Everyone Please Think Happy Thoughts Tomorrow…

We know that you will have a headache…

Starbucks all closing tomorrow: Where will customers go?
Posted Feb 25th 2008 5:30AM by Sarah GilbertFiled under: Bad news, Starbucks (SBUX), Employees
Tomorrow evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. (local time), your neighborhood Starbucks is closing. Yes, yours — and yours, too. (If you live in the U.S., that is.) CEO Howard Schultz has ordered this emergency intensive remedial training, hopefully giving baristas valuable skills they should have learned in the ordinary 40-hour new “partner” training. One of the skills — which, according to one New York Starbucks manager involved in the test training program, was a “revelation” to some of her workers — is a milk steaming technique that will allow baristas to “free pour” (without holding foam back with a spoon) the milk no matter how the customer orders the drink.

Partners will also be instructed to wipe the steamer wands and rinse the pitchers and shot glasses every time — not a new idea, but according to anecdotal evidence, also not commonly done. A new procedure will be instituted for the espresso machines; baristas will always pull a double shot, instead of occasionally pulling only one when only one shot is needed. This, apparently, will assure a better-tasting espresso.Baristas, customers, stockholders and analysts all seem to agree that, much though retraining may be necessary for some individuals, it’s not bad foam that has prompted the dip in Starbucks’ (NASDAQ: SBUX) stock price; no, it’s the uneven and quixotic management initiatives. Now, we’re a coffee shop… now we’re the “third place” with comfortable chairs… now we’re a movie studio… now we’re an Apple store… now we’re a book publisher/record company/toy store/candy store/cookbook… now we’re a fast food joint. It’s enough for stakeholders to all rise up with a single voice and ask plaintively:

How Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude…

With the square, black buzzer in hand, my wife and I were patiently waiting to be seated at Za’s. For a few minutes, we were probably third in line to get a table. All the sudden this nice couple walks in, scopes out the situation and notices that there is one freshly cleaned table. Well, they swiflty grab two menus and their napkin wrapped silverware, to gladly clain their new spot.

I don’t know if the couple noticed, but everyone else saw this act of rudeness. Waitresses, the manager and customers were all looking at each other across the room. Of course, Jenna and I didn’t really care, as we were just visiting with everyone. It was a tinch awkward though. Even worse, two of the people waiting were in their military camouflage.

I looked at the fella’s in uniform, and just shook my head and rolled my eyes. Taking the high road, they just shrugged their shoulders…

Someone needs to tell the couple that this is not how we do it, in the city “where friendliness flows…”

Feb. 18 – Feb. 22, 2008

>>This Weeks New Listings…

Tom Young Goes For It

Tom Young Will Run for Skipper’s Seat
February 21, 2008 Filed Under The Shot Written by The Shot

His statement:
I’m running for the State House to share my Plan for Palmetto Progress with Aiken County voters. Having been born and raised in Aiken, I understand and appreciate the quality of life that we enjoy in Aiken County. It is important that we preserve that quality of life but also work to move our region forward.
Based on the conservative business principles of Ronald Reagan and Carroll Campbell, my plan can make our county and our state more competitive in today’s global economy by recruiting jobs, cutting taxes, reining in wasteful spending, preserving our natural resources, fighting illegal immigration, reducing the cost of health insurance, and building an education system that provides a trained workforce. Many people in state government talk about change, but unfortunately it’s followed by inaction while our state remains in neutral. My plan will support efforts to restructure state government and efforts to strengthen family values.
In the following weeks, we will release portions of my Plan for Palmetto Progress. These ideas – many known but some unknown to the voters — will reform Columbia and move both Aiken County and our State forward. We are excited about the opportunity to serve and look forward to taking our message – A Plan for Palmetto Progress – to the people.

…It’s Like Peas & Car’rots ???

