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Starbucks CEO to employees: Be kind to customers in wake of stock-market drop

Starbucks  SBUX -4.73%  CEO Howard Schultz has called on baristas to be extra patient with customers on Monday, given the dramatic stock market swoon that no doubt has left countless coffee addicts anxious about the state of their retirement holdings.

As of mid-afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4%, continuing a difficult run for stocks. (The stock markets pared some of their earlier losses, but 4% is still gigantic.) That means that Starbucks’ often affluent clientele is probably feeling the pinch, and could use a bit more love from their neighborhood barista.

“Today’s financial market volatility, combined with great political uncertainty both at home and abroad, will undoubtedly have an effect on consumer confidence and perhaps even our customers’ attitudes and behavior. Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern,” Schultz told staff in an email obtained by Fortune. Fusion earlier reported on the email.

“Let’s be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations,” he told his “partners,” Starbucks terminology for employees. Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He’s probably in need of a bit of TLC himself: the 5% drop in Starbucks’ stock price has reduced the company’s market value by more than $4 billion. Since Schultz owns nearly 32.6 million shares, according to Yahoo Finance, that means he is worth $86 million less than this morning.

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