I've heard it all from Starbucks opposers who lump the coffee giant into the same category as evil dictators and child abusers. Irrational as this sounds, the simple truth is that many people would rather give themselves a paper cut and proceed to slowly drip lemon juice onto the self-inflicted wound than step foot under one of the familiar green awnings reaching out above Starbucks' doors. Men who declare their "anti-corporation" and therefore anti-Starbucks stance would rather watch The Notebook with their girlfriend sans the promise of any physical action in return. And on the flip side of that scenario, women seeing Starbucks as nothing more than a competition killer would rather pop open a full-calorie Budweiser (not a Bud light, because that would be what she wants) and watch football with her man and his buddies.
I'm all for supporting Mom n' Pop shops. But with all of Starbucks' perks (besides those provided by caffeine intake), I can't justify frequently heading to those aforementioned shops. Maybe Starbuck's is evil in that sense- robbing business from "the little guy." Starbuck's is the cafeteria worker turning down Oliver Twist. Consider this the company's trial- and I am the defendant.
Top Five Perks of Starbucks:
1) Rewards Program: register a gift card with Starbucks online and start reaping the benefits. Free soy milk free flavors added to drinks and every 15 drinks you get a coupon for any drink free. That trumps going to a small cafe anyday, where soy milk costs about .50 cents more on average!
2) People Watching: okay, this activity is not singular to Starbuck's. But their stores certainly attract people from all walks of life. While sipping your latte, you can witness first dates, the next great author type his novel madly on his laptop (because novel writers always need to do so in public) or just exchange brief dialogue with a fellow coffee lover.
3) Employees: while a Grumpy Gary may wriggle his way into the pool of Happy Henrys (or Harriets), generally whoever is behind the counter wears a genuine grin and embraces an infectious and optimistic attitude.
4) Locations: they're everywhere! Turn a corner in Berlin and you see a Starbuck's just like you would in Boulder. This may be seen as an infringement of local cultures as a by-product of globalization, but sometimes when you are abroad, it's nice to have a comfort remind you of home.
5) Consistency: when you walk into a random coffee shop, you take a bigger risk than playing the slots in the Bellagio. Thankfully, Starbucks has perfected standardization. A soy latte will taste the same no matter who makes it, no matter where.
I know there is plenty of negatives about the coffee giant. One thing that rubs me the wrong way as a barista is the terminology they invented to mess things up for the rest of us. For example, a traditional macchiato is a shot or two of espresso marked with a bit of foam. In Starbucks land, they decided to tack the name on a latte where they put the shots of espresso on top of the milk, instead of the other way around as seen in a traditional latte. Therefore, I had to laugh when a girl ordered an "upside-down macchiato."- coffee ignorance at its best. She just ordered a latte.
Think what you want about Starbucks. My opinion is clear and out there for all to behold. I love the place!