“Like Mamma used to say….” Forrest Gump
Love him, or loathe him, Senator McCain is about to get a lesson in “branding.” Over the coming months, these two images may be burned into our brains like Nike, Chevy and Coke…



1. Southern Hospitality – Our region is known for our friendly faces and hospitable and accommodating attitudes.
2. First Class Visitors Bureau Sales Staff – Eager to assist you in planning your next event.
3. Time-Efficiency – We can gather competitive hotel room rates for you, at no charge, through our RFP process.
4. Accessibility – Whether traveling by air or vehicle, you’ll love Columbia’s easy access. Only 10 cities in America have three major Interstates transecting their metropolitan areas and Columbia is one of them. Columbia is served by I-20, I-26 and I-77, and is within 90 miles of I-85 and I-95, making travel to our city simple from every direction.
5. Meeting Space – Conventional or unconventional, we are eager to help you find the facility that best fits your meeting needs
6. Attractions – for attendees to enjoy during breaks. Fascinating historical and cultural attractions, a world-class zoo, outdoor recreation, festivals, parks and sporting events.
7. Dining & Nightlife – Attendees can dine capital city style, or explore our specialty districts for a one-of-a-kind experience
8. Convention Services – Brochures/materials, publicity, information center, & special assistance when you book your event through the Visitors Bureau.
9. Shops to Suit Every Taste – Area shopping includes Indoor & outdoor malls, several shopping districts that invite leisurely strolling among the many charming stores, galleries and restaurants.
10. Accommodations– full service, select service or limited service accommodations. We have major chains and boutique properties sure to fit with any group’s preference.
11. Rapid Growth. The cityscape of Columbia is ever changing. New developments such as hotels, restaurants, and clubs make the Metropolitan area a new place to discover.
12. Unique Meeting Facilities. Planning a meeting? Why not have it somewhere fun. Columbia offers meeting planners unique facilities such as the Riverbanks Zoo and Edventure Children’s Museum.
13. Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. This dazzling 142,500 square-foot facility was designed with you in mind! From abundant pre-function space to beautifully equipped break out rooms; a 24,700 square-foot, column free exhibit hall to an exquisite 17,135 square-foot ballroom – your next meeting or event is sure to be an overwhelming success!
14. Parks, Gardens, and Outdoors. Columbia has a plethora of parks to enjoy. Our latest adventure is our Riverwalks offering a beautiful view of our downtown area while featuring an abundance of plant and animal life.
15. Columbia Conference Center features executive-style chairs and oversized conference tables for the ultimate in comfort.
16. First Class Catering. Columbia has an eclectic array of catering companies here to fulfill any type of menu. Centerplate, the Convention Center’s exclusive caterer, boasts exquisite taste and superior service with an affordable price.
17. Brookland Baptist and Conference Center offers the meeting planner over 11,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. It is also a convenient 2.5 miles from the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
18. Saluda Shoals River Center. Saluda Shoals River Center is another unique facility housed in a park setting that offers peace and tranquility.
19. City Art Gallery exhibits a variety of artwork from the most talented and thought-provoking local and regional artists, and is available for your next event!
20. Extracurricular. There’s always something happening in the region “Where Friendliness Flows!”

Visit our online event calendar and you ‘ll find everything from a weekend festival to the State Fair to local concerts and performances.


Columbia’s Red Tape Wrap Up…

Downtown Columbia’s New Zoning Ordinance is Happening…

Marc Mylott, Columbia’s Zoning Administrator, sent this out a few days ago. Email me at fjones@cbunited.com , if you would like to see the document… FJ

Greetings Everyone . . . as requested by City Council, the proposed ordinance for interim measures will be on their agenda for this Wednesday, February 20th. We just finalized this very complex ordinance yesterday. Please note that, in the event City Council wishes to receive legal advice concerning the ordinance, it would be in executive session and the ordinance would be held over for consideration until their next meeting — Wednesday, March 5th.
For your information, I have attached a copy of the ordinance as it appears within City Council packets.

Best regards,

Marc S. Mylott,
AICP Director of Development Services / Zoning Administrator City of Columbia

Feb. 11 – Feb. 16, 2008

A Little Bit Awful…

I know the chances are slim, but if you ever run into this person… please briskly walk away.

I just watched one of the most unfomfortable 30 minutes of TV, that I can remember.