Jan 15, 2009

Why the animus against Starbucks?

Not just in this incident, in which Palestinian sympathizers trashed a store in London, but Starbucks is also derided by a certain class of people who have a habit of verbalizing the overpriced coffee store's name with a set of sneer quotes around it.

Starbucks has, for some reason, joined the likes of McDonald's, Coca Cola and Wal-Mart in the Corporate Hall of Shame. The first two have been consigned to that neighborhood because they sell POISON to the CHILDREN. The last because it sells to cheap consumer goods to those obese children and their even fatter parents.

But Starbucks sells expensive coffee and coffee paraphernalia to the middle and upper middle classes. Plus, Starbucks adds its own idiotic lingo, shrouds the whole coffee-making process in mystery and ritual and natters on about its corporate social responsibility ad nauseum. The sneerers usually love that shit.

So why all the Starbucks hate?


Holmes said...

The sneerers also hate themselves.

swag said...

For most people, the hate reflects a sense of class warfare that they somehow aren't good enough for $4 lattes.

For the rest of us, the hate reflects a company that sold its soul a decade ago to grow at all costs, turning out crap product processed by the barely-trained monkeys they could hire as fast as they opened their stores from '96-'07. They are superautomated fast food coffee these days. Like Gorbachev after Perestroika, the revolution moved on and now they're just a shell of something useful from darker days.

Holmes said...

Excuse me, but doesn't a company growing indicate that it is, in fact, meeting people's needs? Granted, they've had to contract recently, as have many, showing that perhaps they have overreached. But the idea that a company has a "soul" seems like kind of a stretch to begin with. They just are.

jonathan said...

I dislike the bullshit lingo and barrista pretension and ignore the tip jar (does McDonald's have tip jars?). But I sometimes patronize Starbucks, because like McDonald's it may be the only convenient place to get a snack when you're out and about. It's also a convenient place to work. Unlike Starbucks, which prospers by serving customers, the "anti-corporate" critics are parasites who live by attacking successful businesses and people.

Rachel said...

I ignore the tip jar and I never use the jargon, though I am a fairly steady customer. Starbucks provides a reliably good cup of coffee at every location. That's part of its appeal. I suspect the haters despise it for its success, A Mom and Pop coffeehouse, to them, is a worthy enterprise. But if Mom and Pop go global, they're evil.

jonathan said...

That's it. It's like the animus against chain bookstores.