Sunday, April 27, 2008

Love me a latte

I love Starbucks. That seems a silly thing to say, since obviously a lot of people do--it's more notable (or at least more chic) for someone to say they don't like Starbucks. I do consider myself a true fan, though, even buying those Christmas ornaments they offered that look like Starbucks to-go cups. The fact that they designed and sold those things blew me away, given the brand loyalty a company has to assume to try that move. You don't even see McDonalds selling golden arch Christmas ornaments...

People make fun of the chain's ubiquity, and I enjoy a good laugh at that fact too. I love how it's spoofed in Shrek 2, with the two "Farbucks" shops right across the street from one another. When Matt and I were in NYC a couple weeks ago, we literally saw two Starbuckses 100 yards from each other in Penn Station. (Maybe that's a good marketing strategy--you're tempted by the first one but keep walking, then you see the second one just as your willpower is breaking down.)

People like to patronize local establishments, and I appreciate that concept as well, from a social and economic perspective. There are plenty of local coffeeshops whose ambiance I enjoy and that I'll go to if I'm in the area. Still, I was a little annoyed with the clerk (should she be called a barista?) who got annoyed with me when I once ordered a "tall caramel macchiatto" at the Frothy Monkey, only to be told, "This isn't Starbucks. We have a small caramel latte, if you'd like that." So I've heard, a macchiatto and a latte aren't the same thing, but since I couldn't tell you the difference, I'll let that one slide.

You can call me a sell-out if you want, but I like the fact that there's a coffeeshop I can frequent where--while everyone may not know my name--everyone will know exactly what I mean when I order my "grande non-fat toffee-nut latte," and I'll know exactly what I'm going to get. I've never been big on change (Matt can tell you about my out-of-body experience when he rearranged the appliances on our kitchen counter), so I like the fact that Starbucks is the same no matter where you go, never more than now, when I live in a town I would never choose to live in of my own accord. There's something comforting in knowing that I can walk into one of the two Starbucks here in little-ole-Clarksville, and it will look and feel the same as a Starbucks in Nashville or a Starbucks in Manhattan.

I doubt that in Manhattan I'd be able to see seven fast food restaurants, a mud-spattered pick-up, and a guy in too-tight overalls when I look out the window, but nonetheless, I can smile, sip my latte, and breathe an espresso-scented sigh of contentment.

2 comments:

Matt Kelley said...

If you were in a Manhattan Starbucks you could see a fat guy in a too tight wife beater with back hair. Or if you were in the one near Times Square you could see the naked hippie with the guitar!

Jessica Miller Kelley said...

No, I think that first one would be in Jersey and the second would be in the Village. Maybe we should just sit facing the wall of designer travel mugs, rather than the windows. :0)

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