Dear Howard Schultz & Starbucks…

On January 6, 2014

Dear Howard Schultz & Starbucks…

6 out of 7 days a week I buy a Grande Decaf coffee with no room from you.  I love to pull out my credit card & happily pay you $2.08 for this beverage.

I’m writing you this letter because of what your company means to me.  As a fellow business owner, I know you are under pressure from customers & shareholders to produce.  I wanted to share the 5 ways your company makes a difference in my daily life.  There are 5 things present in every one of your stores that you need to know about:

1. Hands

I want to thank every Starbucks team member that uses their hands not just to serve coffee, but to serve people.  You guys are the front lines & you consistently deliver amazing service.  I know you may think you are serving coffee, but you aren’t.  You are serving people.  You are an amazing tribe of smiling people that craft some of the world’s finest beverages for us to enjoy.

Thank you for serving so well!

2. Chairs 

For $2.08 you provide me a chair to sit in.  These aren’t just any chairs though… These chairs are where some of the most valuable conversations of my life have happened.  When my wife & I were dating, these chairs were where we sat & dreamed about the future.  These chairs are where my six year old daughter, Darby, loves to tell me about life & school on our dates.  These chairs are where I’ve made some of my best friends in the world.

Thank you for providing the seats where life happens!

3. Tables

Just about everyday, I sit at one of your tables & create something.  Right now, I’m creating this post on one of these tables.  Over the last few years, I’ve created a few businesses on these tables.  The tables you provide don’t just hold drinks, they hold dreams.  Some of the most significant moments of my life came sitting here writing or typing something that would change another person’s life.

Thank you for providing dream tables!

4. Art

I come to your store because of the environment.  You have created a place I want to be.  I want to thank you for having amazing art & colors.  It’s amazing to be able to pay $2.08 & sit in a place that cost you hundreds of thousands to create & perfect.  Whoever designs the stores & picks the colors, thank you.  You might think you are just designing a store, but you are really designing the place where life change happens.  So many significant relationships happen because you create a place people want to be! Wow!  It’s just awesome!

Thank you for providing amazing art!

5. Relationships

I’ve made so many friends in your stores.  I can’t tell you how many people I am now friends with because I run into them at Starbucks.  It’s incredible.  I’ve also met my lawyer, accountant, & insurance agent at your stores.  Your stores provide the backdrop for professional & personal relationships.

Thank you for providing the environment for relationships to blossom!

In closing, I would like to personally thank every barista that makes the drinks perfect every time.  You matter.  You are the ones that create this home away from home for me.  Next time you deal with a nasty customer, whip this little note out & be reminded that there is always one guy on your side!  You. Are. Awesome!

This is the best $2.08 I’ve ever spent in my life.

Your Raving Fan,

Casey Graham

 

