Starbucks and the Consumer Crunch

My family likes Starbucks. My wife gets her customized drink from the local Starbucks at least once a day, and often twice (triple expresso, half caf, foam on the top, and a sprinkle of cinnamon) (I can’t remember whether it’s whole or skim). My son worked for a while at the same store as a barista. And my daughter—well, if I say what she likes from Starbucks, I’ll probably be accused of some Dad crime.

But now I see that Starbucks sales are slowing , and Howard Schultz has taken over again. He has all sorts of reasons why the chain is troubled—too many stores, a lack of focus, etc etc. He said: “We have to get back to what has made this company great.”

But what if Starbucks—the land of high-priced coffee—is feeling the early stages of the consumer crunch? What if Starbucks is an early warning indicator that consumers just can’t keep spending the way they have been? What if the problem is not Starbucks but the economy?

What if…?