dress code downgrade. an open letter to Starbucks

You know how, when you’re a kid you learn the unspoken rule that you are allowed to say whatever you want about your family members, but an outsider making a comment was unacceptable?  Because you know it is coming from some kind of place of love, even if at the time you’re annoyed AF?

Well, that is also how I feel about constructive criticism towards Starbucks.  And since I am 1.5 shifts away from being outside the Starbucks family, I had better comment quickly to avoid being a giant hypocrite.  Though I like to feel as though I will always be a part of the Starbucks family, no matter what side of the counter I am on. 😏

Anyway, about a week ago I was reading an article about Starbucks seemingly desperately clinging to partners, once again.  This time, instead of letting us have tattoos and wear scarves, they took it a step further and lightened up even more.  Now we are allowed to wear shirts without collars, undershirts don’t have to match outer shirts (that’s certainly a plus, I will admit) and we now have a choice of what color or pattern we can wear as long as it remains within a certain color palette.

I can handle jeans and scarves and little accents here and there, however I’m going to be honest.. wearing a plaid shirt, or collarless, dull blue tee actually looks really freaking sloppy on a Starbucks barista, especially with such a bold shade of green apron.  I realize they are trying to appeal to what seems to be an epidemic of lazier employees nowadays, but what they are claiming is to allow for “personal expression” is actually looking a little bit more like “hey I just rolled out of bed, and I think this shirt is clean.  But I don’t know, I got dressed in the dark.”

So Starbucks, as an outgoing partner, I just want to say this.  I love this company.  I will never forget what it has done for me, and allowed me to do over the last four years.  But you are heading down a slippery slope where you as a company are losing control of your employees, and you’re trying to gain it back by enabling them more.  You probably still comfortably corner the market in coffee.  You don’t need to stoop to the levels you have been as of late.  A new frappuccino every week isn’t going to help you pull ahead of Dunkin Donuts when you are already there.  Instead of screwing up the wardrobe and allowing people to show up looking like confused hipsters, trying to match casual wear with a bold green apron is not going to do anything to relieve the actual stress you are putting on partners in other ways.  The $500 bonus is amazing.  And we are so appreciative.  But it is kind of like when a parent is trying to be their kids’ friend.  Your job is to parent.  Not always be loved by everyone.  It’s the cost of running such a successful business, and it has worked very well for 40+ years.  Don’t change who you are as a company to accommodate a generation whose deplorable work ethic isn’t sustainable anyway.  You’re better than this.


a soon-to-be former employee. 💚

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