My first thought was…

IMG_20150930_164310…free delivery on a $100 order? That’s only four coffees, right?

Okay, I know it is a bit more than that, but not much. But it did boggle my mind to think of spending $100 or more in a coffee shop. I am sure people do it though, and the fact they do is a tribute to Starbucks’ effectiveness in branding themselves.

I am not a coffee drinker. I can’t tell the difference between good coffee and sludge. It’s all sludge to me. I realize though that many, perhaps most people don’t have my attitude. They have a definite preference and an allegiance to their favourite coffee purveyor. For example, those who love Tim Horton’s dislike Starbucks.

There also seems to be a little bit of class conflict and snobbery involved. In blind taste tests McDonald’s coffee is consistently chosen as being the best. That doesn’t seem to have led to a stampede to McDonald’s though, despite the fact their coffee is much cheaper than that served at Starbucks and some other pricey chains. McDonald’s doesn’t have the same “coolness” factor.

After all Starbucks has managed to convince people to pay big dollars for their coffee by marketing the experience more than the drink. Wouldn’t you rather be served by a barista? Doesn’t that make your coffee taste better? Aren’t you more cosmopolitan drinking a venti (whatever that is)?

Once a year or so I find myself in Starbucks because that’s where a friend wants to meet. I don’t drink coffee, but I will drink the occasional hot chocolate, which seems more moderately priced than Starbucks’ other offerings. The person who serves me (I have difficulty considering them a barista. I know Starbucks is based in Seattle, not Italy. I’m not cool enough to speak Italian – or maybe I should only speak Italian at Starbucks and see what happens) always wants to know what size of drink I want. They seem insulted when I ask for a small, medium or large instead of whatever is the Italian word they use. I can’t help myself. The corporation may be brilliant at marketing so that people will pay upwards of $10 for a coffee, but I don’t have to buy into their myth-making.

Nor do I ever expect to pay $100 for coffee, even with a group, so I’ll never experience the Starbucks delivery service. I am certain it is appropriately impressive.

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