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We read this article on AOL:

Starbucks nationwide to close for emergency re-training Feb. 26
Posted Feb 13th 2008 7:46PM by Sarah Gilbert

I know I’m not the only one who’s complained that Starbucks baristas don’t know how to make a decent latte any more. Far from its roots as the reliable place to get coffee made exactly right, the chain has lately become famous for its automatic machines and the hit-or-miss quality of its products.

Howard Schultz is here to change all that: by shutting down Every Last Store nationwide for three hours on Tuesday, February 26. Starting at 5:30 p.m., baristas in the coffee giant’s 7,100 stores will learn how to do things better. They’ll learn how to make a perfect shot, how to steam milk, and (if we have anything to say about it) how not to burn coffee, and how to wipe the milk steamer before switching from dairy to soy milk. (Vegans everywhere will say thank you.)

While it’s doubtful that three hours of training will reverse years of gathering mediocrity, it’s certainly a symbol of a company that cares about quality. If Howard is serious about this change stuff (and it’s obvious that he is), he’ll consider switching back to manual latte machines, at least in some stores located in serious coffee markets (like certain neighborhoods in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco). Speed and convenience is no price to pay for really good coffee. Some customers will agree; others will probably mutter swearwords under their breath as they pull up to their local Starbucks only to find it Closed For Training in a couple of weeks. Which customer are you?