Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cutting Back

The Chicago Tribune will reduce its staff in the coming months, and the paper itself will shrink by over 10%. Cuts have to made.

The party's over in Ireland as well. Brian Lenihan, Minister for Finance, has announced cuts of 440 million euros to the budget. Jobs will be made to disappear, positions that are opened will be eliminated, and all departments will have to scale back. Not enough cash to go around anymore, as the economy comes down from its unsustainable high.

Everywhere you turn, there's a cut. The global economy is in a downturn, as the price of energy climbs and cuts are made in other areas to cover the cost of that energy. Little luxuries are the first things to go from the household budget.

Starbucks is retrenching. Cuts have to be made. Shops have to be closed if they're not profitable. The original "Starbucks experience" has to be re-introduced, so that a latte is no longer a luxury but an essential.

A venti beverage is pricey, but Starbucks has no intention of cutting back on drink volume. Not so at the Intelligentsia chain in Chicago.

The 20 oz. venti is coming off the menu boards. Anyone in need of that much caffeine will have to buy a couple of 12 oz. cups and learn to live with the extra four ounces.

Most people are fine with a smaller coffee. If you're looking to save a little, and still have a latte, you'll go small or go home. By eliminating the least popular size, Intelligentsia can save on overhead, eliminating a cup that must be bought and held in inventory until needed, and the need hasn't been great.

Corporate heads don't talk in terms of cost savings. They're proud of their brew, which is tastier than the steeped and burnt of Starbucks. The official explanation is that the gigantic portions dilute the coffee with too much milk, spoiling the Intelligentsia experience. Before you can finish that ocean of java, it's gone cold, and nature never intended coffee to be sipped at room temperature.

You want a giant slurp of caffeine? Try Dunkin' Donuts, with the rest of the unwashed masses.

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