Starbucks certainly has a diverse clientel

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by summitar, Apr 11, 2004.

  1. While passing a Starbucks recently,
  2. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

  3. While in line at a Starbucks in Nashville TN a couple of weeks back, I took a look at
    quivering caffiene junkies there with me...and thought of sheep.
  4. What is Starbucks exactly?
  5. Starbucks is a chain of coffee shops started in Seattle I think. They are posed to take over the world - there are already six of them in the rather small, low population area I live in. Good stock to own as they expand worldwide.
  6. Starbucks is a way of life/culture that should be forbidden. It is part of making every corner/mall/city block first in the US now in the rest of the world look and feel exactly the same. Situated right next to an Anne Taylor store, a Gap, a Banana Republic, Armani Exchange, with a parking lot with SUVs outside.
  7. I agree with Patrick. Starbucks is a very negative development.

    All they did was copy every minute detail of Peet's coffee in Berkeley EXCEPT the good coffee. Their motto was "most won't know the difference." Then they systematically dismantled all their competitors across the country.

    I can understand why people abandon small businesses for corporate chains in some circumstances -- Walmart really is a lot cheaper, and many people don't have time to shop at multiple small clothing stores instead of the gap.

    But to pay double price for a weak, mass-produced facsimile is strange. Sorry to be so OT.
  8. "But to pay double price for a weak, mass-produced facsimile is strange..."

    Not so strange if the only perceived option is the bilge water most office coffee services provide. The service my current outfit uses has come up with flavored options now.

    Anyone want to try anchovy-oregano coffee?
  9. Why is it when companies become successful they get attacked? This is a very European phenomenon and is often intimately connected with anti-Americanism (unless you are British and then success is always attacked whenever it appears). But it is prevalent among intellectuals everywhere. I see no reason to deride Starbucks quite honestly, if people do not like them and say away then they will close all on their own without all the pointless griping, but so far this has not happened has it?

    The developed world is all the same and has been for many, many decades, since the advent of cheap airfares. That's bad too of course.

    re Kerry's picture: I like trompe l'oeil images. I am making a collection of photos of them myself. I think you need to go closer though on this one.
  10. There is something to the ctiticism, nonetheless. Starbucks bought out Cafe Paradisio in St. Louis. It had been a wonderful place with not only excellent coffee, but even a breakfast bar where you could get pancakes, crepes, etc. Now, it's just another Starbucks. Phooey.
  11. "I see no reason to deride Starbucks " You've got to warn others. I'm on a personal Starbucks veto on purely economic grounds. Starbucks' official definition of a Capucino is half fluid and half froth. I know that because I rang up their UK head office to clarify it after I was given that in their North Swindon outlet (the one in the Borders book shop). Given that they don't charge half price, I've decided they can make their money out of others. On the other hand, I can heartily recomend the Costa Coffee bar in the Cirencester Ottakars book shop (do you see a pattern here?) which gives a full measure of coffee with froth on top.
  12. Robin, why get so defensive and believe that the world is out to attack America (an the insult to the Brits while you are at it) becasue someone ventilates an opinion?!? You cannot seriously want that every corner of the world offers you the same experience?

    My perfect example is Place De La Contrescarpe in the 5e Arr. in Paris. It used to be this amazing pictureque little square behind the Pantheon/Universite de Sorbonne. Along the square/place/piazza there was 2-3 small bistrots serving excellent food and drinks for all times of the day/night. It was even so idylic that I once saw Renault filming a car commercial there in this oh-so-picture-perfect old world Parisian square. Then Haegen-Daz marched in, completly took over/renovated a building covering 1/4 of the square and it now looks like something out of any American mall. Please...
  13. I like the dog shots that Dale and Eric submitted, and agree with Robin that Kerry's photo has promise but might benefit from a closer perspective -- more mural and less edifice.

    And I'll side squarely with Robin on the Starbuck's phenomenon, too. The claim that they all look alike is flatly refuted by the pictures themselves. My observation is that Starbucks has done better than most when it comes to achieving or preserving architectural harmony with existing structures, expanding outdoor/courtyard areas (which I like), and offering a reasonably comfortable place for coffee.

    They don't all look alike, but they smell alike and taste alike, and they sound alike, too. That's all on purpose. Yes, they are expensive, but often not more expensive than locally-owned quality coffee shops who compete with them. And when I can, I go to those, too. In fact, I'll often go to those first, provided they are smoke-free, because I'm allergic to smoke, and even if I weren't, I'd much rather leave smelling like an expresso than a pack of Marlboros.

    The "driving out the competition" talk sounds as though we're talking about Microsoft. Come on, fellas. We aren't.

    And Beau, say what you will about Starbucks. Tastes are very individual and subjective. But do you really think the taste of Starbucks coffee is weak?

    A Disclaimer: I don't own Starbucks stock. I never have.

