This is Why Everyone Hates You, Asshole: Starbucks Edition
Let’s be honest. In the scheme of things, Starbucks is a fairly benign corporate citizen. Sure, their union record sucks, and they run local businesses under, but on a variety of other issues–wages, environment, fair trade coffee–they’re somewhere between middling and decent, and they produce a variety of quality products that people actually want. So why does everyone hate them so much? Well in NYC, there’s almost no single Starbucks from which you cannot see another Starbucks. It’s sickening. They run local businesses out, and then all you’re left with is their Borg-like monoculture with its idiotic patois and 2k calorie frozen drinks. Now, however, Starbucks is trying to go back the other way, by testing out new Baudrillardian nightmare stores that will simulate all aspects of local indie coffee shops, from faux-hip furniture and art, to the branding on their in-store products. The Rumpus got the story from the Seattle Times, and I got it from them. The shift, essentially, is from Borg to Cylon.
The ubiquitous coffee-shop giant is dropping the household name from its 15th Avenue East store on Capitol Hill, a shop that was slated to close at one point last year but is being remodeled in Starbucks’ new rustic, eco-friendly style. It will open next week, the first of at least three remodeled Seattle-area stores that will bear the names of their neighborhoods rather than the 16,000-store chain to which they belong. … If the pilot goes well in Seattle, it could move to other markets. … Those who can capture a sense of community and offer consumers a compelling experience will win in the long run, said Michelle Barry, senior vice president of the market-research firm Hartman Group in Bellevue.
(Boldface is mine.) The article then goes on to detail how a bunch of Starbucks suits spent several months sitting in local coffee shops, not buying anything, but taking notes on decor and operations. How fucking evil is that? Seriously. Their policy is literally to target the market of people who are making a concerted effort to buy local, and then trick those people into sending their money out of said community, back to Starbucks. I don’t think you need to be a ski-masked anti-globalization activist to read this article and instantly think brick.
Dear Starbucks, When you do shit like this, all the other good(ish) stuff you do stops mattering. You’re like a child-rapist who donates a lot of money to the fight against cancer. It’s like, yeah, thanks for that, but still–this thing with the child-raping. Anyway, this is why everyone hates you. Asshole.