Naomi Klein outlines some of the sharp early business practices of Starbucks in her brilliant, seminal book “No Logo”. Starbucks would buy out nice coffee houses that were near exisiting Starbucks franchises, even if it led to cannibalisation of the existing store, and so on.
It seems that Starbucks ruthless behaviour continues to this day. Reuters and others have suggested that Starbucks has never paid tax in Germany. Profits from Starbucks branches in Germany are funneled as fees and charges to Starbucks in the Netherlands (where it seems likely that Starbucks pays no tax on the income either, see comments to the Local article). These funnels allowed Starbucks to always report a net loss in Germany. Essentially, Starbucks took its profits to another country to avoid supporting the infrastructure and resources that it used to do its business.
How can one avoid the feeling that Starbucks (and Amazon) are taking us all for a ride? There’s nothing that I’d miss if I never saw another Starbucks in my life. If I were in charge, the funneled profits would be subject to a windfall tax payable in 2013, with punitive interest. Either pay your way, or make space for organizations that are prepared to do so.