The Starbucks Phenomenon and the U.S. Slowdown

| About: Starbucks Corporation (SBUX)
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I sat in Starbucks in Manhattan yesterday morning merrily pecking away at my keyboard and constantly struck by the long line that seems to meander outside into New York’s Fall rain. I watched as New Yorkers of all stripes queued up to fork over $3.40 - $6 for various shades of brown caffeine with foreign sounding names.

Sitting there and watching the endless ka-ching of 90% margins for colored water and and steamed milk made me think that this has got to be the greatest stock to buy on the planet.

Then I turned on my new Nike watch’s stopwatch to time how long each of these wet New Yorkers spent waiting on line for coffee. Average wait time = 10 minutes. 10 minutes!! That is from the time they enter the door, get to order their Grande Latte and then have their name and favorite coffee's name screamed out by a barista. Some waited as long as 12 minutes.

Given that I see many New Yorkers strolling around midday with Starbucks coffee cups, I realized that people probably drink 3-4 cups of Starbucks a day and spend 30-40 minutes a day on their coffee fix.

As I sat on the Starbucks/T-mobile WIFI network admiring the productivity increases technology affords us, I could not get over the wasted productivity on that line. Great for Starbucks, but no wonder the US economy is on the verge of a recession. Nobody is working. Everyone is wasting the productivity gains waiting on line for coffee!