    A Lament: There have been a number of occasions on which I wished that I owned the stock and had passed on the coffee. (Too much of a good thing ...)
  14. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I’m with Patrick and Beau on this. Starbucks is corporate greed. Starbucks is homogenization. Bulldozing into communities with billions of dollars and running mom and pop out of town, replacing a good living with minimum wage. And although unaware, I’m sure they’re right up there with McDonald’s and the decimation of the environment and third world cultures. Starbucks is only good for the occasional photograph.
  15. accept it is against Starbuck's corporate policy to take photos inside a Starbuck or photograph any of their employees/interiors.

    Just the tough of using "corpoarate policy" and "coffee" in same sentence sums it up pretty well...
  16. I agree w/Pat & Beau re: Starbucks representing homogenization, but I don't think that they're evil. Having been introduced to decent coffee in early '80s Berkeley, CA, I'm quite familiar w/Peet's, but the fact is that Starbucks has succeeded because most of their competition was pretty bad (unlike Peets, which is still in business), incompetent, or nonexistent, just as many of the small burger joints driven out of business by McDonalds, Burger King, etc. in the 1950s & 60s were actually pretty bad. I personally don't think Starbucks is that good (I prefer Quartermaine, a local DC roaster actually run by the folks who started Starbucks & were then forced out by the current management), but it ain't the worst that's out there. Besides, don't you drive an SUV, Patrick?
  17. I most certainly do, filled with kids, double strollers, diapers - the works! As a snow loving Swede and former ski instructor who actually like/use the 4x4 function, although there is way too little snow falling in DC every year!

    I should add that I'm not anti-Starbuck/revolutionary about it, I do buy a latte for my wife there every now and then. It is more of a sad observation.
  18. This is a European phenomenon

    Really, i thought they were for the 'stick out your little finger' brigade. Expensive coffee, in a sterile boring environment. I thought they were a Mac Donald thing? Prefer MacDonald. Value for money.

    Toddy Breaks, at a good and wholesome place, for the office machines.

    European tradition...i thought it was a about having a pint, or a glass of wine in a place of life and atmosphere.

    Glad i'm wrong with those wicked thoughts.
  19. Isn't Peets becoming a chain also. I know of one in Santa Cruz. The secret of Starbucks success is consistancy, they all taste the same which is better than average. I know I can pull off the freeway anywhere in California and ask someone where the nearest Starbucks is and it usually is no more than 5 minutes away. Actually I quit coffee a year ago as part of a general health upgrade and let me tell you, this is one very addicting drug.
  20. It's not so simple as hating a company when it gets successful. I admire a number of successful companies; many make money by making our lives better. Starbucks is an example of a company making money by making many of our lives worse.

    As I understand it, the history of Starbucks is that, after copying everything about Peet's except for the quality of the coffee, they went from town to town, quietly buying up and then shutting down the most successful local and regional coffee shops. In Cambridge, Mass, as they were buying a beloved local chain called Coffee Connection, local citizens protested. Some high-ranking Starbucks executives attended a town meeting and, looking sincere in their blue jeans, assured everyone that they had no intention of changing such a great local tradition and pledged to be a hands-off owner of the chain. A few months later they closed all the Coffee Connection shops.

    This is just a story I heard on Boston NPR, but I've heard a lot of similar stories (the one above about St. Louis, for example).
  21. they all taste the same

    And look the same; what a sad thought.
  22. They *don't* all taste the same - to my taste, Starbuck's over-roasts their coffee, so it tastes a bit burned. I like Peet's much better, but both are better than watery coffee from most non-coffee-specialist outlets.

    BTW I've had no trouble with corporate policy when taking photos in Starbuck's, even when working very obviously with ostentatious equipment.
  23. George Howell sold Coffee Connection to Starbucks for $23M. The nerve of him - there
    oughta be a law...
  24. Starbucks is something of a mixed bag. As these sort of enterprises go they are rather caring of their work force with non standard benefit packages. Also I believe they are trying to do something about the coffee industry's more rapacious practices in the growing/ wholesale sectors. And their founder, in best Seattle tradition, gives lavishly and actively to worthy causes. On the other hand they are something of a blight on the landscape, a kind of coffee Borg. In Vancouver BC for example they once put two shops on opposite corners in an attempt to "corner" the market. And on Commercial Drive in the same city they invaded an eclectic neighborhood of italian coffee bars. Residents there, however, did not go quietly. Starbucks found it quite difficult to to keep glass in their windows. Personally, I can't stand this sort of mega-plague, although sometimes I find myself inside the belly of the beast despite myself.
  25. I agree the quality of the coffee at Starbucks isn't anything special--my neighborhood's cafes have significantly better coffee. Starbucks doesn't let employees show their tattoos, either To Starbucks' credit, though, they do provide excellent benefits for their employees (even part timers), so the claims of corporate greed may be overstated.
    the girls are prettier at Fido . . .
  26. Mike, can i have a double shot of that please... ;-)

    Seriously, my beef isn't so much about corporate greed but rather about the sameness of the urban landscape. in my dream world, different cities/places, look differently, have their own culture and history. it is about individuality, not about predicatability and consistency.
  27. I agree with Dean... Starbucks acts far more responsibly towards the environment than a vast majority of other retail food companies... and they aren't horrid to their employees on a company level. On a corporate level, they are a model of how a company should behave in these matters.

