Other Stuff – Starbucks

coffee 007 (Small)

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Starbucks coffee tastes terrible. I think a friend of mine summed it up best when she said it tastes like “ashes”. End of subject.

So the big question is, why is Starbucks so popular? Why are there more than 6,400 stores worldwide? Why should people think “coffee” when they hear the word Starbucks? Why not Moby Dick? Or Battlestar Galactica?

Some theories:

1. “It’s expensive, so it must be good!This idea seems to also work in the fashion world. Is a Gucci handbag really worth 2000 dollars? Of course not. But tell that to someone who can afford it.

2. “Look everybody, see those Gs on my handbag? ” So it goes with a person walking out of Starbucks. Their heads are high. “Look everybody, I can afford Starbucks.” If I could get a government grant of, let’s say, 245,000 dollars, I might be able to prove that people walking out of Starbucks keep the logo above the fingers and facing the public. Also, empty Starbucks cups probably stay on the office desk longer than other brands.

3. “It must be good, that’s all they sell here!” It’s true. Coffee is all they sell at Starbucks. And tea. And Scones. And Muffins. And Cake. And Turnovers. And Biscotti. And Mugs.  And Travel Mugs. And Coffee Presses. And Hats. And music CDs. And DVDs. And Books. And The Wall Street Journal. And Gift Cards. And Personalized Gift Cards.

4. “Cozy cozy cozy!” I was in a McDonald’s just a few hours ago. My wife and I were each getting a cup to-go. And two apple-turnovers. As we were preparing to go, I realized that given the choice of sitting down with a cup of coffee and friend in a McDonald’s or a Starbucks, I would choose Starbucks. Not for the coffee, but for the atmosphere. I must admit, McDonald’s has a lot in common with the Moon: no atmosphere, and devoid of human inhabitants.

5. “I’ll have a . . . “ Remember in school, that really tough class? The teacher calls on you for an answer. You start to sweat. You’re not sure you have the right answer. Everyone stares at you. You say something, wondering if all will soon be laughing at you. The teacher looks at you, and . . .  smiles. You did it! You did it!  —  That is what it feels like ordering at Starbucks. Eyeballing all the choices and then ordering something that no one laughs at gives a person a feeling of accomplishment. Look at the choices on the menu:

Milk –  nonfat, Low Fat -AKA -Percent  Breve – Soy – Organic – Foam –Wet Or Dry –Whipped Cream –Extra Hot (180 Degrees) –140 Degrees –Sugar, Sweet ‘n’ Low, Equal and Splenda –Caramel Sauce –Extra Ice/Less Ice –Upside Down –Double Blended – Coffee Frappuccino –Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino –Caramel Frappuccino –Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino –Java Chip Frappuccino –Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino –Mocha Frappuccino –Peppermint Mocha Twist Frappuccino –Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino –White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino – Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino –Mint Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino –Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino –Strawberries And Crème Frappuccino –Tazo Chai Frappuccino Blended Crème –Blended Crème Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino –Vanilla Bean Frappuccino Blended Crème –Espresso –Espresso Macchiato –Espresso Con Panna –Americano –Latte –Cappuccino –Caramel Macchiato –Mocha –White Mocha – Cinnamon Dolce Latte –Espresso Truffle –Gingersnap Latte –Peppermint Mocha Twist –Pumpkin Spice Latte –Syrup Flavored Latte –Vanilla Latte – Green tea, Black Tea, Herbal Tea, and decaf tea.

But in Starbucks, what brings relief is not the teacher saying “correct”, but the cashier saying “That’ll be $6.48.”

Fortunately, for the rest of us, there’s McDonald’s. Why is their coffee so good? Two reasons: Bunn coffee makers and Folgers coffee. The same winning combination that is in the Pippa kitchen. And no ashes in sight.

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5 thoughts on “Other Stuff – Starbucks

  1. I was going to say:

    “I have never been to Starbucks, I am proud to say. Although I once was in a Target store that had a Starbucks in it. I had to walk very near the seating area, but it had a different color tile, so I could tell I wasn’t really in the cafe.
    That said, we recently moved into an apartment, and the previous occupants had left a giant cobalt blue Starbucks(R) mug in the cabinet. We were looking for a container to keep packets of sweetener in (Stevia, Splenda, etc) and the mug, able to hold an ample quantity, was selected as the container. Without thinking about it, I had set it on the shelf with the handle facing right (which is logical positioning for a right-handed person.) After reading your blog I noticed that this placement caused the word “Starbucks” to be facing out. Feeling a bit sheepish, I immediately went over and turned the mug around, but to no avail. “Starbucks” was emblazoned on the other side too. I am going to leave the mug there, with the handle facing to the right, since it doesn’t really matter inasmuch that the Starbucks(R) logo will be seen either way.
    Am I bad?”

    I say I was going to say that. Before posting this comment I verified with my wife, “We’ve never been to Starbuck’s have we?”

    “Sure, don’t you remember? Your brother took us.”
    Trying to salvage something I asked, “I didn’t get anything did I?”
    “No, but I got a cappuccino” she reassured me.

    Then to make matters worse, I realized that recently we were in the supermarket and bought some coffee. (FYI we rarely buy coffee as we only drink it occasionally in cold weather.) Since we don’t buy it very often, we were going to splurge for something ‘premium’. They had a sale on an interesting sounding blend. Turns out its Starbucks.

    Well, what can I say now? Anyway, excellent blog Mike. Great graphic too.

  2. Good stuff. Starbucks is highly overrated. Even one of the CEOs of Starbucks admitted that McCafe coffee is much better than Starbucks. I’d like to hear what you have to say about Dunkin Donuts???

    1. It’s been a while since I’ve tried Dunkin Donuts coffee. In the interests of investigative journalism, I will. And while I’m there, I might as well try a donut, or two.

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