The consequences of human workers becoming just another piece in the long chain of an algorithm optimized for efficiency above all else In Brooklyn, Sandianna Irvine often works “on call” hours at Ashley Stewart, a plus-size clothing store, rushing to make arrangements for her 5-year-old daughter if the store needs her. Before Martha Cadenas was promoted to manager at a Walmart in Apple Valley, Minn., she had to work any time the store needed; her mother “ended up having to move in with me,” she said, because of the unpredictable hours. Maria Trisler is often dismissed early from her shifts at a McDonald’s in Peoria, Ill., when the computers [...]
One of the most obscene things I learned as a barista was how eager people are to be liked. NYU sophomores, the ones with Jansport backpacks in full makeup at 9 a.m., stuttered their orders and shyly complimented me on my nose ring. I semi-patiently listened to innumerable Wikipedia-style monologues about the music I was playing from men in their twenties trying to render their business attire invisible with cultural know-how. I was given zines, mixtape-party fliers, home-recorded chillwave demos.
I said things like "How’s the app going?" and "Welcome to the neighborhood." I answered questions for new Greenpoint residents—of which there were more each year—about the best place [...]
ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE: The Starbucks Wifi has turned terrible since it went free on July 1! Increased load? Decreased service? Who know, the anecdote ends here… with a frappuccino!
The Pittsburgh G20 Photo Gallery: Starbucks, Bus Haters, Buddha, Jesus, Arctic Foxes, Children Ready To Die
Beautiful downtown Pittsburgh is preparing for the G20 onslaught in every way imaginable. We will also get to see, unfortunately, how the protests on the left are as scattershot and inchoate as this summer's town hall protests have been from the right. This here, for instance, is the kind of sophisticated commentary about Sarah Palin, arctic wolves, or foxes, or whatever, and also international super-prisons hat is actually coherent when you are high but makes you look like a huge moronic spaz in public while you are coming down.
6:53 PM Tuesday, August 5th — Free Haim/Sleigh Bells concert sponsored by Levi's
Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park Length: Three quarters of a mile Weather: 72, mostly sunny Crowd: Two thousand people in various states of wear and tear; two thousand pairs of Levi's in various states of wear and tear. Mood: Youth-y, palpably. Wait Time: Roughly one hour Lingering Question: How much do jeans fade while standing in a line? How often had they been washed?
This story begins, like so many before it, with a marathon session of “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.” Specifically, the show’s 1999 Halloween episode, “Episode LXXXI: The Phantom Menace.” (STTW has a real gift for prophecy.) Sabrina, played by Melissa Joan Hart, is a faux black sheep with a heart of gold; her manager (cum boyfriend cum soon-to-be-war-photographer) is as auspicious as he is handsome—which is a lot—but is also a bit dunderheaded. The setting: a Central Perk knockoff:
JOSH: Y’know, I’m really surprised our special pumpkin flavored coffee hasn’t been more popular.
SABRINA: Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that it’s a hideous shade [...]
"A guy who calls himself Mister PeePee set a goal of masturbating in every Starbucks in New York City, then photographing the results. Don't believe it? You can listen to this self-described 'big fan of Starbucks' discuss his plans — in detail — on a podcast, and read his results on Twitter."
Close to home, in and around Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, is where Starbucks conducts its experiments. It's the home not only of their public test lab, "Olive Way," there's also the matter of those liquor licenses filed in the last year, and of the "Starbucks-inspired" 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea locations. Most media coverage still seems more concerned with the fancy new coffee machines and the slimmer-profile barista counters than the white elephant in the room: now Starbucks sells booze.
You'd never think of this elsewhere in the country, but the megatronic coffee company sells wine and beer, which feels to me about as likely as Ahab [...]
Starbucks is getting some assistance in its attempt to streamline processes: "To help her understand how work can be done more efficiently, Kim Landreth, a member of the lean team, brought a Mr. Potato Head to Ms. Jordan's store and sprinkled the ears, nose, lips and other accessories across several tables. Using a stop watch, Ms. Landreth timed how long it took Ms. Jordan to assemble the toy and place it in its box. It took more than a minute. Ms. Landreth asked her to think about how she could complete the task faster. Moving items closer together shaved time, as did altering the order of assembly. Over two [...]
"At Melbourne High School on the Atlantic coast in Florida, veteran theater director Rodney Savickis struck a deal with a local Starbucks to help sponsor an April production of 'Romeo and Juliet' set to grunge music in today's Seattle, with the Capulets led by the CEO of Starbucks and the Montagues by the CEO of Microsoft. 'Romeo is kind of a computer geek,' and Juliet an 'earthy, crunchy granola type,' Mr. Savickis says. The local Starbucks plans to donate cups, coffee, pastries and some baristas to sell food at intermission and after the show. Proceeds will go to the school, [...]
"But when Starbucks uses Square’s full GPS technology, the customer’s phone will automatically notify the store that the customer has entered, and the customer’s name and photo will pop up on the cashier’s screen. The customer will give the merchant his or her name, Starbucks will match the photo and the payment will be complete." —Oh really? That's bound to go well.
Did you hear? Starbucks is changing their logo! Awl pal Bex Schwartz takes a look at the brand's evolution.
In hopes of recapturing the "bigger is always better" spirit of the previous decade, Starbucks has reportedly been test-marketing a new cup size that allows customers to guzzle 32 ounces of its iced beverages in one fell swoop. Called the "Trenta," it could provide the caffeine-needy with more than enough caffeine to power through their increasingly stressful days, or at least an hour or two of them.
I had some work to do this morning that was not going to get done if I sat at home, what with the many potential distractions of television, Nintendo DS, staring out the window, grouting the bathroom tile, etc., so I forced myself out of the apartment and stepped into a Starbucks, where I got myself situated in a corner with a couple of ice coffees and plugged in my battery. I had been so consumed by my own concerns over doing what I needed to do that I didn't notice there was something unusual happening until I saw another adapter plugged into the outlet next to mine. It was [...]