    However... they do have a habit of picking on the little guy. They sue mom & pop companies with similar names... even if its their family name & they existed long before Starbucks went national, let alone global. The small mom & pop shop is of no threat to them yet they still choose to bully such places & throw their financial might behind such tactics.

    There is also the "sameness" factor. This speeks more about the US population than about the corporations because we allow these companies to invade our main streets and our eclectic parts of town & we then as a nation shop and give them our business. It disgusts me that Chelsae in NYC has essentially turned into an outdoor mall, but those stores are succeeding due to the flocks of customers who choose Crate & Barrel and The Renovation Store over smaller, privately owned shops.
  28. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    “agree with Dean... Starbucks acts far more responsibly towards the environment than a vast majority of other retail food companies... and they aren't horrid to their employees on a company level. On a corporate level, they are a model of how a company should behave in these matters.”

    That’s ridiculous, start reading Adbusters. Starbucks is no different than Mcdonalds going into Brazil and deforesting for beef burgers. With the advertising revenue of Starbucks, you wont hear about the depletion of soil in asia for this new crop, rendering it useless, and unable to return to traditional rice crops. The IMF is lending thousands for coffee plantations to poor farmers, only to have most farmers finding their land reposed a few years later due to failure. They're not only damaging the environment for a quick bourgeoisie ‘buzz’ over here, their decimating cultures that have been doing quite fine for thousands of years over there. Starbucks is not the happy ‘green’ company you’ve been marketed too.
  29. Well, I don't want to come off like Mr. Molotov Cocktail, because in fact corporate America has been good to me in many ways, and there are many companies more evil than Starbucks. I just choose not to get my coffee from them (and I wish more people would do the same). If nothing else, the trend toward fewer and fewer conglomerates controlling more and more of the marketplace is a bad, bad thing.

    I would add that some of you ought to be more critical of what you read in corporate press releases.
  30. I'm reminded of a chain of burger joints here in Colorado called "Good Times".
    Now these guys are a local chain, use 100% local natural Coleman beef, and
    actually build a burger that has fresh ingredients. The flat out destroy a
    burger from McD's or BK- and have fast and friendly service. I think there are
    more popping up here and there. Perhaps there is room for competition
  31. "... the decimation of the environment and third world cultures. ..."
    As a card-carrying member of the "Third World," allow me the humble permission to state that these cultures (whatever you mean by that, sounds kinda condescending) are decimating themselves, with or without the aid of Starbucks. Any "culture" is a figment of PBS/National Geographic-type voodoo thinking. Yes, it exists, but is usually preserved by a very small group within the countries, and craved by expatriots who would never set foot in the countries of their origin because they are too Americanized to withstand the rigors of third world life, and cannot do without running hot and cold.
    As for the economic arguments put forth, it's very white of you to speculate on the destructive aspects of Starbucks and its ilk. Whatever happened to the concept of free enterprise? Most third world countries have no economies to speak of, and welcome any corporation that brings jobs. Nobody thinks long term there. There are pros and cons of this, and coffee is a small price to pay. There are other multinationals that raise the quality of life, so if "First World" people want to pay $3.00 for a cup of coffee, nobody's holding a gun to their heads to do so. You sound like a bunch of limousine liberals.
  32. Some people may differ, but Starbucks' success suggests that many customers are very satisfied with their products and service. Ditto for Wal-Mart, MacDonald's, etc.

    Personally, I have no problem with these chains moving into other nations. If downtown Baghdad had some Starbucks and MacDonald's, our delusionary pro-capitalist President probably would not have been so eager to bomb Iraq.
  33. "You sound like a bunch of limousine liberals."

    Amazingly, I agree with Vic! There really is something perverse about the hate that Starbucks generates. If Peets had become the most famous coffee shop in the world then all of you would complaining about it instead of Starbucks.

    Harvey is right about their capuccino. A better approach to what I consider the real thing is their latte, but this is all about taste, not the company themselves.

    The curious thing also is that the Starbucks phenomenon has also encouraged other shops to cash in on the Starbucks idea too and they now exist as a kind of post-Starbucks often in places where Starbucks don't want to go or because they have not discovered it yet. They sell the idea of a "European" cafe idea but withoout actually being Starbucks.

