Why is Starbucks so fucking popular? I just don’t get it. What is it that is SO SPECIAL about Starbucks? Is it the best coffee in the entire world? No, it’s not. It’s the McDonalds of coffee: “Big Mac coming off the assembly line, sir”. But for some strange reason, if there’s four coffeeshops on the same street, Starbucks will still be filled with more people than all the others, drinking the same fatty, sugary drinks with ridiculous made-up names, the same sloppy yoga pants, pecking away absently on their laptops or mindlessly thumbing through their smartphones. The only explanation is that most human beings are simply herd-like animals, mindlessly following the crowd like so many frightened lemmings jumping over the proverbial cliff of existential nothingness…
Then again, that’s not why I hate Starbucks. After all, you are free to choose whatever cafe you’d like to drink at and spend your free time.
It’s a free country. What I can’t stand is the homogenization of our all our public spaces, commercial streets and city centers. Eventually, everything just looks the same. The same strip malls, the same stores, the same chain restaurants. Most new cities and suburbs in America are almost indistinguishable from one another. Every interior of every Starbucks looks the same, the same carefully selected 50’s Jazz piped in on the sound system. A slowly creeping tide of bland green slime blanketing every corner of the earth. Why do so many people want everything to be the identical everywhere they go? It must be comforting or reassuring in some way. Get on a plane to Chicago, you know that your Grande-Latte-Pumpkin-Spice-Frappuccino will be the exact same price and flavor as it was when you left Boise, Idaho not a few hours before. No mucking about with slippery uncertainty. Who would want to take a giant leap of faith and try somewhere different…?
Do you realize that if you buy a Grande Latte every day at work for 10 years you are spending an estimated $10,000! Let’s break it down: that’s around $4 per day (3.65 + tax + some change in the tip jar- you are tipping your barista, right?) x 5 days per week x 50 working weeks per year x 10 years. Imagine what you could do with $10,000!! Do a sushi tasting trip in Tokyo, go on a marijuana and S&M binge in Amsterdam, feed the homeless, get an art degree- whatever. Get imaginative.
So many people bitch that they don’t have money, but then splurge on this nonsense everyday and don’t even realize the hole burning through their wallet like so much white phosphorous. Why not make some coffee at home and bring it to work in a thermos? Ah, but then you’d be losing out on the social cachet, right? I mean people never never say, “Let’s go out and get some coffee”. No- they have to announce to anyone within earshot, “Let’s go get Starbucks” as if it it were somehow of merit to be doing so. No one every announces at work, “Hey, lets go get some no-name coffee in a styrofoam cup from the deli downstairs!” Why, because that’s low-class. What you’re really paying for is a vanity product: walking around in public with a green and white paper cup makes you somehow…What exactly? Does following the masses around like sheeple bring you personal validation? Does it gain you access to the cool kid’s table at the lunchroom cafeteria?
Guess what: your consumer choices do not define you in any way. Don’t be fooled into thinking they do. Your material purchases from soulless multi-national corporations do not make you better looking, sporty, happier, cooler, rebellious, original or more popular. Don’t follow the crowd off the cliff, be more like the small group of lemmings that stay behind to screw and reproduce the next generation while the vapid nitwits swim out to the horizon and drown. Go your own way: try switching to tea.