  • By caseygraham  56 Comments   1

    56 Comments

    Posted by Melody O. on
    • Jan 6 2014
    Reply  
    That is really beautifully written! I definitely will share this. For me, it is the relationships with Starbucks partners that I find so amazing. There are amazingly kind and talented people wearing green aprons.
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Thanks Melody, I appreciate you people in green aprons!
    Posted by drea on
    • Jan 6 2014
    Reply  
    Hello Casey - one of my fellow Starbucks partners sent this to myself and some other barista pals to show us how we are able to make a difference in other peoples' lives. I hope you know that it is gestures like yours that help to keep us motivated and energized (besides the caffeine, of course!)...I've been with the company for over 6 years now, and it is our culture and our customers that have compelled me to continue my work at Starbucks. Thank you so much for your article....most sincerely, drea and the baristas of store #9956.
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Drea, you are one motivated person. Thank you for working for 6 years & I totally appreciate you!
    Posted by dylanmaustin on
    • Jan 6 2014
    Reply  
    This is what we call, "The Third Place." I love your article. It makes me happy to be a partner.
      Posted by Peter Ramsing on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      I'm with Dylan on this one. I'm proud to be apart of your Third Place. I'm proud to brew you coffee and I'm proud to say "Hello, how are you doing today?". Thank you for your words.
        Posted by Casey Graham on
        • Jan 7 2014
        Reply  
        Thanks Dylan for creating the Third place. It is real for me! I appreciate it!
    Posted by Brian Cruz on
    • Jan 6 2014
    Reply  
    Casey, Thanks for the kind and thoughtful words you used to illustrate our job description as partners. I just celebrated 10 years with the amazing company you so eloquently praised. I am humbled and honored to be one of the baristas who take care of such incredible guests such as yourself and all of Starbucks' family and friends. Thanks a latte and have a grande, Brian Cruz #14437 Battleground North Greensboro, NC
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Thanks for investing 10 years of your life with Starbucks. What you do has made a difference in my life!
    Posted by Colleen Adele on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    Yep.......
    Posted by Trudi Taylor Krupocki on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    Dear Casey, When reading this I actually teared up because your words resinate well with me. Starbucks has played a significant role in my life as well. I was the place where as my daughter grew up her and I had many heart to hearts, the place her and I were when we received the news that my husband and her dad had died, the only place for quite a while I could manage to drag myself out of bed to and sit while I was still grieving the loss of him , the place where I even worked as a barista for a short time, and then eventually the place where I would sit and talk with the new man in my life for hours. ( now my husband) The people at Starbucks became my friends and I am truly thankful for them and for Starbucks providing such a special place that will always be close to my heart. Thank you for sharing your letter.
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Wow Trudi, this was a moving story. Thank you for sharing. Those are some heavy things that happened! However, I agree that starbucks provides an amazing back drop for some of lives greatest conversations.
    Posted by Brock Cattanach on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    As the husband of a Starbucks barista who pours her heart, soul, smile and most beautiful cheerful nature into every drink and customer she encounters, I know this post means a lot......I just wish Howard Schultz would share a little more of his cheerful corporate profits with the front-line people that play such an enormous role in making his company what it is.....the level of professionalism and pressure that she and the rest of her Starbucks peers are expected to perform to is definitely not reflected in the hourly rate of pay they receive.....Come on Howard, how about sharing a little more of the green your people all wear so well!
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Brock, I can see where you are coming from. I'm sorry you feel this way! I just want to thank you & your spouse for making the great experience happen. I would ask for a raise :)
        Posted by Carolann Caruso-Taylor on
        • Jan 9 2014
        Reply  
        Casey as a Barista at Starbucks for 7 years we get paid well. Maybe not great depending on the minimum wage for the state you live in. But me I'm doing fine. I have friends I work with. I have friends who are customers, I even have some of their phone numbers. We miss them when they go away and don't tell us!It's kind of like the Hotel California, you can check out but never leave. I digress, we get an hourly wage, a discount on all our purchases. Free coffee or tea each week. Tips divided up, given by our customers. Health care, Bean Stock in Our Company and so very much more. Life is not all about the money. But Starbucks does offer help to those in need. Just my two cents worth! Hugs, Carolann
    Posted by Julie on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    As a barista at Starbucks for the last 8 years, it is my pleasure to serve each and every person who walks in our doors. It is an honor and privilege to serve. Thank you for your kind words.
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Julie, you are the reason I enjoy starbucks so much. I truly do appreciate what you do. Thanks!
    Posted by Debra Winslow Stewart on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    I agree whole heartedly. I meet with my father three times a week for coffee and to hash out the world's woes. He is 83. Those chairs, the coffee, and staff mean a lot to us. We've become very close. Starbucks made it happen. Thank you!
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Whoa, this is awesome Debra! Thanks for sharing. What do you talk about most with dad?
    Posted by Michelle Fedorchuk on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    I came back to Starbucks because of the spirit described here. Thank you, Casey Graham, for loving on us baristas!
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Hey Michelle, Thanks for coming back. You make the experience happen & I appreciate it.
    Posted by elizabeth on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    I am a current partner. I just came home from work and one of my partners shared this with 13 of us who work at our store. aw, i love how this is written! makes me realize how much i love my job,its a wonderful place and i have established many friendships and i as well have met so many beautiful people! thank you. thank you for writing this .