    As to Patrick's complaints about homogenization you are basically wanting to return to a mythical earlier age where nations really were different. So do I in a way too, but Starbucks is a tiny part of what has happened to the world since WW2, it is absurd to be so critical of them. Take the Nyhavn in Copenhagen pictured above. It is certainly not anything other than a total tourist experience - it has been that way for at least 20 years - way before Starbucks was even a twinkle in anyone's eye.
  34. Robin et al,
    there is nothing "mythical" about nation/places being different - it is a real fact! Coffee might be a global favorite pass-time, but they way it is consumed is definitely different depending on where you go in the world. To [over]generalize, Americans like to consume it while driving, an Italian work day, even at a high tech company, usually start by awaiting the arrival of your colleagues and you simply stroll down to the local place for a standing shot of your favorite black caffein, Swedes drink it in the afternoon with smal biscuits at the Konditori, in the northern parts actually by pouring on the assiette/plate and then putting a cube of sugar between the lips (don't ask me why), and so forth. Just don't tell me that the world and the customs around it are the same every where!

    Sure, the world is getting "smaller" as more and more people travel, information is readily available at our fingertips via internet, and globalization in general are bringing products/services to far away corners of the world. I'm not saying that Starbucks is driving this phenomenon alone, but it was rather the discussion at hand. I personally just don't like being confronted with the same consumer experience everywhere I go in the world. I wouldn't dream of visiting a Starbucks if I were in Paris, Tokyo or Stockholm, I'd look for the local tradition instead.
  35. Starbucks, a commercial enterprise. A place for the chattering classes. Suits.

    Try a French/Italian cafe. The real world, with real people.
  36. Well, I might be a "limousine liberal" but I'm not falling for the half-baked economics that says a corporation's success is necessarily due to "free enterprise" or anything like it. Broadly speaking, most successful corporations (and many people) accumulate money by finding ways to defeat the workings of free markets in one way or another. Usually that involves introducing frictions through various kinds of monopoly power, capturing legal and regulatory apparatus, etc. etc. Anyway, I have a lot of respect for Magic Johnson, who happens to be the world's only Starbucks franchisee.
  37. "...but I'm not falling for the half-baked economics that says a corporation's success is necessarily due to "free enterprise" or anything like it. Broadly speaking, most successful corporations (and many people) accumulate money by finding ways to defeat the workings of free markets in one way or another."

    Certainly you are correct about the sources of much business profit. While business success does sometimes result from owners' abilities to limit competition, it more often (IMO) results from their abilities to efficiently satisfy consumers' desires. And I have never read anything about Starbucks that suggests they have succeeded through manipulations, so am concluding that they simply offer products and prices that many consumers find appealing. What evidence do you have suggesting that they have illegally quashed competition?
  38. "... Broadly speaking, most successful corporations (and many people) accumulate money by finding ways to defeat the workings of free markets in one way or another. Usually that involves introducing frictions through various kinds of monopoly power, capturing legal and regulatory apparatus, etc. etc. ..."
    Broadly speaking, this is balderdash. Pure leftist propoganda, without any basis in fact. To say "most" is a gross exaggeration.
  39. Abilities to efficiently satisfy consumers' desires.

    If you tell folks enough times thought the media, they will believe anything. Even folks paying 3 dollars for a cup of coffee in the third world. What a sad thought.
  40. Why is it when companies become successful they get attacked? This is a very European phenomenon and is often intimately connected with anti-Americanism (unless you are British and then success is always attacked whenever it appears) Robin - your paranoia is not welcomed here. I have travelled extensively in the States and could easily say that, it seems in my experience, all Americans are fat, self-indulgent, oblivious of (and insensitive to) other cultures. Having had a broad experience of the world I realise that while this might seem to be true it is in fact untrue. However, your statement on the Europeans and British are making me reconsider.
  41. Sorry that was Patrick - apologies
  42. No it was Robin. What a day!
  43. See, I've been arguing that a edit function to one's own posts would be darn handy here! :) Regardless, I tend to share the sentiment...
  44. Personally, I'm not a fan of Starbucks coffee (which I consider horribly overpriced).
    What I don't like about them is that they take over entire neighborhoods. I can think
    of at least two places in Manhattan where you can stand on a corner and be within a
    block of three Starbucks. Manhattan has become a mall and Starbucks is a contributor
    to this.
  45. anti-Americanism (unless you are British and then success is always attacked whenever it appears)

    Most Brits are not Anti- American. The real world. But, unlike most, they know when they are being sold to. They like to make folks aware of that fact. Of course, that does not stop them buying the product.
  46. I think James has just filled his nappie. Usually happens when he gets tired and bored. Can understand why he's bored.
  47. I thought this was all about somewhere to drink a Coffee.

