The revelation that Starbucks, a company so successful in the UK that it plans to open 100 new outlets in the next 5 years, has paid hardly any corporation tax, probably isn't surprising. But as a coffee shop devotee, it's led to a bit of recalculation at OpVic Central. The Corporation Tax rate for the current UK financial year is 25%, so 25p in the pound of all the profit they make from us, the customer, should be going to HMRC.
It doesn't. Starbucks has tried to justify itself on other grounds - job creation, VAT contributions (which we pay, not them) etc. But it's clear that profit is being made, otherwise they wouldn't be expanding. It's just recorded elsewhere in the supply chain so that it doesn't appear on the UK operations balance sheet.
So I can now announce #PreOccupy Starbucks, a grassroots consumer protest movement. The principle is simple. Pay only 75% of the price of anything you buy at Starbucks, and if they take issue with you, explain that you're making your contribution to them in other ways: smiling at the staff to raise morale, reducing the heating bill due to your body heat contribution to the building, making the place look fuller than it otherwise would.
The aim of #PreOccupy Starbucks is to create an even bigger queue than normal, thus adding to public nuisance, annoying the staff, but not actually achieving a great deal in practical terms. We felt this would give us a sense of common identity with Occupy movements elsewhere.
In case the maths is a bit tricky, here are some of the revised prices.
Americano: Instead of paying £3, pay $3
Grande Skinny Fairtrade Offshore Espresso £2.63 instead of £3.50
Irregular Mockery (replacing Regular Mocha) £2.24 instead of £2.99
Iced Latte Fatty Catty £1.87 instead of £2.50
If this doesn't bear much resemblance to your local, that's because Starbucks don't publish their prices on their website.
In the meantime, perhaps this is the answer (source):