CompUSA stores all closed?  Good riddance.  Circuit City stores all closing?  Doesn’t bother me – much.  (If Best Buy all closed, now that would make me sweat.)  Home Depot’s EXPO stores closing down?  Ok, that disturbs me a bit, but I’m okay as long as HGTV is still broadcasting.  

But Starbucks closing 300 more stores, on top of the 600 stores it already has closed?   Something is terribly, terribly wrong.  *Gulp*

These stores will be closed by the end of the 2009 fiscal year.  No word where Starbucks plan to close stores.  Starbucks also plans on cutting back the number of stores it opens across the USA and internationally.

Stay tuned for a complete list of all 300 stores.  

Now I gotta go and stock my bomb shelter with even more frap bottles.  The end of the world is coming … (Not!)

(Thanks, Starbucks Gossip.  May you blog on!)

Starbucks has brought back a “signature” chocolate drink.  But instead of the decadent Chantico that it stopped selling in 2006, Starbucks is rolling out a hot chocolate drink that’s made from four different cocoa berries and is more “chocolate” than “milk.”  One variety comes with French sea salt, blended with Hawaiian Turbinado sugar, sprinkled on top of whipped cream.  Sounds intriguing.  It is being released today, so let me know if you’ve got a chance to try this out!

Starbucks has also begun to sell several new breakfast food.  I had the oatmeal with three different topping choices (almonds, dried fruit, and brown sugar) last week and loved it.  In fact, the oatmeal is surprisingly Starbucks’s most successful food release to date.  

Starbucks also released the Piadini today – a square pastry sandwich with folded corners that come in two flavors: spinach with portabello mushrooms and ricotta cheese, or sausage, egg, and cheese.  I had the spinach Piadini this morning.  My honeybear and I actually shared one, and I’m glad we did because it’s yummy if a bit rich.

I already blogged about the Vivanno smoothie drinks.  YUCK.  I’d much druther a Peanut Power smoothie from Smoothie King.

Vivanno Does Not Have Vive

August 22, 2008

I succumbed to the hype and tried a Banana Chocolate Vivanno (with a shot of espresso) from Starbucks.

In one word: BLEH.

I didn’t like it. It was too creamy (maybe the barista ran the blender too long) yet too thin, and didn’t feel good going down the tubes. I didn’t feel like it had much inside it except a lot of air and some flavored powder, but I’m certain I’m wrong – I hope.

In another word: it sucks.  (Ok, two words.)

I ain’t gonna buy the Vivanno again.

Smoothie King is still tops in my estimation, especially its peanut power smoothie – sinful YUM in spite of its oodles of calories, fat, etc. I have yet to try anything from Robeks, which some of my friends rave about.  Maybe for lunch today, hmm.

… Starbucks will now sell any iced grande drink for $2 after 2pm to any customer who brings a receipt of a drink purchased that morning.

Ok, that sounds a bit convoluted. Let me try again.

If you buy a drink from Starbucks before noon, save your receipt. Because if you come back after 2pm the same day and present that receipt, you can order any iced grande drink for just $2. Saves up to $2 on some drinks, i.e., an iced grande latte or mocha.

Dunno if this promotion ends at a certain time each day, or if it’s for the rest of the afternoon / evening. But hurry. This only lasts till September 2nd.

As an aside, I’m trying coffee from Caribou Coffee this morning. Starbucks is still better.

So, in sum:

$2 after 2pm till the 2nd.

Starbucks has finally released a list of all 600 store closures (PDF document).

One store in my old neighborhood in Germantown is on this list — which doesn’t surprise me because apparently this list targets recently-opened stores that aren’t doing too well. We moved away at the right time, whew! Yet, another one even closer to our old home and which had opened even more recently didn’t make this list. What does relieve me is that none of the seven Starbucks in or near Frederick, Maryland, my new home town, is on this list. A new one opened in historic downtown Frederick last year, and I’m pleasantly surprised that that one isn’t on the closure list.

Lots of California stores are on this closure list, but surprisingly not that many in Los Angeles nor San Francisco and probably too many closures in San Diego. Too many in Mobile, Alabama. Lots throughout Florida but only one in Miami itself. Three in Davenport, Iowa. Five in Chicago, Charlotte, and St. Louis. Seven in Indianapolis, eight in Houston, and a whopping NINE in little Baton Rouge and larger Dallas. Yeowch, SIXTEEN stores closing in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, not including any other suburbs in that area. A mild five store closures in New York City, but a comparatively biting four closures in Oklahoma City. Even Seattle doesn’t avoid an appearance on this list with seven closures (not counting its suburbs).

What do you think, and is your neighborhood / town affected?

(EDIT: The District of Columbia gets off relatively unscathed with just one closure at 21st and L.  A number of stores are being closed in its suburbs, though.  The Washington Post even did an article on these local closures.)

Here’s the link to a list of the first 50 Starbucks store closures (out of an eventual total of 600 closures). Four in Mobile, AL alone!

(EDIT 7/18/2008: Here’s my post about the complete list of 600 Starbucks closures.)

(EDIT 7/18/08: Starbucks has released the complete list of 600 store closures.)

If you’re a somewhat die-hard Starbucks fan, you might’ve heard by now that Starbucks has announced it’ll be closing 600 stores (or 5 percent of its total stores) across the USA due to the challenging economy.

The Seattle Times newspaper has set up a map of Starbucks store closings. This map is not of all 500 stores, since Starbucks hasn’t released the list yet. Instead, the Times is getting this info piece-meal mostly from baristas and the media. None in the DC / Frederick / Baltimore area as of yet (whew!), but this map (so far) only has a fraction of the expected 600 closures.

Any closures near your home or in your town? Let us know.

(Edit 7/10/08: I forgot to give credit where credit is due – thanks, Starbucks Gossip!)