    I am with Harvey on this one. My local Ottakars bookshop has a "Costa Coffee". Very nice with a chocolate brownie and a Cappucino, on a day off, when the weather is awful outside, to buy a good book and sit for a hour and get lost in it. Who cares if they are a big national chain? The scabby greasy little cafes they are replacing deserve to go to the wall. (Along with the filth they used to serve up as tea and coffee.)

    Someone comes along and gives me nice surroundings, pleasant staff, good coffee, tempting brownies AND and a sofa with a few thousand books to peruse thrown in then I wave goodbye, cheerfully, to all those greasy, smokey, 'caffs' with their resentful staff and smell of burnt fat and acrid tea. The sort of places with clientele who would like they wanted to beat you to a pulp if you pulled something to read out a bag. Unless it was that days copy of the 'Sun'.
  48. copy of the 'Sun'.

    Actually, i heard that Rupert was going to buy, Starbucks. He's sort of place. The mindless. Bored with the greasy spoon places, the intellectual elite have moved there.

    Of course they don't read the Sun, only read the Mail. Intellectually challenging, has long words, and a crossword puzzle.

    See, they are proper clever!
  49. nice pleasant plastic surroundings, and pleasant robotic staff. Hey, you can have plastic, low wage earners, too. Job centre. They have to smile, or else! Plastic, like the place they are in. One day, they will all be Managers. yes, they will!

    For plastic people...and for the stainless sterile steel types, who want that touch of sterile/plastic class. Starbucks, the place to be seen. Free copies of the Mail. Hey, who needs the Sun.
  50. A failure of the education system to train them to do something worth while with their lives.

    Making coffee, or frying burgers, seems sort of sad. Maybe those who frequent such places, should role their sleaves up, and cook their own food. Rather than wanting folk to toddy to them, and waste their lives.
  51. Well, a lot of us probably have worked the occasional menial job. Fits the bill
    sometimes when they're unemployed and working their way up.
  52. a very interesting & entertaining thread, thanks. Star*ucks is a symptom of a changing world, but SUV`s are a much worse symptom. Imagine everybody driving a SUV! <br><br>Imagine 1 billion Chinese all driving SUV`s! Maybe in another 10 years, if GM c.s. reach their growth targets? How long before we walk around with gas masks eating purely synthetical food? <br><br>"We're doomed, lemmetellya, doomed..." unless people stand up against the marketing hype, think for themselves and take THEIR OWN responsability. Chuck the SUV for instance. Unfortunately the USA, together with Australia the biggest producer of greenhouse gasses per capita, and with close to zero media diversity, is a very unlikely place for that to happen. But I remain optimistic and do believe in miracles.
  53. Darn, I'm starting to see some stron resemblance between this thread and the Annual World Bank/IMF meetings here in DC...

    Chris Chen got some good pix from those I think.
  54. Starbucks is a way of life/culture that should be forbidden </ blockquote>​

    There are none in Syria, Iran or Cuba. They have such wonderful histories of forbidding activities too.​
  55. All of the Starbucks in these here parts are Hotspots, so people
    get off on that.

    Hotspots as in IEEE 802.11(b) wireless Ethernet open
    environments. 2.4GHz T1 Internet access, no charge. Well,
    except for the $4 cup of coffe and the $3 scones.
  56. There's a difference between coffee and espresso drinks. At NYC Starbucks shops, which
    possibly have the most expensive coffee prices in the US a small cup of coffee is $1.55 and
    a scone is under $2. Where do you have $4 coffees and $3 scones, Dan?
  57. Starbucks provides rent-free office space with a free internet connection for computer savvy Dell-laptop-using ex-dot-commers looking for their next minimum wage job. Full of women with pierced tongues and labia. That's worth a cup or two. Let's not forget Panera and Whole Foods, two other yupster hangouts.

    From an aesthetic standpoint, the heavy, baggy, sweats-wearing, McDonalds eating women go to the "Stop and Shop" while the trendy, "just been to Aspen" skinny rich tanned women go to Whole Foods, Panera, and Starbucks. America is certainly one of the most class conscious countries, with one of the biggest income disparities in the "First World."

    There's nothing plastic about Starbucks, they provide a pleasant atmosphere for the price you pay. Very upscale feeling, even for those who don't belong!
  58. So Vic, have you done a census to determine the percentage of females (employees and customers) at said establishment who have pierced labia? What was your opening gambit? :)

    Funny you should mention Panera. They were shut down in Boulder, CO for nonpayment of taxes.

    Oh, and James - shame on you. Now I've got a hankering for Good Times burgers & frozen custard. Guess I'll have to wait till Friday...

    Back to Starbucks - check out this link:
  59. How about an Easter rebbit!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My daughter works there!!
  60. Yup -- It's between $1.55 and $1.70 for a cup; more in some non-US locations; a bit more on the toll road; more in some airports, too; and certainly more for the fancy frappachadiadado concoctions I personally don't like and occasionally mispronounce accidentally on purpose.

