Perhaps you've seen the weirdly corporate-but-trying-to-look-human sign next to Smith on 15th Ave, where the Starbucks used to be. The sign reads"YOUR neighborhood coffee shop is getting a makeover."

The Seattle Times (who, as Dominic previously noted, are doing very good work today) gets to the bottom of the story: It seems as though Starbucks is dropping their branded name from three Seattle locations and reopening with generic, neighborhood-centric names instead. For instance, the Starbucks on 15th will now be known as "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea." It will serve wine and beer and host poetry readings. It's like they listened to all the complaints about Starbucks closing local businesses and sapping the flavor from neighborhoods and then took the most dunderheaded, obvious action to take advantage of those complaints.

I wonder whose name will be on the paychecks of 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea employees? Starbucks? Or "[Insert Your Neighborhood Here] Coffee and Tea"? If this is Starbucks' way to try to address complaints that it's grown too big and too impersonal, I have little hope for the company making a successful financial turnaround.