mercredi 27 février 2013

In defense of Starbucks

I sit writing this in Starbucks as we wait for our tour to begin. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a coffee snob. A big coffee snob. I debate the virtues of drip coffee verses a French press and the myriad of other coffee brewing options. I have been known to spend the same amount as my weekly grocery bill on the best quality coffee I can find. I really love coffee.

Also, you know that I hate Starbucks. I hate them for driving smaller, better, local coffee shops out of business. People flock to Starbucks because they know Starbucks, and I'm sorry Starbucks, but your coffee sucks. Like, a lot. It's pretty bad.

But Starbucks deserves a defense...why am I sitting in Starbucks in Germany?

Free wifi

Clean bathrooms

As a traveler, I have discovered that Starbucks is incredibly useful. In large cities, there's always one on nearly every corner. If we get lost, we pop in the nearest Starbucks, get a little wifi, find where we're going, and regroup. I usually am able to use a clean bathroom as well. I'm also terrified of public restrooms. Eww. They just gross me out.

I have rarely found a gross bathroom in a Starbucks.

As a traveler, I have found Starbucks to be a lifesaver several times. Do I still judge people for making Starbucks their go to coffee shop in their hometowns? Yea, a little. Starbucks should exist for the person passing through, who isn't familiar with the area. If you live in a town, do a little work and find a local coffee shop. Leave Starbucks for the travelers.

Do I buy things here? Yes, but rarely coffee. In London, I had a raging chai latte habit. In Berlin, it's hazelnut hot chocolate. I never buy things in Paris. Yes, I blatantly go in and steal wifi (they're stealing business from the numerous cafes, so all's fair).

Also, Starbucks makes an attempt to be culturally relevant. In France, their menu is heavy with traditional French food and drinks. The same applies to London (porridge anyone?) and Berlin. Some things are standard (cheesecake), but there is always a nod towards the culture.

My recommendation: Actively seek out another option, but I know how difficult it is to find free wifi in Europe. Starbucks should never be your go to coffee shop for your hometown. MS people, actively seek out another option. In Hattiesburg, there's The Depot and T-Bones. Jackson? I know for fact that Cups is all over the Jackson area.

Leave Starbucks for the tourists.

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