This has been bothering me for quite some time. That’s a lie. It’s been bothering me since I started to dig into this topic about three days ago. Nevertheless, I am bugged. I was told to write about something I am passionate about. Easy. I love my job. I work as a Shift Supervisor for Starbucks in Madison, Wisconsin. So I knew how I feel about the company. I thought I would hold my self-centeredness for a bit and look into what other people think. What I found was appalling. All these blogs popped up in my search engine and they talk about why people hate Starbucks. Not just hate Starbucks because of things like overpriced drinks or long lines. I was reading that many, if not most people, dislike Starbucks as a company because they shut down mom and pop stores. You know the ones. With quirky but charming names for their coffee like “Daisy’s Favorite Brew” or “You Deserve This A Latte.” Probably much cleverer, but you get the point. These mom and pop stores across the country can be found in quaint towns and charming villages. What people are saying is that Starbucks is a terrible company because not only does it shut down the friendly, pun-loving mom and pop shops but Starbucks also has crappy coffee quality. Now, as a coffee master, I feel like it’s my duty to step in here. Starbucks coffee quality is not low. In fact, not only is the quality of coffee served at Starbucks impeccably high but Starbucks is also very proud of the fact that it pays their farmers their due salary. Instead of having coffee farmers in Latin America be paid 10 cents an hour and work in inhumane conditions. But of course, I’m completely unbiased. More lies! I’m absolutely biased but I’m also correct and I have a black apron to prove it! However, the mom and pop shop shut down is what I was interested in. Was this true? I had never thought about it. Of course people like to stop at Starbucks. We have consistency and you can find us on almost every corner of this particular country. I decided I would research what our great leader, Howard Schultz, would say to these opinions. I found an interview that he did with the Wall Street Journal and he stated “I think there’s a really important role for these independent coffee stores. It creates jobs for people, and I think it raises the quality of coffee for the most part in America...and the more people who are exposed to better quality coffee is good for Starbucks.” This is an interesting comment because on the Pro-Starbucks blogs that I happened to come across there is a distinct opinion on what Starbucks competition does for surrounding coffee businesses besides shut them down. The comparison between coffee quality and customer service is challenged when a Starbucks opens up around the corner from an independently owned coffee shop. The fact that Starbucks still exists around other coffee shops can lend merit to the idea that Starbucks challenges the status quo of coffee simply by being a mile away. Mr. Schultz goes on in his interview with the Wall Street Journal by saying “We cannot be content with the status quo. Any business today that embraces the status quo as an operating principle is going to be on a death march.” Mr. Shultz feels very strongly about keeping Starbucks high on the quality standards scale. And I’m almost positive that he knows very well how many people feel about his monster chain. What I want to know is how you feel, readers? Do you hate Starbucks? Why or why not? Do you hate it just to hate it? Or do you hate it for a legitimate reason? This is a safe space, readers. Do share your thoughts. And while you’re sharing your thoughts, I will give you permission to visit that mom and pop coffee shop around the corner for a quick cup of joe.