Lichen Frittata

Why Starbucks doesn’t get it

Posted in Uncategorized by lichenfrittata on July 20, 2009
A contradiction in terms!

A contradiction in terms!

Sigh:  Starbucks is trying to convert a few of its Seattle stores into local-feeling coffeeshops by shedding the name “Starbucks” entirely, and getting a liquor license.  I understand the desire to not cede its home ground, to try to reclaim its roots as a purveyor of good brews and a cozy atmosphere. It helped being these essential elements of Seattle cafe culture to the world, and I think really considers them part of its corporate ethos. But let’s face it: Starbucks has cannibalized local coffee shops in Seattle for years, and residents will only resent a cheesy makeover. Trying to manufacture authenticity inevitably rings hollow–last summer they put in a community bulletin board at one shop on U St., but overplayed their hand by proclaiming, “This is YOUR coffeeshop!” If it were, why would they need to declare it so?

Starbucks, I rely on you for a decent cup of coffee in brew deserts like Chicago O’Hare, and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I don’t need more of you in my bean-crazy hometown, with its honest-to-god bauhauses on every corner. If you want to improve your facilities, please make them smell less like cleaning agents, and keep toilet paper in the bathrooms. Now is a time for the basics.

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