The International Writers Magazine: Comment
You, and The Truth About Starbucks
by what I drink. There
is no point in denying it.
It hits me
like a runaway train. No matter how many times I do it, I am still taken
aback by the naked truth that lays exposed before my eyes. There is
no point in denying it.
Im defined by what I drink.
Im a Tall Skim Latte, one Sweet N Low. I loathe who Ive
become when I drink coffee. In my own mind, Ive officially become
a status conscious coffee kook.
I have long made fun of Starbucks, even while duplicitously imbibing
my fair share of weekend lattes. I dont hide my love of coffee,
but I never thought it important to use coffee as a social placeholder.
Like most of America, I drink it for the caffeine first, and the taste
second. For me, decaf is something you have after 10:00 PM. Never earlier.
Sumatra is just a coffee-growing place on a map, at least in the world
according to Starbucks.
So yesterday afternoon, as I sat two Land Rovers and a Saab convertible
back in the drive-through at one of my four local Starbucks, I realized
that, at least in my piece of suburbia, the status of what one drinks
is now on par with other class defining criteria, like cars, houses,
and other outwardly visible accoutrements. Sitting in the drive-through
line, I realized how fully I had succumbed. In a panic, I turned to
"Do you realize that this is our second trip through today? Starbucks
is into us for almost $20.00!"
"Move up," she said as the caffeine starved owner of the Saab
accelerated towards the pick up window. Whether my wife even heard me
or not, I dont know. She was fidgety, anxious, distracted, and
I decided for safetys sake not to pursue the conversation.
How did this happen? Seemingly overnight, we went from Maxwell House
make it at home coffee drinkers, to double skim mochaccino with two
Sweet N Lows for $4.23 suckers. Men, women, kids. We were all
targets. And we all succumbed.
question is: Are we really addicted to the coffee, or do we just like
what we think the cup says about us?
The truth about Starbucks is this: it speaks volumes that, as a country,
we allow ourselves to label others, and be labeled, by the cardboard
coffee cup we drink from. We are unable to avoid consumptive and addictive
behavior, and as a result we are unable to avoid walking past any one
of the 211 Starbucks located in Chicago. We have accepted, and nurtured,
our newest health risk. By comparison, McDonalds never looked
And when did coffee become such a symbol of status? Is it fair to say
that Starbucks has done nothing more than cater to our previously pent
up desire to wait in line for custom coffee? Sure. I mean, its
not Starbucks fault were status conscious, weak willed,
excessive compulsive addictives, is it? They didnt create the
monster; they simply continue to feed it.
With drive-thru windows, menus with drinks so bizarre they have to be
fake, and endless grams of drinkable fat, its only a matter of
time before our doctor steps in to save us from ourselves.
If we could only get him to move up in the drive-through line first.
© Tom Donoghue
About The Author
Tom Donoghue is a tall skim latte drinking, SUV driving sales rep living
in suburban Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and
welcomes your thoughts.
Things to do at Starbucks
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