Sunday, October 21, 2012

Is Starbucks overpriced?

Expensive taste
London, ON
October 2012





















I'll admit part of me doesn't really get the whole Starbucks thing. When something as basic as a cup of coffee costs as much as twice that charged elsewhere, you'd be forgiven for hoping the thing dispenses fairy dust on its way through your digestive system. That it requires you to learn an entirely new language to order without embarrassing yourself is another tip-off that this is as artificial as artificial, margin-boosting pretension can get.

And yet, here we were on a Saturday night, one of those unplanned, errand-running slices of time that somehow turned into an ersatz date. Because you never want to miss an opportunity to go on a date with your wife. The more blue collar Tim Hortons seemed a little, I don't know, too blue collar, too fluorescent, too cafeteria-ish. Besides, their WiFi never works properly and the largely septuagenarian staff there think wireless networking is the work of the technological devil.

And despite the fact that here in Canada there's now a Tim's on every other corner, the nearest one was about 800 metres away, as the crow flies. And it was cold and raining outside.

So Starbucks it was, and despite the outrageous bottom line, my barely suppressed desire to call it freakin-huge instead of venti, and the fact that every last table was occupied by zombie-eyed, laptop-toting hipsters watching Gangnam Style video parodies on YouTube, it was the right place to be.

After a few minutes, a table opened up and we scooted into the dim corners between the zombie-eyed YouTubers. And we chatted. And we shared a blueberry scone. And we people-watched. And we chatted some more. And we just...enjoyed.

I still don't get Starbucks. I can't imagine spending 7 bucks for glorified coffee on anything remotely approaching a regular basis. But on this once-in-a-while rainy night, I'm glad we found ourselves here. Because sometimes a bit of a treat is just what the soul needs.

Your turn: How do you treat yourself?

About this photo: We're celebrating Thematic's "drink up" week. You can, too, by heading here. New theme launches tomorrow (Monday) at 7pm Eastern. Suggestions welcome.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim's is a national institution for better or worse. Maybe that's why I avoid overpriced Starbucks. The snob factor. I see a bunch of posers who think they're better than the great unwashed. Plus the chairs are more comfortable at Tim's.

Anonymous said...

Tim's is a national institution for better or worse. Maybe that's why I avoid overpriced Starbucks. The snob factor. I see a bunch of posers who think they're better than the great unwashed. Plus the chairs are more comfortable at Tim's.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I don't like the burnt coffee style, or the price.

In fact, the last time I was in a Starbucks I just got a regular coffee because I needed to use my laptop.
~

Rob W said...

You're not just getting coffee, Carmi.
You're getting organic, fair-trade beans. Locally produced, artisan Biscotti..fireplace,,, specially aged leather, wingback chairs.
Soothing, hipster, soul music

Value of coffee = $2
Value of the Experience = priceless

YOLO =)

Karen S. said...

Everything Rob W said is true-but there are other places that have all that with cheaper prices, and often better (not so burnt) taste! AND they offer books, sometimes! Or live poets and musical folks! My oldest son big fan of Starbucks-my daughter-Caribou only, me? if not my brew- Mac and Dons (ha! ha! seriously) Carmi- It's wonderful to see the LOVE of your Life too! :)

Karen S. said...

oops forgot- treating myself? Yesterday is was walking through nature (all day) and thanking it every second for giving me such a blissful day! Back to Starbucks- I'm a fan of tipping for service, but I really don't agree (especially in the drive-thru windows) for the gigantic TIPS containers they push into our faces. If I tip them, why not tip my grocery store clerk who really does a lot of work getting us through the line ? !!! Just saying....

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I'm glad you had an enjoyable evening that turned into a bit of a date.
I rarely stop there, but it does have a pleasant (usually) atmosphere...and free WiFi. A treat for me is more likely a drink with dinner or a dip in the hot tub.

Snaggle Tooth said...

I recently read the idea behind Starbucks marketing is based on Fair Market Value coffee prices- why it costs more, because the growers are paid what they deserve for the goods.

They are expensive- n I don't drink coffee, but other folks swear by it. N free WiFi is always fun.

sharbean said...

I'm not a huge Starbucks fan (prefer cute cafes) but I will admit that as a road warrior my Starbucks card has saved me on many an occasion when I've had no local currency. It's worked (so far) in every country I've been to.