Why does Starbucks elicit such fury?
"Well who wants to pay $5 for a cup of jet fuel. It's about time this overrated chain met its mark," wrote a commenter on USA Today's version of the story.
"I have a family member who worked for Starbucks in Seattle, but I don't feel bad seeing this greedy corporation hit its limit," notes a Boston Globe reader.
Am I missing something here? What is it about Starbucks that causes bile to rise in the throat; that excites people to heights of vitriol?
I know, I know; the same reasons come up repeatedly: the barista "gives them the evil eye" when they forget the secret language and accidentally order a small coffee (has this ever happened to you? No, me neither); coffee is $4 (though my daily latte with soy milk and a shot is less than that, bizarrely enough); there's a branch on every corner. Yeah yeah yeah. Yawn.
This isn't about preferences of taste or brand loyalty. It's much more personal: Starbucks customers, it seems, are sheep, blindly throwing money at an evil corporation that has performed mass hypnotism on a dumb demographic.
At first glance, it seems that the main driver behind this fierce over-reaction is some kind of reverse snobbery; a suspicion that Starbucks is, in some insidious way, responsible for gentrification, political correctness, global warming and gay marriage. (See the second post on this Globe thread, for example.)
But why is Starbucks singled out? If the main issues are that it's expensive and elitist, surely there are plenty of other products just as deserving of hatred?
And yet no one blows a fuse at people who prefer Perrier to Poland Spring. No websites throw venom at Häagen-Dazs in quite the same manner as they do at Starbucks. It's perfectly acceptable to spend $8 on a bar of chocolate, even though good ol' Hershey's is readily available. And while some people like to claim organic food is a crock, no one is likely to be, well, pelted with Monsanto tomatoes for buying pesticide-free heirloom varieties.
In other words, it's considered acceptable to spend your money however you choose when it comes to luxury food, as long as you're not wasting it on Starbucks coffee.
Leave it to the Macedonians to put this ridiculous storm in a coffee cup into perspective.