Dear Starbucks, Customer Service, To WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Excuse me for writing this long letter because but I know you are very busy and there are many other customers with many other complaints. I am concerned about the compatibility of your mission statement and your service environment. In your mission statement you articulated that Starbucks is an environment that fosters community development and socialization. I would suspect that very characteristic appealed to the Parkchester Condominium authorities as they granted you the license to operate here. It is the case that in fundamental ways you have not adhered to your mission statement. Consequently, this has resulted in the deterioration in my community’s portfolio and standard of living. Currently, there is no separation between the fast-food service of good ole Popeyes up the street and your service two blocks below, past Macys, in front of Dunkin Donuts, which now has chairs for people to sit and scratch their ankles. However, there are clearly service differences when we consider the reliability of your service in Manhattan localities. Specifically, I allude to your promise of Internet access to customers.
I have lived in Parkchester for many years. My Gold Card is more than five years old, not to mention the many Starbucks cards that preceded it. There should be no question about my status as a loyal customer who spends very often with your company. The least I/we of Parkchester ask is that you treat us like you consider the people in Manhattan. The Internet service in your store, hosted by the legendary AT&T, has been very inconsistent for the last two years. When it works, it moves like a snail trying to find its way on a concrete floor. This is even the case when only two persons are in the store as customers. Why is this not happening in Manhattan stores I/we wonder (we—given that more and more customers are becoming outrage about this)? But the more troubling question is—why has this lack of service fulfillment been allowed to continue for so long?
We might not have a lot of cultural privilege like that distributed to the people in Manhattan, but this community of Asians, Blacks, and Latinos, native and immigrant peoples, would like a coffee house where we can visit and use the Internet and enjoy the coffee house experience. It wouldn’t surprise you to know that we do use the Internet to read in Parkchester. We are just as curious as the people in Manhattan. Of course, some of us are loud, just like the people in Manhattan; but most of us know how to sit down, sip coffee, cross our legs, bite into organic cookies, speak quietly, and whisper our giggles like folk with years of coffee house experience.
By the way, I should inform you that we are one of the best Bronx neighbors according to several evaluators who write for papers. Don’t worry! Those papers are published in Manhattan. It shouldn’t surprise you that many white folks are now moving to Parkchester. Uh-huh, our community is now making the gentrification ranking. That is good news, since we are all about ethnic diversity over here. If you don’t take all my concerns thus far seriously, I hope you will give some weight to the gentrification note and step up your Internet service so that, at the very least, the new comers will be satisfied. Indeed, having Internet access is a privilege of your service, you will say. Not a customer’s right, I know that. But it is the very privilege you use to market your service, the very privilege you use to expand yourself wider than plantations, the very privilege I’m sure other companies covet and would be happy to fill the space and recognize Parkchester’s communal ambitions.
Additionally, lately the store has been very uncomfortable. Benches lay all about without a table. Lying about empty or even when occupied, they make the place feel like a traffic jam. One has to sometimes tiptoe when going to one corner of the store, hoping they won’t bump into a bench and spill Chi Tea Latte on some customer’s neck. Is your ambition to deliver sophistication in the Bronx or are you hoping to take Parkchester backwards, intending to deliver a street cart coffee service? In the last two weeks, luckily, we notice that your head office sent us a new table. For months the other benches had just laid about, waiting to be served with tables just like we have been waiting to be served with proper Internet service. What is happening to our store I wonder? What is this doing to our community and property values?
And is it corporate store policy that the bathroom should be closed every night at 10 p.m. (not 11) because very polite staff are in a rush to go home? Are you paying them enough so they won’t have to be in a rush to close the service on us before closing times? These days, any time after 10 p.m., I have to get up and go up the road and use the Popeye’s bathroom, and then come back down, tiptoe on the wet floor (I don’t want to break my back because pain comes back to haunt in old age), and get back to my reading. Such customer labor in a space that prides itself on service! Is it now store policy for staff to start mopping the floor half hour before closing though customers are still enjoying the service?
I seek a response to all my concerns; because I’m mostly concerned about evaluating your service’s contribution upon the lives of good people in our community. We want to know if you intend to keep serving us in the store; or are you slowly pushing us out on the street to wait in lines by a counter (slow corporate strategy?)? Most of us don’t want to move to Manhattan, because Manhattan doesn’t want us during the hours when we aren’t on its wage clock, and because Parkchester has some of the cleanest streets and some of the warmest people in New York City.
By the way, to ensure that you do not render this concern continuously invisible, I will send a copy of my letter to your customer service contact form, and I will add it to my website, and I will tweet it to your Twitter address and AT&T’s. I hope you are not upset at me for complaining. It’s nothing personal against your corporation; it’s just that we want you to see us as persons here.
Hoping for a resolution,
Bronx, NY 10462