Just a cuppa Joe
I had to laugh when I saw the story in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that reported on new procedures at Starbucks that limit the number of drink orders the "baristas" can take. Now it's only two at a time, so they can concentrate on doing it just right. Some customers and store managers are afraid that will slow the lines down even more than they now are.
The whole Starbucks phenomenon amazes me. It's another example of how the public can be led around like sheep, to be a part of something that's "cool" (or maybe it's more appropriate to say "hot").
Now obviously Starbucks has been doing something right. Just look at how it’s grown from a few shops in Seattle to a nationwide institution that's everywhere – even inside other retail venues like Border's or Citibank.
But I never did – and still don't – get it. The basic coffee is too strong for my taste… and I'm a lifelong coffee fanatic doing 3 – 6 or more cups a day. But taste aside, I can't stand the whole pricing and size thing at Starbucks. Whatever happened to small, medium and large? Ok, even add a jumbo if you want, but what is this venti, tall, grande BS. If I want a small, let me just ask for a small.
And I just don't understand why so many people gladly fork over $3.45 for a medium (ok, a grande coffee) when you can get the same thing at the deli on the corner for $1. Or the next block over, at Dunkin Donuts, for $ 1.69. And to my palette, Dunkin's coffee tastes sooo much better.
What Starbucks has gotten right is the atmosphere – a place where you're encouraged to hang and chill. No rush to turn over the tables. Stay, read the paper, chat with friends, go online. And they've been smart about using their many locations and high traffic to integrate other things into their menu – like CDs and books.
But when it comes to their basic product: latte, frappe, venti, whatever… just give me a plain old coffee. A small one, please.
Obviously, I'm way out of the mainstream on this one. I know. (If I'm coming across as a grump here, I apologize. I haven't had my 2nd cup of coffee yet.)