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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?

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