Alas poor Starbucks…

12 07 2008

Or not.  Realistically, I’m not a fan.  Yes, I often get a coffee there, but it’s also the only time I drink flavoured cofee.
Why?  To mask the taste of the coffee itself.  It’s certainly not the best.  But there’s enough of them around to make them convenient.

Two of my friends work in Starbucks Corporate, and I take great delight in telling them constantly how bad their coffee is.  It never fails to amuse me how defensive they get so quickly.

So, you can imagine my delight when I travelled around the globe recently, and visited a Starbucks in every country I went to, and that every single country made coffee better, and remember, this was in International Starbucks locations, than Starbucks in Washington state where the travesty began…

Tee hee!  In your face friends, not only is the coffee bad, but it’s worse here where it all started! 😛

Moving along…

I recently stumbled across an open letter in GQ magazine, that took a potshot at Starbucks, and a very funny shot it was too.  A much more flavoursome shot, than one you may order at Starbucks.  Although depending on your perspective, it could be considered to be as bitter as a shot as you’d get at Starbucks too.  Either way, there’s a parallel.

I thought the article funny enough to read it out to Mark, he in turn thought it funny enough to track down on the Internet, which in turn allowed me to share it with you, and in doing so flesh out a blog entry.  You just have to love a win-win. 😉

So here it is.  Enjoy!

From GQ to you.  Open Letter:  Dear Starbucks  GQ/Talkback

Dear Starbucks,

Hey, is there anywhere to get a decent cup of coffee around here?

Oh, come on. Don’t look so sad. When we’re in the mood for a twenty-four-ounce cup of pumpkin-pie-flavored Cool Whip, a Feist CD covered in mocha fingerprints, a possibly exaggerated memoir by a former child soldier, and some customer “service” that denies our essential humanity, we still head straight to our corner Starbucks. Or the one across from that one. Or the one that will have opened farther down the block by the time we finish typing this sentence.

Here’s the thing, though: We’re never, ever in that mood.

What we do like is coffee. If coffee were smack, we’d be Pete Doherty and we’d refuse to give it up, even if it cost us our career and our supermodel girlfriend. And we’ll tank up anywhere: the neighborhood joint with the womyn-friendly breast-feeding policy and the couches composed entirely of rusty springs; the swill dispenser down the hall; an AA meeting. Anywhere, that is, but Starbucks.

In this we’re not alone. America is a caffeine nation, perpetually jacked up on gallons of magma-hot fuck-yeah juice, and logically you guys should still be making more money than Halliburton and Hannah Montana combined. Instead your market share is crumbling, and so is your cultural primacy. Snooty people have moved on to snootier coffee—shade-grown, fair-trade, artisanal, brought down the mountain by mules that have good dental coverage. Everybody else went back to Dunkin’ Donuts. You’re still part of the fabric of American life—think of Mary-Kate Olsen’s ever present Venti cup, proof despite massive evidence to the contrary that she’s Just Like Us—but so is soul-crushing corporate suckitude. Your new ads spotlight a straight-down-the-middle brew called Pike Place Roast. We’re glad you’re getting back into the coffee business—seriously, is there anything you haven’t put in a latte yet? Courvoisier? DayQuil? unicorn tears?—but we’ve tried this stuff, and it should come with an Egg McMuffin on the side. It’s a rich, complex blend of desperation and mediocrity.

The real problem is that there used to be something about you, Starbucks, and now there isn’t. You were a quintessentially ’90s company. You were from Seattle, the same rainy cradle of anticorporate corporateness that gave us Microsoft and major-label grunge. Young dreamers camped out in your stores all day like the cast of Friends, filling napkins with business plans for e-commerce Web sites. (“It’s like Pets.com for Wiccans!”) We were all going to get crazy rich and wear ironic sexy grandpa T-shirts to offices where we’d play Frisbee golf instead of working. A $4 latte wasn’t an extravagance; it was a little rehearsal for the cushy life that was about to be ours. Even your stupid fake-Italian language made us feel sophisticated. The 7-Eleven crowd could have their week-old bubblin’ crude; we’d be over here, talking like Marcello Mastroianni, because we knew better. Even back then, you seemed a little evil-empire-ish. But man, your chairs were comfy. So we drank your overpriced espresso-shakes. We drank them up!

You know the rest. Cobain died. We got Dubya, war, a recession, and our workplace doesn’t have a Centipede machine. We’re living in an era of diminished expectations, and if things aren’t going so well for you, maybe it isn’t because people resent your McDonald’s-esque omnipresence, those cups adorned with quotes from deep thinkers like Josh Groban and David Copperfield, or the fact that you roast your beans under the space shuttle. Maybe it’s because your neither-luxurious-nor-particularly-affordable idea of affordable luxury now seems like a nonfat, half-caf, quadruple-grande bad joke. With extra foam.

In other words, you’ve brought this on yourself. If we learned one thing from The Wire, it’s that you can only control all the corner real estate in town and pay disenfranchised young people to sling an addictive product for so long before you lose your grip on the game. But we’re not mad at you, Starbucks. Give us a call sometime. We’ll grab a coffee. It’s on us—we just shorted your stock.

Yours with shaky hands,

GQ


Actions

Information

3 responses

12 07 2008
Craig's Best Friend in Melbourne
12 07 2008
Pages tagged "starbucks"

[…] bookmarks tagged starbucks Alas poor Starbucks… saved by 3 others     nathendricks bookmarked on 07/13/08 | […]

13 07 2008
Craig

David… hehehe, are you getting royalties or referrals or something? 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: