Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | February 28, 2008

Starbucks And 18-Cent Gasoline

CoffeeOld Gas StationWhat do Starbucks and 18-cent-a-gallon gasoline have in common? Neither one was available for about three hours last Tuesday. In the case of Starbucks, they made a strategic decision to close during regular hours to better train their employees to make that perfect cup of coffee, and to make each customer’s experience in the store even more pleasurable than the coffee.

Closing? During business hours? All 7,100 locations? What were they thinking? Dunkin’ donuts took full advantage of the situation by being there for their customers while their biggest rival was off having a communal love-fest. The old-line purveyor of joe-and-dough was offering free small lattes in their 450 Chicago locations and, presumably, in other parts of the country.

In the case of 18-cent gasoline, we haven’t seen that in a long, long time. I must be getting old, however, as I do remember a time when you could get better than five gallons of the “motion-lotion” for less than a buck. Growing up in Western Michigan, I remember the “gas wars” of late ’60s and early ’70s. This is where gas stations in close proximity to one another along a commercial strip would lower their prices in tit-for-tat fashion as they rushed to see who could go out of business first. This happened often along 28th Street in Grand Rapids, and was almost worth the 45 mile trip from the Muskegon/Grand Haven area to fill up. Oh for the days.

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