WE ARE HOME NOW after spending a few days kicking back in Bloomington. Because of that it was necessary for me to visit a different St. Arbucks location – a branch Chapel if you will.
Following the corporate model, this St. Arbucks looks very much like any of the other St. Arbucks I have visited across the country. There was, however, one variant noticeable at this Bloomington location – no one working there was smiling. Everyone behind the counter was rather somber looking. I visited that store several times during our stay and it was always the same. The baristas were competent, quick, and polite, but they all looked as if someone had just run over their dog.
I’ve worked in offices that were like that. Places where everyone did their job, but there was no joy. And whenever there was that dark clouded workplace environment it could be traced back to management.
A workplace mood is set by the persons sitting in the front offices. If the managers value their employees and support them, showing them that they are trusted and respected and will be treated fairly, there will be smiles on the faces of everyone working there. But, if the managers look at their employees as untrustworthy, not worthy of respect, and nothing more than cogs in the machine, the workplace will be an unhappy and oppressive corner of the universe.
Something is wrong in Bloomington.
The staff there is of the same age group as in other stores. They are mainly a crew in their 20s, a time when they should be happy and full of the joy of life. Instead I see a group of people who would sooner be volunteering to be test subjects for remedial students in an unlicensed tattoo school.
I’m not saying that the people employed there are not being professional in their work. They are, but they are just going through the motions. The problem is behind the scenes. If I was a stockholder in Starbucks I would be angry. Since I am not a stockholder I am simply concerned and disappointed.
When there is that kind of mood behind the counter it spills over into the rest of the store. Even though the place is busy, it is surprisingly quiet. You don’t see or hear lively conversations taking place. You don’t see people lingering over their coffee. The few children I saw in there stayed close to their grown-ups and were quiet.
Something is wrong in Bloomington. It is not a happy place.