Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Starbucks Lesson: Experiences vs Stuff

The Starbucks Lesson is not what you think it is. I know, I know. You are thinking something like this:
Just about everyone is drinking coffee these days. (but not at Starbucks - that's a no-no) It's the one beverage that fits every social situation. Morning, afternoon or evening. Casual get-together or formal affair. At home with the family, in a café, coffee shop or sidewalk patio with friends. A delicious alternative to wine or beer, coffee is conducive to conversation and community. There is a style that appeals to every one's taste. Coffee puts you in a better mood. - Study by Johns Hopkins University in Boston found that caffeine made subjects more energetic, confident and ready to work. Coffee helps you stay alert - Studies how that night workers are less prone to accidents and errors if they drink coffee and drivers are less likely to have accidents. Coffee is good for your memory - A study conducted in Maastricht, Holland found that coffee can combat the forgetfulness that often accompanies aging. Coffee helps fight the common cold - Coffee can help cold sufferers recover faster by relieving the sluggish feeling colds leave behind. Coffee consumption is not linked to cardiovascular disease - Studies provide strong evidence that moderate coffee consumption is not associated with increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.
You are also probably thinking: 'Oh, I don't go to Starbucks anymore. It is irresponsible in these troubling economic times. What will people think? I shutter to think about what my financial advisor will say.'
Enough said. Whoa. Slow down. Let's think things through shall we.
I am a coffee-lover, but more importantly I am a social-girl and nothing beats having a coffee with friends, business associates or perfect strangers in a Starbucks. It is the 'new' general store where for generations locals gathered daily to mix, mingle and moan. It is the experience of a Starbucks that means so much to so many. It's the 'feeling' you get drinking a hot beverage there. It feels good. Classy. Artsy. Modern. Hip.
It is sad (very sad) that the economy is striking at the very 'drip' of our communities. Starbucks is part of that big trend that just won't quit: 'Experiences vs Stuff'. We want to experience life, activities - learn new things and meet like-minded people. We want to find our 'tribe'. Case in point, do-it-yourself seminars or climbing mountains together or travel workshops or blogging. Dinner socials and writing groups. Community gardens and yoga classes. Or how about a painting journey taught and hosted by Carole Foret (and her twin sister Claire)
I think we should do the opposite of what those Economists are suggesting. We shouldn't pull back on our daily visit to Starbucks. (read their incredible Mission Statement here.) If we do, we will suffocate and put a choke hold on our human need for 'high touch' in a very 'high tech and recession' world.
Now get dressed and go for coffee. Yes, it's alright to spend that $4 on a small indulgence that just might save the human species as we know it and the economy. (and prevent more Starbucks from closing.) Read Howard's lay-off letter to his team here. Don't be guilty. Go order that latte.
Gorgeous Starbucks Painting by Carole Foret. Attend a painting journey soon!
As Tara Dillard says: "Money well spent."


Tara Dillard said...

It's left brain, right brain stuff.

Notice when you've got a conundrum to solve and it's solved while exercising or showering or swimming or????

Not while you're actively trying to solve it.

That is Starbucks for you and many others. Allowing you to function better. Probably better than an hour spent brooding over an issue or with a therapist.

Money well spent.

Garden & Be Well, Tara Dillard
(can you guess where my best thinking is done?)


Tara! Thank you for that excellent comment. I couldn't agree more!

Pigtown-Design said...

OOPS! Johns Hopkins is in Baltimore, not boston!

La Belette Rouge said...

I wonder if because people are drinking less coffee they will get more depressed because of lack of coffee and less social interaction and they will get dumber and they will lose their job and then their immunity will grow weak due to social isolation and depression and then the entire fabric of society will collapse.:-) Coffee, anyone?

corine said...

Cafés have existed forever in Europe. Starbuck brought that experience here, and though I don't like the taste of starbuck coffee much, I do think caffés are essential to communities.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the justification of my Caramel Machiato addiction! :)

It really does make sense...$5 is expensive for a cup of coffee, yes. But, is it expensive for an hour of entertainment or relaxation? Nope, I think not. Money well spent!

Suzanne said...

I agree that the worst thing to do in a bad economy is to panic and exercise strick cut backs. But, I won't be visiting the local Starbucks....because I never did in the first place. I've never been a fan of their coffee, and I don't speak "Fritialian". HA. It's very strong and burnt tasting. I can get a good cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts or McDonald's....or at home!

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Claire Kayser said...

Yeah! Yall head to one of your painting journeys coming up! Thanks, Liberty, again for the plug for our fun painting journeys. We sure would love to have you come paint with us either in Alabama in April or in Minnesota in July. Whacha think???

Love the post and agree wholeheartedly!


vicki archer said...

Well said LP.
Starbucks is also a place of meeting in London (although not such a big deal in France!). I often pop into Starbucks for a quick catch up and coffee -I went there yesterday as my internet crashed with the storm and I was able to log on, enjoy a cuppa and do the essentials on line. If we have to give up going for a coffee then I think I will give up totally. xv

restyled home said...

You are right! Now I'm off (to Tim's) to get a coffee.

Straight up.

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