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WARNING: There is a 50% Chance You Will Be Carjacked By A Yuppie Sometime Tonight Between 5:30 and 8:30

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Ah, another glorious, status conscious, conspicuously consuming day. I've spent such a long time typing away on my Macbook Air, and now I'm just about ready to drive home to Beechwood Canyon where I'll spend the evening watching Bravo. Hotcha!

But hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe a stop at Pinkberry for some deliciously monotonous icy sludge would add to the perfection of the day. No, wait! I've got it! I'll cap things off with stale bagels, overproduced music (tailor made for my tool demographic,) and bland coffee that comes with an Appearance Of Upper Middle Class Affluence surcharge of 100%. Looks like it's off to Starbucks!

Now, if I can just parallel park my Mini Cooper correctly and HOLYWHATTHEFUCK IS THAT?

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Caffeine addicts across the United States might have to find themselves an alternate dealer if they need a coffee fix this evening during Starbucks' nationwide timeout.

Whoah whoah whoah. What's this you say? Back up.

The Seattle-based coffee chain is scheduled to close its doors to customers from 5:30 to 8:30-

EVERYBODY PANIC!

This is heavy. The West Side's going to look like Beruit tonight. Gotta do something before someone burns down Bergamont Station!

Okay everybody, calm down!

Think.

Calm down. That's right.

Think.

Okay, now I know how badly you need to buy an over produced Paul McCartney record, like, that one where he kisses at the camera (with badly dyed hair,) even though he's way too old for that*. And Kenny G's latest single. That's critical. Hey! Don't you dare think for a moment that I forgot about that emergency copy of Matchbox Twenty's Exile on Mainstream. I know you've got a date with a Studio Lawyer tonight. It's no problem, no problem at all.

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No, seriously. You can just go to Virgin.

What's that?

Virgin's closed.

Are you shi- Okay, okay, how about Tow-

WHAT? Tower Records too? Jesus, what the hell man?

So why are they doing this?

"...so baristas can convene for an "Art of Espresso" training session, part of a companywide effort to refresh Starbucks' coffee business...

Really? Their Baristas need special training to tell you they can't toast a bagel for you? They need to learn an "art" to make shitty, bland coffee that actually turns whatever your'e wearing into Gap Casual? Who the fuck came up with this? Also, what the hell is a "barista"?

The training is set to take place at nearly 7,100 corporate-operated coffee houses.

Nearly 7,100? Like, with a comma and everything? How nearly? There's an entire city full of status seeking tools about to go three hours without their ventimochalattegrandedouches and you can't even tell them the precise number of places in which they'll have to go without? Good work, journalism. Great job.

So anyway, lest you think the choosey, affluent consumer is the only victim, here's why they're having this really obvious promotional tactic closing their shops down.

As a result, baristas will be better prepared to share their passion and knowledge with customers," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote to company employees in a Feb. 11 communication that carried the ultra-corporate title of "Howard Schultz Transformation Agenda Communication #6."

Now, if this sounds like the work of a World Class Douchebag, you're right:

Schultz, who led Starbucks' invasion of American suburbia as CEO from 1987 to 2000, returned to the company's top job in January. Since Schultz's return, Starbucks has announced plans to shutter about 100 underperforming stores and has laid off about 220 employees from a work force of more than 170,000 people.
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So the pieces fall together - a major corporation in danger of over saturating the market with their substandard alleged "coffee" had to come up with a way to increase sales without diluting the brand name. Obviously, "making better products" or "not selling any more CDs to people who think Rob Thomas is good and thus, should never be allowed to buy music in the first place" was out of the question. Soo they did what companies like this always do: created a mandatory, degrading team building exercise for their wage slaves and then humiliated said employees by announcing their degradation to the entire world.

And you know it's going to work because the culture parasites who swear by Starbucks (and who hilariously actually think they've got a shot with the hipster barista - dream on jackass, she's not your type,) hear stuff like this and automatically assume it's going to make their coffee better. It's sort of like how they parade the whores through the Brothel Lobby, as though someone who pays for sex is going to get annoyed by lousy customer service**. Please.

Anyway, in case you're the sort of person who falls for spontaneous marketing gestures like this, you're SOL, at least until 8 PM tonight. And I've got worse news - there really isn't anything we can do to help.

Photo by visualpanic via Flickr

*Not that there's anything otherwise wrong with macca. He is a god.
**This isn't a dis to the whores. They're hard working people. But they're already having sex for money. Is it really neccesary to humiliate them further? I think not.