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 7 2014
      Reply  
      Elizabeth, THANK YOU! You are the one that makes the difference. I appreciate you & your comment. Means a lot that you would leave one. Where do you serve? Which part of the country?
        Posted by elizabeth on
        • Jan 7 2014
        Reply  
        North Eastern Wisconsin! Which area of the country do you tend to visit for your weekly starbucks coffee times?
    Posted by Casey Graham on
    • Jan 7 2014
    Reply  
    Awesome! Love the "sports" part Debra. :)
    Posted by Marissa Victoria Ruffino on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    I must say thank you. I have dealt with so many nasty customers it's ridiculous. I can say "Hey, how are you today?" and they'll just say their order. It's people like yourself who make me enjoy going to Starbucks and putting on that apron and serving you. It really is a great place to grow, learn, enjoy company and meet wonderful people! I have made friends with not only partners, but customers as well. Some of these people live five minutes away from me and I would have never thought to say hello. A simple greeting moves us that much closer to being acquaintances. I hope you have a great day, and I'm sure the partners that serve you are more than happy to, as would I.
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 8 2014
      Reply  
      Nasty customers are NOT FUN! Thank you so much for not letting them ruin your day. I'm your biggest fan & I 100% appreciate you.
    Posted by Jessica H. on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    I can't even begin to say how much I love this. My three year anniversary with Starbucks is only a couple weeks away and these past three years I have met so many wonderful people and have made lifelong friends. The job gets stressful and downright frustrating sometimes but it's kind words like these from kind people that keep me going.
      Posted by Casey Graham on
      • Jan 8 2014
      Reply  
      Hey Jessica! I know the job gets stressful at times but you are doing a great job serving people & I apprecaite it! Which district do you serve in?
    Posted by Sammi Deem on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    Casey, First and foremost thank you. After a long day in a very cold drive thru window this is exactly what I needed to see. I also appreciate the conversation you have created here because you have reminded me how being a partner means belonging to this large, diverse, and unique family of fellow partners and customers who fill my life with so many good things. It is people like you who make me love my job. Finally, it is incredibly impressive that you have not only taken the time to write this post but responded to every comment on here. Again, thank you. Sammi
    Posted by amir on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    fine kind words but in reality, the coffee is really expensive
      Posted by Victoria Fazekas Fassano on
      • Jan 8 2014
      Reply  
      Amir - It is not simple a coffee you are purchasing. It is the envirnmonment, it is the the manager's salary, it is health insurance for full time associates, it is training programs, as well as a quality product. As someone who works in foodservice for 30+ years it is so frustrating for me for people not to see the connection between paying a price for something when out and what you can produce it for at home. If you want an inexpensive cup of coffee sir, buy cheap beans and brew them at home or go to 7-11. I am happy to support fair trade & organic growers and enjoy my premium cups at Starbuck's & Peet's.
        Posted by amir on
        • Jan 14 2014
        Reply  
        branded coffee such as nescafe is not a cheap coffee. why we will buy expensive when there is MORE practical way to save our hard earned money?
    Posted by Susan Hampson on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    I couldn't agree more. I spend a little more than $2.08 and sometimes it gets tough to pay, but getting my coffee each morning and being greeted by smiling faces just starts the day off right!
    Posted by Amy Walters on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    I have been a partner at Starbucks for 12 years. It is because of stories like this that I am still here. Not every day is amazing but when you serve a customer that truely appreciates what we do it makes it all worth it. Thank you Casey for sharing your story!
    Posted by Erica Sharp on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    Casey and to all of our customers out there. I Thank you for your complements I can not speak for my fellow baristas but I am sure they thank you also . Reading your article today has warmed my heart. As a 7 year Barista, I've seen, heard and felt may things working for Starbucks. your words mean the world!!
    Posted by Casey Graham on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    @ameliabeks:disqus I LOVE the red cups too... They are starting to go away now... boooooooo
    Posted by Kaylie on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    I worked for Starbucks for almost 7 years. It was one of the best jobs I've ever had, and things like this remind me how much I miss being a Partner. Simple gestures like this post can make a world of difference in a barista's day!
    Posted by Cindy on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    Thank you Casey, for putting in to words the way I feel about my daily visit to Starbucks!!! The coffee is awesome, but I get so much more from my daily visits there. I have made so many friends, had the most amazing conversations with strangers whom by the time we finish I feel as though I have known them a lot longer then a few minutes. At my local Starbucks there is a group of Senior men that sit at the same table every morning. When I walk in the door they just make my day, just by the smiles and conversation I have with them. The barista's and I are on first name bases and I love the way they know exactly what I drink and ask, "your usual today"... So thank you again, Casey for your awesome letter, it reminds me of all the reasons I go there everyday!!!
    Posted by brian price on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    My fiancé and I met for a face to face for the first time at a Starbucks. We had been talking on Match.com for a week or two and decided to actually meet before we spent too much time on this. We met, stood in line together for a minute or so, then ordered. E ordered a coffee. They said "Sorry we don't have any". We both looked at each other and laughed - E said "Where are we? Starbucks?" Much laughing. Turns out their machine was broken….after ordering espresso based drinks we sat down and began talking. We discovered that we had met the year before. I had bought her parents house - and they had invited me to their holiday open house in their new place. E was there - and we were introduced - and she game me a tour of the new house her parents had bought, and flirted with me a bit. I thought she was married, so pretty much shined her on. I was mistaken. Thankfully, Starbucks offered us the opportunity to meet again - and fall in love, and get married. Thanks Starbucks - was one of the best $5 dates I've ever had.
