Monday, December 8, 2008

Starbucks hatred

It's been a while since I've encountered any anti-Starbucks rhetoric, probably because I don't hang out in any of our local coffee shops, and especially not in the local Bahai-owned granola cafe which I actually really like but which began smelling too distinctly of patchouli. In any case, Elizabeth Nolan Brown hasn't either, until recently, and thus she offers up her defense:
Starbucks has always seemed entirely utilitarian to me. It’s comfortable, but not charming. If you live in the city, there’s one on every corner, so it’s often the easiest option. It’s quick (usually), and you know there’s not much variance from one locale to the next (a fact which some people,I guess, see as a flaw, but I find comforting). This is all by way of saying I find anti-starbucks sentiment utterly baffling, in the most amusing way possible.
The thing I like about Starbucks is that it isn't aesthetically quite so overtly exact as other chains. From the street it doesn't necessarily look like a Starbucks in the way a Burger King or a Jiffy Lube look like a Burger King or a Jiffy Lube. Perhaps its less signage. Perhaps they just look nicer, and so they don't bother me as much. I'm picky when it comes to these things. The aesthetic of our communities is important to me. Go figure.

Inside, it's just as Elizabeth says: comfortable, but not charming. That works for me. I like other coffee shops, too, and if I could afford to go out to coffee shops I probably would go to whichever was most convenient for what I was doing. Starbucks if I'm on my way somewhere because they're quick. Probably a local hippie shop if I want to sit and read because they're more interesting. As far as I can tell, in my home town, no matter how many Starbucks popped up, no existing coffee shops went under.

My major complaint? Starbucks is way too expensive. Coffee should not exceed one dollar per cup, thank you very much....