Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Starbux Monologues 6

They're assimilating our culture, that's what they're doing...
(The subtitle is from a Draco's Tavern story by Larry Niven.)

You know, for the bad rap the USA gets from the foreign press and from the World in general, they (the rest of the world) sure loves some American Stuff...
A total embracing, as it were.

This particular case in point- Starbucks.

We sat in front of the Starbucks for several hours over the course of our stay in Madrid and witnessed some interesting behavior.
1. There was always a line to get a cuppa. Sometimes the line was 15 to 20 people deep and stretched out the door and onto the sidewalk.

2. It wasn't just Americans looking for a slice of home... It was every nationality... Americans, Euro-dweebs, Asians...

3. Logo/Brand Fascination:   While we watched, no less than 13 people (mostly Asians and backpackers) took pictures of the Starbucks sign. What the hell?

With these items in mind the question arises: Why?

It it that Starbucks has a far superior product than any local coffee joint, and is thus stealing the market?

No... Coffee is pretty much coffee, no matter how you dress it up.

Is it that they are undercutting the local price and in doing so, driving the local cafes out of business?

Nope. Not at 4 Euros a cup... no.

Is it that their staff as so efficient, friendly and capable that they just bring people in on the strength of their personalities?


Is it marketing?

Have you seen a basic "Come to Starbucks. We have coffee." commercial?
Nope- (Now I have seen the Via commercials, but that's product specific...)

So what is it about Starbucks, and by extension, some Items Americana that intrigue the world-wide audience?
After all, being served mediocre coffee by disaffected hipsters with infected facial piercings at 6 bucks a shot is hardly a recipe for a Global Hot Beverage Empire, but it seems to be working for them...

(I'm looking for answers here... I sure as hell can't figure this shit out; That's why I'm just a cable-pushing button-puncher instead of a Gazillionaire Entrepreneur...)


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