    But since we've been talking here for nearly 24 hours, Starbucks has miraculously picked up on the hints in this thread, gained monopolistic control over the market, predatorily priced out every other hot coffee seller from sea to shining sea, knocked down their stores, and raised prices to $3.00 or $4.00 a cup.

    By the time we wake up on Tuesday, they'll have dismantled the wi-fi, taken out the comfortable chairs, forbidden all reading, and imposed a 10 minute limit on all in-store conversations.

    Only in America!
  61. Good rabbit shot, Gary. Of course, Gary's posting from the pokey, where he's doing 2 to 5 with time off for good behavior for having broken the "no photography" rules. The fact that an employee was photographed was mentioned by the sentencing judge as a factor in aggravation.

    On a serious note, I did hear on NPR this evening that Folgers (owned by a tiny company called Proctor and Gamble) is raising prices on its commercially delivered coffee.

    I sure hope a moderator deletes this discussion before we get to the point where we have to choose between coffee and film.
  62. Last one for me. Earlier -- much earlier -- I endorsed comments by Robin on Starbucks. I've re-read his remarks more carefully, and now want to clarify that I meant to embrace only his remarks directed at "marketplace" phenomena, pointing out that if folks didn't like Starbucks, it wouldn't be as successful as it is.

    I don't share the view that criticisms of Starbucks, voiced here and elsewhere, are somehow "European" (or British) in origin or character. For me, that introduces a nationalistic flavor to this cup of coffee that is potentially divisive (and needlessly so), and perhaps has been shown by this very discussion to be inaccurate as well.

    It's late. Tomorrow I'm gonna need that coffee.
  63. Allen, going to a coffe shop (even in a book shop) doesnt mark one down as an intellectual elite!

    You reading the 'Mail' instead of the 'Sun' certainly does'nt. (I cannot think of a worse newspaper apart from maybe the Guardian which is pretentious twaddle.)

    Your insulting remarks about the 'plastic' staff in coffee shops astounds me. These are real people who serve in coffee shops and bars and shops you know? (My daughter attends the local university and helps to support herself by being a 'plastic person' at Waitrose on Friday evenings and Saturdays. I was once a 'plastic person' in a KFC and a Hif-fi shop and a bowling alley some 27 years ago when I was helping to support myself as a student in a similar way.)

    I hope this resolute conviction that you the client (real) and the staff (plastic) have this intellectual gulf between you, is dispelled if any young relative or friend of yours has to help pay back many thousands of pounds in student loans by working in such a position.
  64. Wow, I hadn't intended to create a cause celebre, but I have been entertained and mystified by the varied comments. Seems like Starbucks is a rival to microsoft for the title "evil empire". My typical morning routine is to brew a thermos of coffee at home, freshly ground Starbucks beans but purchased at Costco at considerable cost savings. I stop at a Starbucks along the way to work to purchase either a slice of banana bread or an orange cranberry scone to eat in the car as my breakfast, and one of their excellent sandwiches to eat for lunch. May I recommend the Turkey with Havarti for US $4.95. The food is consisently good. As I wait in line, I am amused by the people specifying their coffee requirements to the n'th degree. I often ask the cashier, "Hey, can I just get a cup of coffee here?" I usually drink my own in the car, but when not available I usually order a grande latte, which fills my 23 mile commute as I listen to NPR. Little do they know that I am a card carrying member of the NRA and a 44 year member of the AMS. I do my best to dodge and evade the "tripple witches" I encounter on my commute: an oriental female driver who is using a cell phone. Like many of you, I continue to be amazed that Starbucks can thrive while charging $3.00 plus for a OK but not exceptional cup of coffee, but the service and hygeine and consistency are very good. If you sit in the place to drink your coffee, they don't hustle you out.
  65. Hey Stuart- over there you have In n' Out, which seems pretty darn good. But you already
    knew that...
  66. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "I am a card carrying member of the NRA and a 44 year member of the AMS. I do my best to dodge and evade the "tripple witches" I encounter on my commute: an oriental female driver who is using a cell phone."

    oh boy
  67. OK OK I give up, what is the AMS (American Musicologist/mathemetical/meteorological Society ?? Google suggests them all) And what is a "tripple witch"? (Google didnt help at all with that one.)

    I cannot see that a person using a cellphone in a car is any more or less safe than person juggling a large, hot, take-out coffee whilst driving. (Gender and nationality can be left out of this as they are completely irrelelant to the act of driving with or without a coffee or cellphone!)

    I know what the the NRA is. courtesy of Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" and numerous gun related threads on PN in past years.

    I am English and despite tring to keep up I have to ask for help sometimes.
  68. OK, I guess I should own up and take responsibility for introducing a negative comment about the Starbuckization of every city/corner of the world. My bad. Sorry.

    To you know whom - lighten up, it is just an expression.

