Consuming lattes and labour, or working at Starbucks - Bryant Simon

An in depth portrait of what it is like to work at one of the most conspicuous components of the neoliberal order: the upscale looking, fast-food acting coffee chain, Starbucks. Simon discusses the emotional labors of being a happy and chatty “partner” (employee), the difficulties of the uneven scheduling, the unexpected physical aspects of the job, and the culture of conformity at the nation’s largest seller of coffee and affordable luxury.

Submitted by wojtek on February 28, 2013

The essay assesses the corporations’ reputation for being a good employer and contains extensive interviews with Wobblies trying to organize the chain. It suggests how workers are consumed by and with the brand in what the author calls “New Age welfare capitalism.”

International Labor and Working-Class History / Volume 74 / Issue 01 / September 2008, pp 193-211.