Imagine checking an Internet website to keep track of how much you recycle a week, and cashing in “Recycle Bank Dollars” for coupons on Starbucks coffee and other things.   Sounds like a dream?   Not in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is using smart technology to keep track of how much each household is recycling.  A computer chip (more accurately, a RFID chip) and bar code is embedded into each recycling container.  As a “smart truck” empties each container, it also scans the chip and weights the container.  Residents can then check an Internet website to see how much they’ve been recycling.  As an added bonus, they get Recycle Bank Dollars that they can then redeem for coupons on Starbucks coffee, groceries, gas, clothes, and more.

This “carrot approach” has gotten Philadelphia residents so fired up that the recycling rate zoomed up from 6 percent (one of the worst in the nation) to an incredible 90 percent.  Talk about giving an incentive to recycle and how this actually produces results!

I’d love to see this come to my hometown as well.  Anything for more Starbucks coffee!

Speak Starbucks-speak!

June 10, 2008

If you’re like me, you have to write down your Starbucks order.  Luckily, just about every Starbucks barista has been trained to press the “feed” key on the receipt printer and give me a slip of paper and pen even before I need to ask for it.  But then I spend what feels like a minute scrawling down my entire order.  Even more time when I’m ordering for several people.  And then I see the barista scribble the entire order into a few letters on each cup.

I’ve always wanted to learn the Starbucks language.  And now, thanks to Adam, here’s a list of the symbols, letters, and numbers that Starbucks baristas use when writing down your order — and that means you and I can just jot these down and give the barista our order.

“Venti iced X 2 TN N WC(with slash) M” — ahhh, that felt sooo good.

When using letters / numbers from this list, I’ve noticed that baristas tend to follow a particular order: first, let them know the size (venti etc), then whether it’s iced, then decaf, then shots, then syrup, then milk, then custom, then finally the drink itself.

I’ll update this list as I get more information, and/or move this to a separate page.

Happy imbibing!  And tell me in the comments what your favorite drink is, in Starbucks-speak.

(none) – regular strength
X – decaf
1/2 – half / half

(none) – the standard
1 – single
2 – double
3 – triple
4 – quad
5 – 5 shots
6 – 6 shots

(none) – none for me
V – vanilla
H – hazelnut
TN – toffee nut
C – caramel
P – peppermint
A – almond
R – raspberry
SFC – sugar free caramel
SFH – sugar free hazelnut
SFV – sugar free vanilla
1PV – one pump vanilla (you can add 1P in front of any of these syrups like 1PR, 1PSFH)
2PV – two pump vanilla (you can add 2P in front of any of these syrups like 2PA, 1PSFV)

(none) – the standard
2% – 2% milk
1% – 1% milk
N – nonfat
S – soy
O – organic
B – breve

(none) – none
R – room (space on top for you to add milk yourself)
R (with slash thru it) – no room
WC (with slash thru it) – no whipped cream
WC – with whipped cream
XH – extra hot
XF – extra foam
F (with slash thru it) – no foam
D – dry
W – wet
XD – extra dry
CR – with caramel sauce
2/3 full – 2/3 full

L – latte
M – mocha
A – caffe americano
BC – brewed coffee
PM – peppermint mocha
WM – white chocolate mocha
C – cappuccino
E – espresso
CH – Tazo chai tea latte
HC – hot chocolate
WHC – white hot chocolate
PHC – peppermint hot chocolate
CM – caramel macchiato
EM – espresso macchiato
CDL – cinnamon dolce latte
GL – gingerbread latte
SFGL – gingerbread latte with sugarfree syrup
SFCDL – cinnamon dolce latte with sugarfree syrup
PSL – pumpkin spice latte
CAS – caramel apple spice
VCR – vanilla crème
BT – iced black tea
PT – iced passion tea
GT – iced green tea
PTL – Passion iced tea lemonade
GTL – Tazo green tea latte
CF – coffee Frappuccino blended coffee
CRF – caramel Frappuccino blended coffee
MF – mocha Frappuccino blended coffee
STCF – strawberries and crème Frappuccino blended crème
VBF – vanilla bean Frappuccino blended crème
CFL – coffee light Frappuccino light blended coffee
CRFL – caramel light Frappuccino light blended coffee
EGF – eggnog Frappuccino blended coffee
PMF – peppermint mocha Frappuccino blended coffee
CHCF – Tazo chai tea Frappuccino blended crème
DCCF – double chocolate chip Frappuccino blended crème
JCF – java chip Frappuccino blended crème
VBFL – vanilla bean light Frappuccino light blended creme

Barnes and Noble, the nation’s largest bookseller, is exploring the possibility of buying Borders.

I’m a geek (and I’m darn proud of it). I love browsing bookstores. Especially Barnes and Noble. And it helps that almost all Barnes and Noble bookstore has a mini Starbucks store inside. Borders seems a bit more bland in general, even if its Seattle’s Best Coffee is now owned also by Starbucks. (I loooooovvveee SBC’s peanut butter and chocolate fraps tho!)

And now these two massive bookstores (Borders is #2) may become one? Hmm. I’m not too sure I like that, but if it makes more economic sense — oookkkay. Borders hasn’t been doing so well and has been looking for a sale — so that may help. But many locations have both a Borders and a Barnes and Noble bookstore in close proximity; near my workplace in Washington, DC are two Borders and one Barnes and Noble stores. Near my house in Frederick, MD, there’s a Borders and a Barnes and Noble a couple blocks apart. Many of these may need to be closed, and that means large empty stores throughout the USA. Not good.

I’m sure the combined bookstores will still keep the name Barnes and Noble. Nonetheless, it may be fun to play around and come up with a new name. Got one better than “Borders and Noble?” Hmm.


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