Friday, March 3

Anthropological look at Starbucks vs. McDonalds

The other morning, like I do every day, I walked into the Starbucks on my way from the bus to work. Walking in, I see two lines formed in front of two registers. Both lines have at least 12 people each waiting to order. This struck me as a new era in service. It did not feel like a coffee house anymore. That may have something to do with the fact that this particular Starbucks is in a bank building, a shop inside a shop. What struck me is that this is a coffeehouse, NOT a McDonalds, or a Burger King at the height of lunchtime. It was a coffeehouse at 7:38am on a Tuesday morning. Today, Christy and I were early b/c I drove. We decided to go to my favorite said Starbucks, but when we walked into the revolving doors, we just kept on revolving to the outdoors because there were two lines again, both with at least 12 people. We proceeded to walk further down the same street to the Wells Fargo building where a new Starbucks just opened. They are not equipped yet to handle big lines and the word has not gotten out that they are there, so the lines are usually short if at all. But today, Friday, people were treating themselves to their favorite latte or Frappacino blended coffee and there were at least 5 people in line. Christy looks at me and says "Would you be mad if I go to Peaberrys?" The dynamic of the once relaxed atmosphere has been transformed into a morning jolt farm. I don'tt like it, and obviously can't change it, but have to admit that I still prefer the Starbuck's experience to most mom and pop coffee houses, mainly due to the decor, the coffee itself second. There are a few coffeehouses in Denver which I frequent, but mainly due to location. I do not like frequenting coffeehouses that let you smoke, or coffeehouses with too much clutter and chaos (tattered books, games and basic uncleanliness-feeling). Still the idea of the morning-jolt coffee farm scares me a bit. I do not think it will stop me from standing in line though. 

1 comment:

K*Funk said...

I think the biggest appeal of Starbucks (as compared to the mom-and-pop-type places) is that you ALWAYS know what you're going to get. No matter who's working or all the other nuances involved in going to, say, Vic's. My personal fave: grande single-shot iced 2 percent half-sugar-free vanilla latte can be ordered in Boulder Colorado or Fairfax Virginia and I know it won't let me down! As for international Starbucks comparisons, well I suppose that's another anthropological study waiting to happen...

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