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Letters for the Week of October 5

Readers sound off on Peet's Coffee, the Parkway Theater, and food trucks.


"How Peet's Starbucked Itself," Features, 9/21

From Peet's to Philz

Just buy a bag of Peet's coffee and see the broken beans and the lower quality of both the roast and the beans. I now buy my beans at Philz.

Jason Carey, Oakland

Time for a Boycott?

I really hate that Peet's is abusing its employees. I want to hear that this situation improves rapidly, or I'll stop buying Peet's altogether. I'm sick of the maquiladora philosophy that permeates Peet's right now.

Eva Merrick, Oakland

What's Wrong With Starbucks?

I've never been to Peet's, but what's wrong with Starbucks? I've been getting coffee there for years, and I've always found the service and the quality of the coffee to be excellent. I don't understand the disparaging remarks made in this article. All I want in any store is a polite service person, fast service, and a decent product. I get all three at Starbucks.

Kathleen Haugh, Rio Vista, California

Bummer, Dude

What!? Peet's no longer hires people to show up when they feel like it, hang out and talk about coffee? Bummer, dude.

Michael Cabanatuan, Albany

Peet's Still Rocks

This was a very interesting article. Paints the picture of very bitter baristas. I have worked for Peet's for six years and I love my job. I love the product we produce. I truly feel that though some truth is in this article, it's very exaggerated. The pressure is there, but come on. I have a huge sense of family at all the different Peet's locations that I have worked at. I know we are no longer a mom-and-pop coffee shop, but we still have the best standards for quality and service. Peets still rocks!

Anonymous Peet's Employee

Well-done — and Typo-free

I enjoyed this article very much, and thought it was extremely well-written. I got scared when I saw how long it was, but it held my attention all the way through. And unless "Iulia" Bodeanu's first name is actually "Julia," I did not find one single typo or grammatical error in the whole long piece — quite an achievement, given the Express's recent track record in that regard. Bless you and thank you for the excellent copy-editing.

Jessie West, Richmond

Long Overdue

That was a great piece of writing. Long overdue. I've been with Peet's for over five years and your article caught perfectly the accelerating slide the company has taken in the last few years.

I don't mind that Peet's is turning into a Starbucks clone. It's their clinging to the plucky little coffee store image that's infuriating. When it gets to the point of being required to sign vows of silence, of your company cutting employee raises then trying — unsuccessfully — to buy another coffee company, well — that's just what corporations do. And so it goes....

Sure, I could tell you stories, sad whistle-blower stuff. But your article did a good job. Our manager usually gives us corporate lines to feed customers whenever something unsettling turns up in the press. This week she's being really quiet, as if she's been told to not even acknowledge the recent issue of the Express exists. "If you don't mention the problem it doesn't exist." Multiply that by about 200 stores and 3,700 employees and you have some mighty strong reactions.

Iulia Bodeanu — she's our hero. Now, whenever we're asked to do something demeaning, corporate, and required, we ask, "What would Iulia say to this?" The thought puts a spring in our step, as did your article.

Again, a well-written article that people on both sides of the bean counter are talking about. How do I get a copy of the cup-in-a-cup graphic that accompanied the article? That would make a nice T-shirt! Did I say "thank you" yet?

Anonymous Peet's Employee

"The Parkway's Last Shot," News, 9/21

Praise Moses

Moses has come closer than anyone in reviving and restoring The Parkway. He has the vision, the passion, and the networking, if not that key component: the funding. I hope his heroic efforts don't go unrewarded — for his sake, the community's sake, and my sake! I'm sick of hearing almost daily about how much people miss The Parkway! Oakland needs and deserves it, and frankly should never have lost it. I have faith in Moses, but he can't part all that red tape without a little help from above ....

Will Viharo, Alameda

Good for Business

The absolute fact is that neighborhood cinemas and theaters bring business into the area, especially restaurants and specialty shops. The Parkway's unique program was always a draw for my wife and I when we resided by Lake Merritt. Perhaps the mayor and city council can bring pressure on those sleepers, especially when the loss of more tax dollars are at issue!

Simon Overton, Port Orchard, Washington

Get the City Involved

I think the Chengs [owners of The Parkway Theater on Park Street] deserve to have their property revoked via eminent domain. The fact that they would keep the building empty and a community in blight is akin to an act of disgrace and poor citizenship.

Liat Zavodivker, Los Gatos

"Morning Becomes Informal," Restaurant Review, 9/21

Birdsall's Fall

After the last two editions of the Express, it's become clear that John Birdsall has too much on his plate. His article on food trucks rambled, lacking the driving clarity that normally bolsters the full-length cover pieces. This week, his three contributions were weaker than usual.

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