They've created a consistent coffee drink. If you like the taste, you might be comforted by knowing that you can get that same taste in any Starbucks all over the world. I'll admit: that's pretty tough to do.
Also, their employees get benefits for working 20 hours or more. In Denver, I lost my favorite barista to Starbucks because he simply needed health insurance. I couldn't blame him for signing up.
Sounds great, doesn't it?! A coffee shop where the workers get benefits? Awesome! You might be wondering: how do they do it?! Here's how:
[I was going to insert an image here of a poor, young coffee grower with a cartoon bubble saying, "Welcome to Starbucks! Can I pick your coffee beans today?" but I decided that, ultimately, that's a little cheap - while it may be effective, it is not informative, so I guess I'll have to type some more....]
Starbucks buys coffee from growers that pay workers such minimal wages that the workers can be considered slaves. There was a lot of stink made about how Starbucks was getting more into Fair Trade coffee (a standard set up to make sure that workers got paid a certain amount), but I've found they've only done what was minimally required in order to put out a decent press release here and there. The vast majority of the coffee sold at Starbucks is not at all "Fair Trade coffee," even though spokespeople for Starbucks have claimed that Fair Trade coffee is in line with the "values" of the company.
Now...you can do even worse than going to Starbucks (by buying a can of Folger's coffee, for example), but you can do a whole lot better. Many local coffee retailers do carry Fair Trade coffee. If you are a regular coffee drinker, it is a moral imperative to find out which ones do. If you're stuck on Starbucks, call them and complain: 1.800.235.2883 or send the CEO a fax. If you have any interest in Folger's, all hope may be lost for you, but they have a number as well: 1.800.937.9745.
And now, for my final reason to hate Starbucks - your browser must accept cookies to use their web site (starbucks.com). In other words, just for you to look at their press releases and read information from their own mouth, you have to allow your computer to be less secure. If you don't know how to enable cookies, they'll help you with that! - but only if you're using the world's most unsafe browser.