Legally immoral

“We’re not doing anything illegal!” cries Starbucks. No, but you are completely immoral!

This isn’t about “protectionism”, it’s about fairness. A quintessentially British value like playing by the rules or sportsmanship.

Paying rents equivalent to 25% of your turnover is immoral if it means you don’t pay any tax here. Do you know why it’s such a high proportion of your turnover? It’s because you don’t make enough turnover you immoral bastards.

Who in their right minds would deliberately pay such a high proportion of turnover? It’s almost like you thought you might sell more coffee! But you didn’t, did you? You didn’t want to pay any tax, so you immorally signed for leases that you knew were going to destroy your profit margins.

So then you think you can pretend that your brand is worth paying for? Of course it isn’t. Why would you want to compensate the owners of the business for a globally recognisable brand.

To prove the point, I’m going to open a coffee shop called Costa (I’m not stupid, I don’t want a bunch of ignorant oiks trying to intimidate me if I name it Starbucks), and let them sue me. I will admit guilt and let the judge decide the level of damages.

If I’m more than a tenner out of pocket, I’ll be amazed.

That’s because brands are worthless. What, do you think we’re all stupid and just go into somewhere because we know what to expect? No, we like uncertainty when it comes to paying with our cash.

When I want something to drink, I walk into the nearest shop and demand a drink. If they can satisfy my request, I pay them whatever they want.

I do it with everything.

I was once served a ham sandwich in a jewellers, for which they charged me fifty pounds. I have tried to avoid getting hungry near that jewellers ever since.

That’s what real people are like, Starbucks. They don’t trust a brand in the same way that people don’t blindly trust their political party or follow a football club all their lives.

People don’t behave in a tribal mob like fashion, simply following the crowd. I mean, look at all the people telling you that’s not what happens. How can you disagree?

So, even though we shouldn’t pick you out from every other business that pays for “intellectual property”, we’re going to. Yes, pretty much every multi national business does it, and even those who don’t, have to consider whether they should under transfer pricing rules (well, the UK does have a lower tax rate than other countries – foreign tax authorities aren’t going to let that one slide).

But you, Starbucks, have the audacity to make a loss. We don’t care about McDonalds or Burger King doing it because they make a profit and pay a bit of tax. And Wimpy was shit!

(Though I did like the ice cream thing with a doughnut in it. That was good.)

It may be immoral to pick out one company and attack them for the laws not behaving like we thought they did, but it’s not illegal. And you’re not from round here.


9 thoughts on “Legally immoral

  1. I just tried to post a comment on the starbucks uk site… created an account (ignoring the special offers) and then on trying to sign-in got a ‘you must enable cookies to comment’ message. So I enabled cookies, opened a new tab – same message. I tried in a variety of browsers and still no luck. I then noticed that the last comment posted was yesterday which is surprising given the current climate. Is this a convenient techno glitch or have they decided that they’ve had enough comment for the moment.

    As the guy from Saatchi said on Question Time last night – paying fair uk taxes is ultimately good for business, There are loads of reputation management courses out there… maybe they should send Troy.

    • I am glad that you have brought this to my attention. This is an important development. Starbucks, or anybody, censoring their blog is bad for democracy.

      I don’t ever block comments unless they are from neoliberal rightwing trolls, Belinda Dodwell, Shane Richie’s lawyers or they disagree with me

      (PS Try pressing F5)

      • Hiya – tried F5, ctlr – F5 and 3 different browsers (I run a design/web company! so pretty much know what I’m doing).

        Update – just tried again and got in by signing in on home page, then going to comments (and having to sign in again) I finally managed a post!

        I run a business… we pay our fair share of tax, and drink our fair share of coffee… but vote with our feet and buy local… the coffee’s great and well priced, and I’m, happy that the owner keeps our money circulating in the local economy. BTW I also teach Reputation Management, and their ‘not us guvnor’ stance is turning into a new case study for my students in how not to do it. Even if they have no moral bone in their bodies at least the beancounters should realise that by paying their fair share of UK tax they will get the public back on-side which will be good for their business, and good for their shareholders… this is not rocket science!.

      • Utter lies and sophistry.

        Unless you show me your tax returns, I don’t believe you. You sound like a neoliberal profiteer to me. And as for being involved in IT, if I can get past Starbucks security, why can’t you?

        I am going to send Margaret Dodge round your house with a webcam to interview you. If she’s not satisfied she will call you morally repugnant and ruin your reputation.

      • You got me bang to rights… I confess. Just tell me where to email the details of my Cayman island accounts and you can have the lot. As for my reputation – too late!

  2. The “I do it with everything” is inspired. Your imitator loves to use these short, emphatic statements to make no point whatsoever

  3. This doesn’t really have to do with the topic taking place, but I wanna ask if you know where I could find a decent captcha plugin that I might use on my blog?? I’m employing the
    same blog system as you and I’m having difficulty finding one?

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