    All - it is not a "small" cup of coffee, it is a "tall"...
  69. I lived in San Francisco at a time when Starbucks started to take over the major residential areas but the then new anti-smoking laws had the most impact in driving under the neighborhood coffee houses. I have nothing against Starbuck's business model but rather its bad coffee, but while in Beijing or Shanghai I find Starbucks to be a quite a nice oasis.
  70. >All - it is not a "small" cup of coffee, it is a "tall"...

    Don't you find it annoying when Starbucks staff can't pronounce "grande" properly? Us
    pathetic Amercians....sheesh..
  71. Just a bit of fun, on a fun thread, Trevor. Keep your hair on;)

    I was once a 'plastic person' in a KFC. Funny comment.

    I'm not sure what the expression 'intellectual elite' actually means. It is a term originally coined by Harvey, when he is having one of his little moments with Robert Applebury. Gets Robert's goat out, so as to speak, when Harvey uses it on him. I find it a fun expression to use.

    Anyway, Harvey, can do the Sun crossword in three weeks. So there. So he must be intellectually elite.
  72. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

  73. As a Briton myself I can be as rude as I like about the British -- so there. You know its true. Actually it is related to the idea put forward so elegantly by someone above that success MUST have come through foul practice. Occasionally yes, but often not. Of course if it is an American company then, in addition, its success must be due to oppressing the natives and brutally forcing people to buy products they would have no intention of buying otherwise under threat of military action, or equally foul and dastardly pressure. I see no evidence that Starbucks fall into the "foul practice" category but they are American so, presumably, guilty of what I said in my penultimate sentence.
  74. Kerry -

    I see that you're very new to Eric's point is well taken. Speaking for myself, I'll say that the taunting of "Oriental female" drivers is offensive is out of bounds.

    Recognizing that it was certainly intended to be in jest, I hope you'll find another way to joke with us in your future posts.

    Not sure why Eric also quoted your references to NRA and AMS? Non sequiturs they are, but objectionable they aren't. And since mathematicians, meteorologists, and musicologists, among others, all seem to use some form of "AMS" designation, I'm curious which is yours?

    Can't say I agree with you, Kerry, on the food at Starbucks. For me, the baked goods seem dry, flavorless, and overpriced. If the food were the best Starbucks had to offer, I'd pass altogether.
  75. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Okay, if anyone is really interested in the harm of Starbucks, do your own google search. There’s tons of info from bankrupting poor farmers in countries outside The G8, to paying landlords not to renew the leases of the established competition in your neighbourhood so they can open shop. Do you really think a company like this can get so big so fast without doing damage somewhere? Of course they have. All you can do is choose to drink their coffee or not. Now post some damn pics!
  76. "the idea put forward so elegantly by someone above that success MUST have come through foul practice"

    I didn't say that. I said "most corporations accumulate money by..." which isn't to say they accumulate ALL their money that way.

    And "foul practice" is not the same as what I said they do: finding ways to create market frictions or inefficiencies that help them. Is it "foul practice" to lobby legislators to put tariffs on foreign competitors? Or to buy and then dissolve strong competitors? Or to create a shell offshore parent-entity to gain tax advantages? Or to operate money-losing locations to starve out rivals? Maybe, maybe not. These things are legal, and yet they are arguably contrary to the notion of "free markets," just like professional guilds, patent laws, real estate zoning laws, etc. etc. That was my point. I was refuting the naive notion that Starbucks has done nothing but sell a better product at an attractive price.
  77. Eric, you keep posting stuff that steals my thunder while I'm busy typing ;)
  78. "Is it "foul practice" to lobby legislators to put tariffs on foreign competitors? Or to buy and then dissolve strong competitors? Or to create a shell offshore parent-entity to gain tax advantages? Or to operate money-losing locations to starve out rivals? Maybe, maybe not. These things are legal, and yet they are arguably contrary to the notion of "free markets," just like professional guilds, patent laws, real estate zoning laws, etc. etc."
    Good points. But I don't think we can blame profit-seeking entrepreneurs for taking full advantage of legal tactics in order to get ahead, as that is how the system is supposed to work. The problem is a government which legalizes and (through the tax system) rewards, at consumers' and taxpayers' expense, such behavior. Beau, if you haven't already seen it, you might look up the new book "Perfectly Legal" by David Cay Johnston. It'll make your blood boil.
  79. I withdraw my previous remark about tripple witching; it was intended to be mildly amusing with a tiny grain of truth, not to be offensive. I do think that talking on a cell phone while driving is extremely hazardous as it seems to divert attention as much or more than anything else, and it is extremely common, more common say, than dropping a lighted cigarette in your lap, or having a large angry hornet inside the car. Female drivers, like male drivers, run the spectrum of ability -- they seem to me to be more likely to occupy the fastest lane and drive just at or below the speed limit, and won't pull over to let anyone pass. The same with ah, non-native(?) drivers. I'll keep my opinions to myself. The term tripple witching is a term associated with the US stock market when three events that can cause large market swings occur on the same day. AMS I'll keep to myself. NRA is an organization that provides technical information on firearms and are advocates of the 2nd amendment, just as the ACLU are advocates of the 1st amendment. Both go way over the top sometimes. NRA members are rarely involved with criminal acts regarding firearms. Like free choicers regarding abortions, they want the government to butt out, but the NRA would like the government to vigorously apply the existing laws. I am a law obeying citizen who is aging and getting weaker through disease, and I don't know why I can't carry a concealed weapon in NYC to protect myself, as I can in my home state. Of course if you are will healed or well connected, you can carry a weapon in NYC.
  80. [​IMG]
    in Nashville, caffeinate yourself at Fido or Bongo Java--fair-trade coffee and the prettiest girls around
  81. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    NRA? How could anyone advocate the NRA after Bowling For Columbine? I wish that the only weapons people carried where M6’s or F3’s loaded with HP5

