this is a "passing off" i.e., trademark dispute. it's not about fair trade per se ...

author by gay georipublication date Thu Dec 08, 2005 01:48author email gg at bearla dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hopefully, we'll see signs like this Dublin soon. Wouldn't it be cool to see a Starbuck's cup on top of a a minister's merc? Way to go...

Related Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243
author by The Dudepublication date Thu Dec 08, 2005 13:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When capitalists like Java Republic or whatever their real name is are let exploit the fairtrade mark. Good to see them caught for once ! The worst thing is that this appears to be an Irish company selling thsi stuff all over the country. The fairtrade people have done the right thing fair dues to them.

Starbucks IS a fair trading company though, not just coffee ripper off-ers.

author by redjadepublication date Sat Dec 10, 2005 01:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

• The Carlyle Group Bidding On Food Chains
'The Carlyle Group is among the final bidders for the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurant chains, in what would be the first U.S. consumer retail investment for a company built around its expertise in defense, aerospace and telecommunications.'


• Carlyle: The Ex-Presidents' club
Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger
The Guardian - October 31, 2001

For 14 years now, with almost no publicity, the company has been signing up an impressive list of former politicians - including the first President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker; John Major; one-time World Bank treasurer Afsaneh Masheyekhi and several south-east Asian powerbrokers - and using their contacts and influence to promote the group. Among the companies Carlyle owns are those which make equipment, vehicles and munitions for the US military, and its celebrity employees have long served an ingenious dual purpose, helping encourage investments from the very wealthy while also smoothing the path for Carlyle's defence firms.

But since the start of the "war on terrorism", the firm - unofficially valued at $3.5bn - has taken on an added significance. Carlyle has become the thread which indirectly links American military policy in Afghanistan to the personal financial fortunes of its celebrity employees, not least the current president's father. And, until earlier this month, Carlyle provided another curious link to the Afghan crisis: among the firm's multi-million-dollar investors were members of the family of Osama bin Laden.

• Watch & Download:
'Exposed: The Carlyle Group'
[This is a Dutch Documentary - first 2 minutes is in Dutch, then the rest in English]



You might remember in the docu Super Size Me™, the interview with John Robbins, the Heir and Son of Mr. Robbins one of the two founders of Baskin & Robbins talk about his father's tragic death and his own health issues.

Dunkin' Donuts

More crappy food - but they have FairTrade™ coffee!

»» hmmm interesting Leftie dilemma - support Zapatista Coffee co-operatives while financing Al Qaeda and the Bush Clan.

'nutritious ice cream' from Baskin Robbins
'nutritious ice cream' from Baskin Robbins

FairTrade™ Coffee from Dunkin' Donuts - who knew the bin Ladens and Bush Clan could be so hip?
FairTrade™ Coffee from Dunkin' Donuts - who knew the bin Ladens and Bush Clan could be so hip?

author by Zander - Starbucks Employeepublication date Mon Dec 19, 2005 09:34author email flavius22 at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

As an employee of Starbucks Coffee Company, I strongly disagree with your ridiculous statements about this great company. Not only are they unfounded but they are quite bizarre! When Starbucks moves into a town it boosts up revenue fo that town, its tax system and creates popularity among the other stores in that town. But, as I see it the irish want nothing to do with competition for they know that competition is what makes things better. Without competition everything is that much more expensive. I guess what makes me most angry about these comments is that without ever experiencing starbucks or even working for one, many of you seem to come to these dumbfounded explanations to why starbucks is bad for Ireland. Sit down and relax at a Starbucks and then if you truly do not enjoy it, then that is that. Try to respect the company and its workers-being a barista is a very laborious job!

just stop this crap about american corporations, because although they may be a bit powerful at times they also do a great deal of good for the world. Lastly, the tax system is out of control in Ireland and without some sort of reform Ireland is going to face some problems. But, hell, most people do not pay their taxes in Ireland!

author by Shopperpublication date Mon Dec 19, 2005 14:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saw a sign in Blanchardstown shopping centre that a new one is to open there soon. It will be downstairs where the butchers used to be.

author by redjadepublication date Mon Dec 19, 2005 19:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

• Why Delocate?

Delocate is a web-verb created for this project as a defense mechanism for independent business establishments. The term is defined as an action that creates complex competition analysis. This is achieved by locating both the targeted corporation store(s) (Starbucks in this case) and the independently owned alternative(s) based on their physical proximity using comparative online retail store locator technology.

On the Delocator.net web site, users are enlisted into a temporary coalition to post information about cafs in their neighborhood (for instance, location, hours, open mic. nights, local artist exhibits, book readings, wireless internet service availability, organic and/or vegetarian food options, etc.).

Those who supply the database also have the opportunity to leave their names, as a method of endorsing the caf and leaving a trace of authenticity to the location postings on the site. On the results page for each search, listings of both independently owned cafs and Starbucks retail stores are presented. By comparison of numeric quantity and site-specific detail, the viewer/searcher will see evidence of the unchecked aggression and power that corporate businesses have in our communities.


The creation of other delocated database-driven web sites is encouraged. On Delocator.net, users are able to download the code necessary to establish a new database, prompting more sites and databases that may focus on other specific retail stores (fast-food, hardware, clothing, etc.).

Delocator.net was launched with the intention of becoming a web-meme, sprouting many future delocated corporate stores.

read all of this at

download the code:

download opensource code @ www.delocator.net
download opensource code @ www.delocator.net

author by Shephardpublication date Tue Jan 24, 2006 15:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well the court case between Java Republic and Fairtrade takes place this thursday

Obviously to some people java republic paying 50% more than starbucks do for coffee to a farnermakes starbucks more fairtrade than java republic!

Funny old world!

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