      Posted by Rachel Cosio on
      • Jan 9 2014
      Reply  
      I love this story!!!! Thanks for sharing it, so awesome!
    Posted by Tim Reed on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    favorite reason i love being a partner :) #10240
    Posted by Kim Conrad on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    Thank you, Casey Graham, for making the hard working staff at every Starbuck's day! How great is it that with one simple gesture YOU can touch so many people. I do not work at Starbucks but I will now think about your Thank You note every time I enter any ANY service establishment. And I will now be grateful for things that I may not have noticed or thanked others for.
    Posted by Judy Schell on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    What a wonderful letter, sums up 100% how I feel about the awesome Barista's at my local Starbucks in Crestview, Florida. When you live somewhere due to military retirement or being active duty with no family around, these people make you FEEL like their extended family! That is why I love them all. They take the time to KNOW your name and your drink, that is worth every penny I pay!
    Posted by Mary Glaviana on
    • Jan 8 2014
    Reply  
    My sister has worked and is still working for Starbucks. We get to share in some of her wonderful stories about how she mentors several people. She truly has a Starbucks family.
    Posted by Molly Pishue on
    • Jan 9 2014
    Reply  
    this is amazing! I shared it with my 43 green aprons I manage in Lake Stevens, WA! I have been with Starbucks for 18 years and your words thoughts and inspiration are exactly why! Thank you for sharing and thank you for being such a wonderful thoughtful customer you are why we do what we do! store #3215 & #3303
    Posted by Dann Raymond Lintag on
    • Jan 9 2014
    Reply  
    thank you Casey Graham for this nice read! I used to be a barista in Starbucks Philippines, and i met my fiance at our store (she was our regular customer) I am happy that because of Starbucks, I met my dream wife.. by the way, we're tying the knot this May 1, 2014.. =)
    Posted by Dann Raymond Lintag on
    • Jan 9 2014
    Reply  
    thank you Casey Graham for this nice read! I used to be a barista at Starbucks here in the Philippines. I met my fiance at Starbucks (she was our regular customer) I'd like to say that I am happy that because of starbucks, I met my dream wife... by the way, we're tying the knot this May 1, 2014 =)
    Posted by Daybel M. Vasquez on
    • Jan 9 2014
    Reply  
    I am a partner in NYC, you can imagine the amount of rude people and tourists we get on a daily basis. Its my regulars and those amazing first timers and kids that make it all worth it... I have been in the company and the same store for five years , I have seen kids and families grow...from moms who were pregnant when I met them to their five year olds ordering their own drinks now. I have made the most amazing relationships . I feel like they are my second family. I am getting married and I met my florist, my event planner and my wedding gown designer here. Half my guestlist contains my customers. Starbucks truly is a life changing experience! !
    Posted by Casey Chen on
    • Jan 9 2014
    Reply  
    I love this! Admittedly, I don't go into Starbucks too often, but what you wrote seems to put the normal, run-of-the-mill, get my coffee and get out, into a different light. I never thought of tables like that, but what you said about it can actually be very true in many cases. Question, though, what do you get for $2.08? What I get is usually $3.50+.
      Posted by Alyssa Corbin on
      • Jan 10 2014
      Reply  
      His order is a different price where I am too, but it's usually the difference in tax rates based on where you live.
    Posted by Mauria Folger on
    • Jan 10 2014
    Reply  
    Hey Casey, I would like to share with you what Starbucks means to me as well. Starbucks in Newport is where I worked through college. It is also where my husband and I met for the first time. When I made the decision to leave teaching after eight years it was at one of those tables. It was Starbucks Newport that took me back into the world of baristas. I have never been happier than I am now with my career choice. Do I make as much as I was teaching no, but I meet so many amazing people. After being back for two years I realize how important Starbucks is to many people because we really are more than coffee. We are a community and a family- one that includes customers and baristas both. Thank you for your wonderful words. They make me proud of myself and all the baristas out there who work so hard to make each Starbucks a place where people can feel like part of a family.
    Posted by Alyssa Corbin on
    • Jan 10 2014
    Reply  
    Thank you for your thank you! I am a barista at a store in a well-to-do area and we are lucky if we get a response to a cheerful "hey, how are you" other than that customer's drink order. My store manager printed and posted this in our backroom and it made my day. :-)
    Posted by Alana Justine on
    • Jan 11 2014
    Reply  
    Casey - As the mother of a barista, and friend to many of her partners... I would like to say... I appreciate the time & thought you put into this 'letter'. Also, I believe I most important paragraph is "In closing, I would like to personally thank every barista that makes the drinks perfect every time. You matter. You are the ones that create this home away from home for me. Next time you deal with a nasty customer, whip this little note out & be reminded that there is always one guy on your side! You. Are. Awesome!" Those ladies & gents are truly awesome. I have, on more than just a couple of occasions, overheard nasty customer comments/complaints... and I bite my tongue, since I don't want to risk my child's job. Really, I wish some of the people knew how hard those baristas work, how difficult it is at times to call the drink with a smile on their face, etc. I would like to print this letter... and hand it to each of those who complaint, just for the sake of complaining. I would like to print this letter... and hand it to each of those who complaint, just for the sake of complaining.
    Posted by Robin on
    • Jan 12 2014
    Reply  
    I would also like to commend the wonderful Baristas that I have met over the years and grown to become friends. I am always happy for any of them when they graduate from college and move on to bigger things, yet miss them when they go. I love Starbucks Coffee and enjoy relaxing in the stores.

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