    I wish I could concentrate on doing my year end taxes…
  82. Mike, are we seeing a slow shutter speed, or a lot of caffeine?
  83. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

  84. George Carlin did a very funny routine on "I want coffee flavored coffee." At Starbucks there is a plethora of combinations, enough to intimidate anyone. Brevi, half latte, half frappe, shaken not stirred, yada yada.
  85. I'm definitely sure I like the photos displayed in this thread (apart for my own snap which was nothing mor than jus that) than all the jiddrish, mine included.

    Eric - really did the old lady fondling her fags!
  86. Those aren't flavors; they're options.

    When did choice become bad?
  87. Well, I rather prefer 7-11 coffee. Most of the SB coffee tastes over-roasted to me (like
    Euro-coffee YUK!). As for Wi-Fi, I like my Apple Airport better, don't have to deal with all
    the cyber loafers burning the bandwidth at the coffe shop.
  88. George Carlin did a very funny routine on "I want coffee flavored coffee."
    Wasn't that Denis Leary? Or did Denis rip off George Carlin as he had Bill Hicks?
  89. You're right, it's Dennis Leary. All these guys on Comedy Central become a blur after a while.
  90. Trevot Hair, has stolen Harvey's hair. See, Harvey has to use boot polish on his bounce now; for the look better. He lost his hair in the Boar War, he was scared sht..less.

    Trevor is happy now. He's got proper hare. Not that plastic stuff.
  91. Think i'll have a cup of tea, lot nicer than that £4.00 coffee crap.
  92. Allen,
    Would that be English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Orange Peoke, Chai (sweetened or unsweetened), green, black, white, decaf? Or... just plain old Liptons?
  93. "Plain old Liptons" - shudder! That's not tea Heather, that's a poor imitation. PG Tips, Typhoo, Yorkshire Gold, or the proper Tetley (not the fake stuff sold here in the US under the same brand name) beats a cup of coffee any day. Thanks to the declining Dollar, I'm paying comparatively stupid amounts for imported British teabags. What makes it worse is seeing the UK price on the packaging - less than a Pound for a box of 40, and yet I'm paying $7-9 for it. But it's still a damn sight cheaper than anything at Starbucks.
  94. They see Allen coming with that Leica around his neck, and they jack up the prices just for
  95. I tend to avoid Starbucks in the U.S. In Japan it's another story. It is one of a few places in Japan that I can go and not have cigarette smoke blown in my face. The coffee isn't bad; I just wish they won't serve it in paper cups. In Kobe I am passionately local to the Cosmopolitan coffeeshop which belongs to friends. But I do moonlight at Starbucks sometimes. Here is a shot from Starbucks in Motomachi, Kobe.
  96. "Why is it when companies become successful they get attacked?... I see no reason to deride Starbucks..."


    Try Gevalia coffee, Robin. You'll find plenty of reasons to deride Starbucks after that experience.
  97. Pleanty of reasons to deride Gevalia, actually.
  98. Totally unrelated to photography. Damn. After spending time in Italy, I just can't take Starbucks coffee. I'm drinking some Italian beans from AG Ferrarri in Palo Alto that I really love (whose name is too far away from me now - not Illy).
  99. well..........seeing as you guys have pretty much used all the available material in the case against Starbucks, thought I'd provide some old material...............against

    General Motors

    even if only half of all that is actually true.......GM has a lot to answer to.
  100. Actually, right here in North Miami, we have a great home grown coffee house called the Luna Star Cafe on 125th Street across from city hall. A couple years ago, shortly after Starbucks opened here in town, Alexis decided that the Luna Star needed nitely live entertainment which required a $6 or $7 cover charge. If I'm just going in for a cup of coffee for maybe half an hour I don't want to pay the cover. Since then it's been Starbucks for me.

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