One of Britain's leading politicians laid into an unlikely adversary yesterday: the head of Starbucks. Company chief Howard Schultz said on CNBC that "the UK is in a spiral" and was causing Starbucks considerable grief, prompting business secretary Peter Mandelson to fire back: "Why should I have this guy running down the country? Who the fuck is he? How the hell are they doing?"
Mandelson was referring to the coffee chain's troubled balance sheet; as the Guardian reports, Starbucks posted a 69% drop in profits in the last quarter of 2008. During his own CNBC appearance, Mandelson told an interviewer that "The UK is not spiraling, although I've noticed Starbucks is in a great deal of trouble. So please don't project Starbucks onto the UK economy as a whole."