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Amid Lean Times, Starbucks Buys a Jet

It's been all over the news that Starbucks took a financial hit in 2008. So why is the coffee giant starting off its year on an even riskier note?

Flight records indicate that Starbucks purchased a $45 million corporate jet — around the same time last month it announced it was reevaluating its employee 401(k) matching policy. The Gulfstream 550 jet can transport up to 19 passengers, and includes such features as DVD players and floor to ceiling closets.

According to Starbucks rep Deb Trevino, the order for the jet was placed three years ago, and canceling the transaction would be too expensive. They ordered the jet to save costs; one of its two corporate jets is no longer under warranty and would require more repairs than a new model.

Corporate watchdogs have called this purchase "an unacceptable answer in 2009." It does seem to be representative of excessive corporate spending, especially after a year in which the chain closed 616 stores and slashed thousands of jobs.

Whose side are you on? Do you think this purchase will help the company's leaders work more efficiently, or is Starbucks losing sight of its priorities?

Source, Source

Join The Conversation
wunami wunami 8 years
Whatever, it's not like they are asking for a government bailout. At least not yet.
LemonOut LemonOut 8 years
This plane is not more energy efficient than the previous one, sweetee, so it's not an option. They would have lost some money, but less than paying for a new plane. For a company like Starbucks, that claims to treat its employees so well, it would have been a lot better to scrap the plane and have its executives fly commercial. I'm glad I'm not stupid enough to buy overpriced coffee there and subsidize their corporate jet. :)
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
Often the costs of breach of contract, both monetarily and also publicity-wise, are so high that you're pretty much locked into a losing situation even before you start. I have trouble saying 'boo-hoo' for Starbucks in this deal, but I'm not going to pile down on them for it.
sweetee1 sweetee1 8 years
When my car goes "off lease" its due for a replacement. This isn't much different. The "usual outcries" about this type of company travel can easily be put in to perspective with a company statement/press release - (and at least part of the issues have been addressed, apparently) -that clearly touts the cost and energy efficiency improvement resulting form the new plane, and the time benefit achieved compared to the former one. This no longer qualifies as being "excessive." The other plane, (whatever it is,) would be slated for retirement as a potential cost reduction. The "usual outcries" might not be quelled, but they would have less grounds for this supposed outrage. [I'll have a Venti brew, to go, with soymilk, now, if you please.] :-)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I hate Starbucks.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that if it was really purchased years ago when the chain was doing better then that's fine - but i think that there's going to be a lot of back lash to this one. there are cancellation fees that they would have incurred from this - and that may not have been able to make much of a difference in the expense. i think that they should all fly commercial anyway but that's just me. i can understand the allure of flying private but in today's economy when pennies are so necessary - this is one of those things that's hard to swallow
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