Starbucks: The more you know, and all that …

I don’t drink Starbucks for one singular reason: I don’t drink coffee.

I had a half a cup when I was 11 years old and it tasted like boiled tar – or at least what I assumed boiled tar would taste like – even when heavily dosed with sugar and cream, and I’ve never had an urge to repeat the experience.

That said, I can say with certainty that neither me nor my wallet are the Starbucks’ type.

The one time I did stop into the local store and asked for a Coke, I was told in a snotty tone by a 20-something “barista,” who had with more piercings than I cared to count, that “We don’t served carbonated beverages here.”

He said it in a tone as though I’d requested an omelette made from the eggs of the last two California condors remaining on Earth.

I will confess that I’m not certain what Starbucks’ customer training entails, but I suspect shaming and self-righteousness are key components.



32 thoughts on “Starbucks: The more you know, and all that …

  1. We just had a conversation at dinner last night about how happy one of my friends happens to be that the pumpkin spice latte is back. I, myself, don’t go in for the flavoured stuff, but do drink their plain old Pike Place pretty much daily. Because the only other alternative close to my place of employment is the coffee-type-hot-liquid-swill they sell at the even more ubiquitous (here in Canada, eh) Tim Horton’s (although now that they’ve been bought by Burger King, the place isn’t looking *quite* so Canadian anymore…) Love the graphic!

    • Now I’d go for Tim Horton’s, and not just out of respect for Mr. Horton’s great defence when he played for the Leafs. Their donuts aren’t outstanding, but they get the job done and I can get a Coke. I also know the help is going to be much less aloof. Too bad about it being less Canadian since the buyout. The last thing the rest of the world needs is more “Americanized” fast food establishments. Thanks for stopping by, Cole.

      • CBC- you’re certainly one ahead of far too many Canadians- knowing Mr. Horton was a hockey player… Yes, they do have soft drinks. And okay donuts. But the coffee is well-and-truly lousy. I think there’s a great deal more anger re. the buyout on your side of the border than up here, tbh.

  2. I don’t drink coffee, either, but I had the same experience with soft drinks as a kid, and haven’t ever like them, either!
    That said, I tried to give Starbucks a chance with their hot chocolate, but it was awful, so there’s nothing for me there.

  3. Since when did coffee turn into latte?
    If I go to a soda (caff) here I am served get coffee with hot milk added and sugar available…very comforting, like my grandmother’s coffee when i was small.
    If I want expresso or cappuccino I make it on the machine at home – using my own coffee.

    I have seen Starbucks outfits at airports…the price is enough to have me running to a water tap…and now you tell me they have snotty staff with outlandish job descriptions too.
    Don’t think I will be tempted to use them this side of Armageddon.

    • I’ve never understood the fascination with fancy coffee – but I’m not a coffee drinker. As someone who has studied marketing, I get why Starbucks adds fancy names and a bigger price tag on their products, but I still don’t don’t get why people fall for it more often than not. Human nature can be hard to figure.

      • Well, while there are people wearing high priced clothes with the names of clothing firms on them I suppose commerce can get away with anything….

      • Ha! I always like my dad’s views on that: “Why should I pay to advertise someone else’s merchandise?” he would say. Wise words.

        Unfortunately, the entire clothing industry geared toward those under age 25 (and many over) realized long ago that most people will gladly shell out good money to purchase clothes with a big, ugly name across it, so they appear trendy and hip.

  4. I remember when Harrods changed their carrier bags…you only got the original one if you shopped in the main part of the store, which annoyed those who had previously had the bags on the comparitively cheap by buying cheese in the food hall…

    And as for calling these clothes ‘designer clothing’….don’t the dumbos realise that this is taking the michael? Few of them could afford the real thing!

  5. First off I am loving the new site theme. It is so easy to read. Having said that, I cant help but feel as though your picture has invited all of the Starbucks fans to come out just so you can rain on it. I now ask you sir, what have you to say for yourself.

    • Tom, I don’t see you as the typical Starbucks aficionado. You’re urbane, charming and the quintessential man-about-town. In fact, I believe you stop into the local Starbucks just to give the regulars there something to aspire to. Admit it – it’s an act of benevolence on your part, isn’t it?

