A tweet from @JGoldsborough caught my eye:  a new video is hitting Youtube “The Starbucks Rant Song” by Starbucks employee, ex-employee, Chris Sizle.   

This isn’t the first rant that I’ve heard from a Starbucks employee [blog post ‘To all you silly, sad caffeine addicts”], which was posted on Starbucks’ Facebook page in 2009 and later removed likely by the employee as Facebook identifies first & last name.  

What if there is a real issue with the treatment of Starbucks employees.  It would have to go beyond ordering a fancy drink (that’s me) or having noisy kids (me again) but I was struck with how similar this rant was to the rant I noticed in June 2009.    Which left me thinking – is there possibly an issue with how Starbucks employees are treated at large?  Are they treated poorly?  (and as a person who has personally funded many a starbucks operation – I wondered in concern for my fellow barristas and if there is authenticity in the relationships I think I have).  


What is the best way to handle this video?  Firing the employee is the obvious and traditional response – maybe deserved since the rant is beyond ‘healthy dissatisfaction’.   But it also seems like shoving an issue under carpet.  What if Starbucks acknowledged the issue (if exist).  What if the response was to have an employee idea jam or appoint the disgrunted employee into fixing the situation.  What if this video was a conversation starter – that at 600K views and growing – it was beyond denying and worth discussing?

I also wondered how many brands could have an honest conversation with their customers about hardships to staff.   I say this suspecting many customers may not want to hear about it.. I don’t know.  I certainly would be open to hearing what employees think is the cause of purported rude customers.  Is it heavy repetition of drink orders?  Weak ties to local communities?  And has our greater social consciousness and willingness for authentic relationships readied the public for such a discussions with brands?

Beyond being a great singer.. I do wonder about Chris and if he is justified somehow in his rant.  I can say that I’m not yet sure what the appropriate response should be for today’s social brand.   I’ll watch this one for a bit.  Notable is that Chris’ rant is now available on itunes..

2 thoughts on “@Starbucks – what if you defended your employee? #starbucksrant

    1. Agree – I was noodling this around a lot last night. I was lucky to have a lot of internal employee collaboration tools at IBM when I was there – and idea jams, internal firewall protected blogs, detailed profiling was all part of this. IBM specifically did a global jam on key employee topics and – as you suggested in your excellent post – this helps diffuse matters. It also brings better accountability to the employee for their own rants..

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