Strib: Off-Topic, Uncredited, Fear-fanning, Ads

Reading the Strib’s Business section yesterday, I was reminded of Sesame Street’s “One of these things is not like the other” sketch. Here’s the story, can you guess which one doesn’t belong?

“Grounds for worry: Trouble’s brewing in the economy, if the news from the nation’s biggest coffee chains is any indication.

No. 2 player Caribou Coffee Co. Inc., based in Brooklyn Center, announced the unexpected departure of CEO Michael Coles, who spent the past two years overseeing an aggressive expansion that has yet to show results on the bottom line. Caribou is expected to see red ink of $1.01 per share this year and lose 63 cents per share next year.

More worrying, market leader Starbucks disclosed negative same-store traffic later in the week and took down its projections for ’08.

People don’t give up their high-end java for Maxwell House unless they’re feeling light in the wallet.”

That’s right, it’s the last sentence. Aside from free advertising for Kraft Foods there’s no reason to include it. It’s off-topic, uncredited, and simply continues to fan the ‘hell-in-a-handbasket’ attitude.

In addition, if these 5 sentences were actually news reporting, we’d see that Starbucks’ issues have little to do with people buying less coffee and more to do with the over-saturation.

“The concern is that the company has been adding locations so quickly that the new stores are cannibalizing the old ones…” – Janet Adamy, Wall Street Journal

Lastly, even if the dip in bottom-line growth in the Starbucks and Caribou wasn’t due to build-out, “Trading Up” could just as easily explain fewer sales as reaching for the lower quality coffee. Personally, I don’t remember the last time I stepped into a Starbucks, because I’ve found far-tastier and higher-priced coffee at Kopplin’s.

Thank goodness Black Monday is coming, the additional ad flyers should distract me from the paper itself.

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