      • Totally Busted! Yes i go in there to look upon those yuppies with contempt and superiority. I dont understand why anyone would pay $8.00 for a cup of coffee. Those are not my people.

      • Yeah, I had trouble seeing you even setting foot inside someplace like that. I think just thinking about spending $8 on a cup of coffee from Starbucks results in instant emasculation with a pair of dull box cutters.

  6. Kitten marrow and toxic toxins…. I’m still laughing.
    I can’t laugh at people’s obsession with coffee. Athough I don’t drink it too regularly, being critical of our coffee culture here may result in some kind of forced exile into the wastelands where you can only buy it from a machine.

    We really take our coffee seriously here, so seriously that I believe a percentage of the Starbucks closed down. I imagine it was because people actually wanted quality stuff rather than flavoured gimmicks. 😀

      • 😀 To me they all sound more like a cup of melted icecream rather than hot drinks!

        I doubt a Spiced Pumpkin coffee would be of any interest here. I know where you are pumpkin pie is considered a dessert but here pumpkins are nothing but a lowly, unloved vegetable, pushed to the side of the plate with the unwanted broccoli. 🙂

  7. Don’t hate me. I am addicted to coffee and Starbucks short Pike blend in a tall cup is what I drink. I use to packages of brown sugar and cream.

    The baristas where I go know what I want. So far, no complaints from them. It cost $1.90 canadian. Coke is just worst. 10 spoons of sugar in it plus all kinds of additives. Oh, well….

    • Hey, to each his own. I drink a mess of Diet Cokes every day, which deep down I know probably isn’t good for me, so (nearly) all of us get our caffiene one way or another. And $1.90 – Canadian or American – is relatively reasonable. When I’ve been in major US cities, I’ve seen Starbucks coffee advertised for far more.

  8. I love coffee but believe me, the stuff Starbucks sells ain’t coffee. The chain of ghastly shops and their attendant horrible staff are probably the singular worst thing to arrive on our shores from across the Atlantic. I’d rather go to McDonalds. And that’s saying something.

    • I know some identify syphilis as the worst thing to arrive in the Old World from the New, but I think at this point it’s pretty much a toss up between venereal disease and Starbucks. McDonald’s definitely finishes ahead of both. 😉

  9. I tried coffee when I was about six-years old and the sensation of that acrid liquid in my mouth was enough to make me put off coffee for good. At the moment my mind is trying to process that combined with the various flavors that are now marketed by a variety of companies. The thought leaves me speechless.

  10. Funny picture! I absolutely love Starbucks but I also love all the negative things people have to say about it. Maybe it’s the region, but the people who work at all the Starbucks I go to here are nice and helpful, even when it’s busy. I always loved the smell of coffee, but didn’t taste it until I was in my 20s, then used so much creamer that it was nearly white, and soooo much sugar. Over the years I acquired a taste for dark coffee and I use only a touch of cream now. A friend from California visited once and had to have her Starbucks first thing so I bought a bag of beans; she was practically mainlining the stuff. But I got hooked! Starbucks is expensive so I don’t always go there, but sometimes I get a huge craving for that dark somewhat bitter brew. Long live Starbucks!!

      • That’s interesting. But not the case here – both very high. So now I’m wondering why you believe that. Your experience with college-kid staffs bad?

      • Not so much the college-kids, but post-college kids. Some of the ones that have been to school but are working at Starbucks after they graduate have an attitude which I used to see a lot of on the West Coast.

        I’m not sure if it’s because they’re unhappy with the fact that they don’t have a different job, or that they have disdain for those of us in the “rat race,” or if there’s something else at play.

        On the other hand, most all of the college kids working at any of the area establishments are friendly and hard working, at least from what I’ve seen.

  11. Their drip is decent, it’s more the consistency I appreciate of Starbucks. I can’t think of any other coffee you can have anywhere in the country where it tastes the same everywhere. I dig that.

    I also think the lattes are delicious. To offset the costs of my addictions, I collect dividends on my Starbucks stock. Hey, if they’re allowed to sell a legal drug – why not profit from that! 🙂

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