Friday, March 13, 2009

Starbucks and the Bucks

Starbucks a few times a year makes a percentage donation from sales of certain types of drinks, benefiting some charitable organization – most recently it happened to be Project Red, which helps fight AIDS in Africa. Many people who are against corporations came out to say that if one were to donate directly to the cause itself, that organization would see more of the money.

You know, I'm agreeing with many of the nay-sayers that the donations I make directly to these foundations and charities is more significant than what Starbucks offers - But damn few of us give direct donations. Even a small portion of all the coffee drinks they produce daily is helluva lot more than I'd likely be able to donate myself. This won't stop personal donations, and is just an additional supplemental source of funding. In the current economic recession here in the US, this is a way to provide a great deal of money, even if it is only $.05 at a time, when many larger and smaller donors are cutting back on charitable donations. Not to mention, now we're putting power of even $.05 from perhaps tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of individuals who are unlikely to be donating a nickel or anything else. (And since I belong to a non-profit, I can attest to the underfunding aspect of economic recession.)

This is a BUSINESS though, and they have no requirements on charitable obligations. I say thank you and kudos! Get me a triple tall latte, please!!

A very loose real number would be Starbucks gross profit margin. It’s currently about 19.2%. Taken loosely that means off of your $4 latte, Starbucks makes 77 cents. So even after they give to Project (Red) they still make 72 cents. That’s a cost to them of 6.5% of their gross profit from the sale.

Lets do a little math:

For every 100 latte's they normally sell:
Donation to Project (Red): $5
Starbuck's gross profit (after the donation): $72
Starbuck's lost gross Profit: $5.

Number of additional Latte's they need to sell to make up for the lost $5: 7
So for each 100 latte's they normally sell, they need to sell an additional 7 latte's to have their profit unaffected by the donation.

This also doesn't take into account that Starbucks will get a tax break on their donation.
And they're still a business, so I ask again what local non-corporate entity has the power and resources to DONATE millions every year to various non-profits associated with rejuvenating the lands, people, and culture that grow their precious beans, or house a precious commodity?

You should probably take a look and read over their annual CSR to find out what they actually GIVE away each year to global non-profits (without a mass marketing campaign, I might add), before making lofty folderol. The prices quoted are fair. According to their Fiscal 2008 Q4 report, they were down almost a dollar in stock - a 7 year low - with 2008 seeing a ~$200M loss. Q1 2009 already saw a .50c drop, due to pressure from the housing market.

Not to mention that a few of the Starbucks in my area donate all of the overstocked food products and GIVE it to homeless shelters. And all of the grinds go into my garden every year. And all of the donation boxes that a couple of my stores have MATCH donations.

It would seem then, in the end, the idea of a corporation is much more detrimental to the psyche, than the actual good they can accomplish. True, not all major corporations donate and make good by helping where and how they can, but it’s not fair to those that do (with little understanding) to lump them all together.

Respect is given, when respect is taken ...

Namaste and Slainte

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Respectful Rewards

"As long as you're trying to be somebody else, the best you can ever hope for is second best. If you're genuine and consistent even those that disagree with you will be respectful of you." ~ Paul Harvey

And that's why Paul Harvey will be missed. His story telling ability was spot on each and every time, able to spin a yarn into something believable and unbiased. But, unfortunately, this isn't about Paul Harvey. This is almost in continuation of the Assistive Rewards post.

The world is full of questions, and the answers are rarely sought out. Politicians are exceptional at spinning a question into another question, as if that is itself the answer. So we are left questioning, and second-guessing our choices all the time. We ask "what if" too much, and not accept things as they are, in my opinion.

Can you really argue that trying to be like someone else, or what someone else wants you to be is beneficial to anyone? Sounds more like superficial.

Isn’t being genuine a sure fire way of grabbing someone’s attention? Everyone has what others will perceive as faults, that’s a given, and usually only on the outside and upfront. But isn’t that what can grow a healthy discussion, is taking those faults, accepting them, and maybe realizing that there is always more than one way to look at something?

There should always be some modicum of leaving some subjects alone, because you know that you will agree to disagree to which you leave it be, and that’s where civility comes into play. In the end, I’ve garnered respect for folk that have been able to logically convey their thoughts and feelings toward a particular subject, than haphazardly throwing something out there just because the feeling that that is the end all of everything.

The back-story leads into the whole story – if only what’s on top is taken, and nothing underneath is perused through, then you’ll never know … the rest of the story.

I always end my blogs and posts in one simple line:

Respect is taken, when respect is given …

Namaste and Slainte

Assistive Rewards

Assistive Rewards

Is there a reward for doing something that comes second nature? If a person does something that is a reward in someone’s eyes, does the one helping actually see it that way, or is it without thought?

What is it when someone helps on a grand scale, but seeks a reward – how is it different than helping one person, but seek nothing in return? How is reward defined? Is a reward a given in any situation no matter what happens?

Have you ever been the one that helps someone, only to feel a sense of let-down when nothing happened after the fact? Have you ever worked in a group of people, no matter the size, where you felt good about the deed that was done, but there was no reward, so to speak? Isn’t completion of the deed in itself the reward?

What if by proxy of a mandate of effort you are given an award that you didn’t necessarily do anything to deserve? How does doing nothing constitute being rewarded?

In our blue ribbon society, everybody is supposed to win – but what about the people actually putting forth effort to achieve something greater than being rewarded …

Respect is given, when respect is taken …

Namaste and Slainte