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The Decline of a Once Beloved Starbucks Corporation

By Heather Elizabeth Pielke, Member of the Republican Women of Baltimore County

I first began enjoying coffee and espresso drinks regularly at Starbucks in my twenties, as a young college educated professional with a B.A. in Psychology and Art History from Johns Hopkins University class of 2000. As a lighthearted, cultured, intellectual with a love my old European, American family heritage, both royal, common, and early American colonial. All this shaped my nationality, family belief and traditions. Starbucks was a place to love the rich flavor of coffee, croissants, baked goods, and fresh fruits, representing my genuine love of the European café concept, meets American Corporate style. This year, I will turn forty-five and have begun reflecting on the unfavorable change over the last ten years, as I continued to purchase my usual morning coffee, espresso beverages and mostly breakfast baked goods. My still honored Starbucks Gold Level Membership card, marked member since 2012, is gold in appearance and memory and slightly worn and faded, as has become the quality of the experience of Starbucks.

I have been a regular at three local Starbucks, Towson, Timonium, and Cockeysville near to where I live and work, as a consultant, as well as side gig Opened in 2001, the year after I graduated from college, selling art, antiques, rare books, vintage clothing and accessories online through my website, auction houses, and quality consignment shops. These Starbucks locations have decreased in quality of customer service over the last twenty years. Twenty to forty-something successful professionals seem to be less the norm in terms of those who usually stay to enjoy their coffee at Starbucks, in the mostly affluent and middle-class area in which I live and work.

Opening drive-through Starbucks in this area appears to have increased steadily. Happily, this provided me with a private way to enjoy my coffee and breakfast, instead of experiencing declining employee politeness.

Shocker - Recently an unusual question was asked of me by the cashier at the Starbucks drive through window. I Regularly pay both with either a credit card or cash. Yet, suddenly, this cashier questioned me suspiciously as to why I was paying in cash. In both the United States and Great Britain there are many people protesting businesses who only want credit card payments. For the following two key reasons many people are concerned: First, cash should be honored in case of internet payment processing technical difficulties, and second, and much more seriously, FRAUD.

Economic fact 1: There is no one mathematical equation to use to calculate a stock price

Economic fact 2. Speculation can affect stock value legally so, given the persons responsible for valuing stocks may have more or less hope given published reports of new and existing businesses a publicly traded corporation might have for having a more or less prosperous future, hence speculation effects the potential over, under, or accurate valuation of a stock price per unit

Economic fact 3: People who purchase stock based on financial reports about publicly traded companies or who have a stock broker purchase stock for them at stock brokerages based on published financial reports can affect the accuracy of the valuation of a stock if people choose to buy stock shares based on undue hope of the prosperity of that corporation or its stock value, for this reason a stock can become unduly overvalued. Conversely, if people sell stock holdings from a corporation based on their own undue interpretation of a corporation or its stock value potential performing badly, then when stock is sold in a large number of units or stock shares, even a viable corporation can lose stock value unduly.

Economic fact 4: Only stock trading based on published financial reports is legal, otherwise such stock trading is illegal and marked "insider trading" as the nature of a publicly traded corporation must by law be accountable to the public, including but not limited to those who buy and sell stock of publicly traded corporations.

Fraud includes false valuations of corporate stocks, digital currency investment companies fraudulently generating currency that is not real and/or based on the real value of the US dollar. This kind of financial fraud devalues the dollar. Also, fraudulent currency when deposited in banks, borrows against the bank in accounts with fraudulent currency generating interest, against banking and the banking safety of those with real legally earned money. In addition, could cost corporately owned and small privately owned banks their savings based on interest payments to interest bearing checking and savings accounts garnering interest unduly.

I noticed a few years ago that Starbucks began issuing credit cards not just for use at Starbucks but at any store, for use as a regular credit card. I wondered at the time: why would Starbucks be operating as a bank issuing a Starbucks credit card? I encourage Starbucks to honor cash payments, value the US dollar and hope that Starbucks will no longer act, in part, as a bank issuing credit cards. I also hope Starbucks financial statement is genuinely sound, and I hope that Starbucks is not in the business of encouraging debt spending or funding any of Starbucks own corporate operations through bank loan debt unethically. The concept of devaluation of the US dollar, financial fraud, and the encouragement of debt can lead to inflation, with rising prices for consumers.

According to the Financial Times newspaper, in an article titled “Corporate America is Over Caffeinated,” (September 8, 2019, accessible directly on the Financial Times website, at: Starbucks does not have a good financial statement due to long term fluctuating decreases in annual profits at Starbucks and long-term increased debt funding of their corporate operations.

The United States of America’s Federal Government should investigate Starbucks for the significance of crimes committed by Starbucks employees against Starbucks customers, as Starbucks own corporate 2022 financial report (accessible directly online on own corporate website at: documented as a current issue that has been affecting Starbucks revenues in the Starbucks 2022 official corporate FY22 Annual Report, stated: “The impact of such incidents may be exacerbated if they receive considerable publicity, including rapidly through social or digital media ...or result in litigation.”

The United States Federal government should also investigate Starbucks for potentially significant financial crimes against Starbucks stockholders, who may have been defrauded by the overvaluation of Starbucks stock by Starbucks Corporation. Starbucks has had a decreasing profit projections since 2008, as documented in the Financial Times, “The Starbucks Romantic” published November 11, 2008 Even though in 2008 Starbucks presented its prospects as hopeful, this article stated in 2007 “Wall Street worried that [Starbucks] had run out of room for further expansion in the US”. In this November 11,2008 article, the Financial Times reported the first ever decline in customers visiting US stores” and Wall Street indicated in the article, there might not be future consumer interest in Starbucks products including “cinnamon dolce Frappuccino.”

There are significant published financial reports that Starbucks struggles to earn yearly profits with many internal business problems as listed in their own “Starbucks Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Annual Report.” Also, due to laws over corporate governance published its financial report for Starbucks employees’ mistreatment of customers including an indication from that very same report that Starbucks has faced or may be facing litigation for its employee's behavior, which indicates that customer service at Starbucks has not only simply declined, but may be in a number of cases criminal in nature and legally prosecutable.

The concept of devaluation of the US dollar, inflation, financial fraud, and the encouragement of debt are not principles of traditional old-world Europe or old-world America, in which integrity, quality, and conservation are good cultural values and economic practices. I certainly hope that Starbucks will remain true to its original, culturally rich love of old European, American café concepts, as flavor of coffee itself denotes and should remain true to the traditional values and ethics that historically represent the standards of economically trustworthy traditions that originally matched the Starbucks gourmet coffee shop concept.

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