business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding Howard Schultz’s departure from Starbucks, one MNB reader wrote:

I think Schultz has timed his departure to miss all the blowback from excessive growth and Philadelphia. Following up with price increases some people will no longer remain loyal. A perfect time for Peet’s and others to take advantage of a possible tough time ahead.

From another reader:

In addition to the problems Starbucks is facing with a “potential over stored” marketplace, they deem it necessary to raise the price of coffee AGAIN! I have been a loyal Starbucks coffee drinker for many years but they are approaching my point of resistance.

Aside from too many stores, they are having problems (as are many retailers) hiring good people.

And at $2 + dollars a cup for 12oz of coffee the coffee at a minimum should be fresh!  Starbucks has a timer designated by a red light, used on each urn that blinks when the coffee is past their standard and a fresh urn needs to be brewed.  Yet, time and again, (especially in the afternoon) the red lights are blinking and the barista is tilting the urn trying to get the last drop of coffee.

Good to the last drop may have worked for Maxwell House but if Starbucks wants to revive afternoon coffee sales – offer fresh coffee!

On Friday, we reported the breaking news of the death by suicide of Anthony Bourdain, 61, the chef turned “Kitchen Confidential” author who then became a television fixture with series that traveled the world and celebrating cultures and cuisines; most recently, he was working on the CNN series, "Parts Unknown,” and he was on location in France working on an episode at the time of his death.

We noted that Bourdain’s death came just days after the suicide of designer Kate Spade at age 55, who was said to have long dealt with severe bouts of depression.

I commented:

CNN notes that “the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday showing suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.”

That’s extraordinary. And terribly sad.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Or, you can click here.

One MNB reader responded:

I have read your Blog for seems like 20 years and never commented but thank you for your view on the death of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.  Mental illness carries a stigma that causes many people to be reserved about talking about it.  I have battled some mental illness in my past and I am not shy about talking about it now, to me it is just like a bum knee or having the cold, it is an illness.  So thank you for bringing up a subject that most want to ignore, hopefully your comments will help someone who is have suicidal thoughts.  Keep up the good work.

Almost every family has experience with someone who has committed suicide, or tried to. It gets more headlines when celebrities commit suicide, and that’s probably a good thing; while experts do worry about a contagion, calls to suicide help lines also go up in the wake of such a reported event.

But one of the more heartbreaking funerals I’ve ever been to was of a young teenaged boy who had taken his own life; we didn’t know the young man, but he was the nephew of good friends of ours, and we wanted to show our support in a difficult time.

His older sister totally blew the place away with her eulogy for her brother, noting at one point that depression is both a liar and a thief - it lies to you that things will never get better, and then it steals your future. I’ll never forget her, or those words, and it was one of the first things I thought about when the Bourdain news broke last Friday.

I’ll say it again:

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Or, you can click here.

Take care.
KC's View: