Bete Noir Latte


Romenesko points to an exploration of the mysterious animus towards Starbucks. I tend to just not like the ambiance all that much, but I've always found it sort of weird that activists concerned to right global injustice can devote so much time and energy to a coffeeshop. Anyway, one of the few really good libertarian-themed songs is the "anti-anti-WTO" anthem "Busting up a Starbux" by former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty, in which he pokes fun at trendy protesters. You can hear it on his most recent album Smofe and Smang.

Jackson Kuhl wrote about Starbucks hate in the January 2003 issue of Reason.

NEXT: Not Quite Enough Cooperation

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  1. Could it just be that their coffee is just highly overrated and overpriced?

  2. what makes it especially weird is that Starbucks was one of if not the first corporation(s) to offer domestic partner benefits for homosexuals. Why target such a “progressive” company?

    After getting kicked out of school (because I sucked at ballet – not kidding)I worked for starbucks for that very reason. Not that I’m gay, I just figured it would be a nice atmosphere to work; I tend to like people who accept gays.

    Unfortunately, my Frappucino making skills were on par with my pas de bourre…

  3. The generic sameness and omni-presence of Starbucks is obnoxiously boring. But hardly something to get busted up about.

  4. Starbucks is a socially progressive corporation, however, the coffee sucks and is over priced. Now that they have pushed out the 3 independents in my neighborhood with 2 shops over their own, I have to travel a few extra miles to get a better cup of coffee. The mere inconvience of doing this while a certain green little mermaid smiles down on me is cleary insultive and downright demeaning, I’m outraged! Playboy can have the women of starbucks, the intelligent, artsy ladies that offer substance as well as beauty often converge at little indie’s.

  5. Starbucks… too bitter, too expensive, too long to wait.
    Never, ever will it replace Wawa coffee in my cup.

  6. How can the coffee be overpriced if so many people are willing to buy it? It would be kind of stupid of them to charge less if they don’t have to.

  7. Young hipsters hate Starbucks for the same reason crusty old men “hate” to see teenage girls in tight clothing.

  8. Overpriced “according to me” – that was left implicity. This usually is meant to say that much of the cost is all “brand”, which is to say that the substance itself, bereft of branding and trendiness, would cost far less.

    As such, if you do not take value from popularity or trendiness or branding, then you will find the product overpriced. Same goes with Microsoft software, IBM computers, etc.

  9. Which is to say – they aren’t talking about market pricing, merely individual valuation. So it might very well be worth $3+ for a cup of coffee on the open market, but it is personally considered to be worth far less, and thus “overpriced”.

  10. There is no such thing as overpriced if one can find a buyer, and apparently Starbucks is finding plenty.

    I used to hate Starbucks because I always got bitter coffee but now I work in an office building that has one on the bottom floor and it’s only the Sumatra that I find bitter.

    It’s not exactly accurate either to imply that Starbucks “pushed” their competitors out of the neighborhood. The consumers in that neighborhood apparently did the pushing.

    An aside, did anyone know that you can buy whole bean french roast Starbucks for $6 at WalMart while it cost $10 at Starbucks?

  11. Mmm – Lesbian Blend

  12. “How can the coffee be overpriced if so many people are willing to buy it? It would be kind of stupid of them to charge less if they don’t have to.”

    The phrase trend-sucking dillitante comes to mind.

  13. I’ve always found Starbucks coffee a little worse than the small chain alternatives, Au Bon Pain and Caribou Coffee, along with a couple local shops in my area. It’s not bad – but it’s the Pizza Hut or the Miller of good coffee. There’s better, there’s worse, but it’s passable and you’ll always know what you are getting.

    Recently, I decided to drink more Starbucks. I found out that a local Starbucks is sending lots of coffee to deployed troops in area reserve units. They are also partially sponsoring a welcome home event for the troops that have come back. Starbucks isn’t publicizing this; it’s being done rather quietly – so it strikes me as a charitable gesture more than a self-serving gesture.

    The fact that the anti-globalist anti-capitalists hate them only raises their reputation, in my eyes…

  14. Starbucks is a socially progressive corporation, however, the coffee sucks and is over priced. Now that they have pushed out the 3 independents in my neighborhood with 2 shops over their own, I have to travel a few extra miles to get a better cup of coffee.

    I have three Starbucks offices within two miles of my office, and yet there are four other outlets within three blocks where I can buy coffee (two little local places, a Cosi outlet, and an Olsson’s bookstore/cafe). There’s plenty of room for competition even with Starbucks saturation (because, frankly, their coffee tastes like ass), so if competitors fold early before trying to compete, that’s their fault.

  15. The Wall Street Journal ran a good article a while back that critiqued the common claim that Starbucks eliminates opportunities for independent coffee houses. The idea is that Starbucks facilitates the formation of a “coffee culture” in cities that previously had none, thus creating a wider consumer base that also benefits competitors. Here’s an exerpt:

    “…Conventional wisdom … says Starbucks is clobbering the independent — invading its turf, stealing its customers, bankrupting its owners.

    In fact, most independents are doing fine — and not just in spite of Starbucks, but perhaps because of it. Here in Kansas City, nearly all of the coffeehouses operating before Starbucks arrived in 1998 remain in business. Since then, other independents have opened, pushing their numbers well beyond the 25 stores Starbucks has in the market. Like Broadway Cafe, many of the independents operate within a stone’s throw of a Starbucks outlet.

    Nationwide, independents accounted for more than half of the industry’s growth between 1996 and 2001, when the number of U.S. coffeehouses doubled to 13,300, including Starbucks, according to Mintel Consumer Intelligence, a Chicago market-research firm. Moreover, the large majority of independent coffeehouses started within the past decade have survived, industry experts say. By comparison, close to half of the country’s sit-down, slow-food restaurants are less than two years old.

    Many coffeehouses have found proximity to Starbucks to be a blessing. A small Seattle chain called Tully’s Coffee Corp. has even developed the strategy of placing its stores near a Starbucks shop. Chicago entrepreneur Doug Zell in 1995 started his Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters within walking distance of two Starbucks outlets. “It’s double-digit growth every year,” Mr. Zell says. … “When a Starbucks opens, it educates the market, expanding it for everyone,” says Bruce Milletto, president of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup Inc…”

  16. You can have my Dunkin Donuts large iced coffee with milk and two sugars when you pry it from my cold, twitchy hands.

    Starbucks – ptui!

  17. Look all you chuckleheads, you have such short memories. Before Starbucks came on the scene you had to search long and hard in most U.S. cities for anything resembling a decent cup of coffee. For example, circa 1982, in Montgomery Co., Maryland there were only 2 coffee places I knew of that didn’t just serve up the old Bunn burner drano.

    Maybe Starbucks isn’t the snobista’s idea of coffee paradise but so what. Those of us who just want a reasonably good cup of coffee now have a reliable place to go without having to wait for some cute old foreigners or a lesbian couple to decide to open a coffee shop in the neighborhood.

  18. You want REAL coffee? Come up here and get some Tim Horton’s. Timmy’s rules. But Krispy Kreme has better doughnuts.

  19. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/27/2004 12:06:40
    There was no immunity to cuckoo ideas on Earth.

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