business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Mari Johnson about our story regarding the growth of email-driven sales during the holidays:

Email marketing was noticeably excessive and extremely annoying! Caused me to unsubscribe from many retail emails...overwhelming! Many of the unsubscribe links aren't working or they have an extremely long delay before you are removed....very frustrating!

MNB reader Tony Bartys had some thoughts about our story looking at Starbucks' plans for AI baristas:

As a regular Starbuck’s customer, who still likes to go into the store to order, I am noticing that between the three different ways to place an order, i.e., drive-through, walk-in, and mobile, it is getting difficult for many stores to handle the volume of orders and customers are giving up and walking out or not getting into the drive-through lane because of increasingly long waits.

Additionally, those people that placed the order through their phone and thought that there would be little to no wait are expressing frustration and pressing the baristas for their orders. The box, and in most cases, the parking lots are too small for the volume of business that is occurring, especially during peak times. You might say it’s a nice problem to have, but there are alternatives.

I would suspect that Starbucks is aware of this, since it is a smart retailer, but it is expensive and difficult to carve out more space from the small foot print that most Starbucks occupy. It will be interesting to see how it handles the situation going forward.

We had a story yesterday about the 37-year-old Spokane man who was banned from a local Starbucks after he hit on a 16-year-old female barista. The man has gone on Facebook to complain of ageism in his treatment, saying, "I know the female Starbucks barista was of legal age to date. I broke no laws. I merely took a chance with my heart. I’m tired of hearing the word ‘creep’ as any black person or gay person is tired of hearing certain words. I have a whole webpage dedicated to age gap love."

I commented, in part:

Sixteen may be "legal," but it also means she could've been a high school sophomore - and she ought to be able to work a part-time job without some creep who is more than two decades older hitting on her.

He's lucky it wasn't my daughter. Because my inclination would've been to deal with him myself the next day. (I have a baseball bat that I keep around the house for just such purposes.)

He doesn't want to be called a creep? Then he should stop acting like one.

MNB user Christ Utz wrote:

As the father of a lovely young daughter; I was upset when I read about this self-absorbed jerk, complaining about his rights.  Your view reinforced my gut reaction of how to deal with that clown; best to let the police handle it though…

From another reader:

We’ve had to ban customers from our stores over the years for exactly this behavior. Luckily, for them, no police were involved. Our 300 lb., 6 ft. plus operations manager simply talks to them. He has daughters - he knows what to say. A creep is a creep.

And from another:

Being the father of 2 daughters (and a son who was brought up knowing how to treat women), I can identify with the baseball bat.  I used that as well as my nail gun as emphasis a couple of times while my daughters were growing up.

An engaged Father is sometimes all you need to get things straightened out.

MNB reader Rob Howard:

You crack me up Kevin...I needed a good chuckle this morning.  I have a daughter as well, and those are my exact sentiments- although I don't think I would have the kahunas to write it out such as you did.  Nicely said!

But MNB reader Ben Kuzma thought I was being hyperbolic:

Unless you’re using inflammatory language to intentionally get “fan mail” you’re starting to sound like Trump.

First of all, I don't have to use inflammatory language to generate email. I get hundreds of emails from readers every week. (Though, to be fair, I wouldn't characterize all of it as "fan" mail. A percentage of it could be described as "you're an idiot" mail.)

Second, I reject the comparison. I was talking about using the threat of a baseball bat to defend my daughter's honor from a creep ... which I think most fathers would do. 

In the end, by the way, I think that Starbucks and the barista probably handled this appropriately - swiftly and legally. I also think that anyone with a teenaged daughter living anywhere near this creep in Spokane ought to be on high alert.
KC's View: