Thursday, 17 November 2005

I love Starbucks

I do. I am not ashamed to admit this. You bitter and joyless (and yes, idealistic) people who support lame websites like "I hate Starbucks" (no link as I don't want to encourage you), please look away now to spare yourself the pain.

Firstly, they gave me two coffees and four delicious mince pies for £2.30 yesterday. They also gave me a bottle of gingerbread flavour syrup for free... although that was an accident really. AKA stealing. I will explain.

My friend and I had been shopping and escaped to one of the lesser-known Starbucks'es in central London to sit down as everywhere else was completely cramped. She had left her switch card at home and had no cash, so the economic responsibility of keeping the multinational going rested solely on my shoulders.

As the girl rung me up (coffe, cake, crisps and above mentioned syrup) she said, "oh, and by the way, our card machine is out of order." Bugger. I admit I was a little annoyed at first that she didn't tell me upfront. She suggested I go to the cash machine next door. I relented.

Turned out however that the power of the banking Gods were conspiring against me. For various reasons I had already reached my daily withdrawal limit on my main debit card, despite having money in my account (hence trying to pay with it). My second debit card wasn't working, claiming it had been demagnetised. I could not for the life of me remember the pin code of the only credit card I was carrying. Finding cashback in the area was impossible. You need an M&S (I also like M&S). Where are then when you need them?!

So I went back to Starbucks and explained the situation. The girl behind the counter conceeded fault for not having told me upfront that they couldn't take cards, and decided to give me the food and coffee for a random £2.30. She said she unfortunately couldn't give me the syrup, and I thought that fair.

Also today, I checked my bank account, and realised that last week when I visited another Starbucks I was charged only £0.90 for a Chai latte and a cookie. Again, bargain!

Mostly though, I like Starbucks because they generally seem to have very contented and service-minded staff. Obviously there are exceptions, but I've never had comments like the ones we experienced in an independent coffe shop prior to the above-mentioned no-cash Starbucks one.

My friend and I walk in, and my friend (young, polite, inoffensive very pretty girl) asks the woman behind the counter: "Do you do flavoured coffees?"

Woman snaps back: "No, we just do fantastic coffee." Not with an inviting smile, but with a very stern face. What she really meant to say was: "You're insulting my establishment, fuck off and go to Starbucks". So we did.

Also they always refill paper in the toilets when you ask, they are non-smoking and collect books for children and have fairtrade coffee which you can always have brewed for you to order.

I know they are an evil multinational, but I like to think that on a scale of evilness, they are a step below companies that knowingly use sweatshops. I know that's only in my head, but they have good service which is hard to come by in London. People smile in there. I like it.

J of course deeply disapproves of Starbucks on economic and ethical grounds. But he will only buy Nike trainers so I don't feel he has much of a case.

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  1. My Ex-boyfriend Protests Against Walmart. I shopped there anyways. I do care about ethics and such, but I also beleive big buisiness breeds competition and helps keep prices down for us. And in regards to sweatshops, they sound like horrible, nasty things that should be aboloished on a whole, but to play devil's advocate I'd like to point out that the kid making 30 cents an hour working in a nike sweat shop is still making 30 cents more then he would have without the sweatshop. They're awful, I know and I sound like a monster I'm told, but they're still paying them more then they had before.

  2. Actually, re. sweatshops, a lot of the time the kids don't get paid at all; they work to pay off 'debts' incurred by their parents. And 30c/hr is a wild overestimate, you're looking at something like 30c per day (of 12 hours very dangerous slave-like work). The argument that getting paid at all is better than nothing is a bit bogus.

    We all wear stuff from sweatshops all the time which is just the way it is, but it's hard to justify it in any way whatsoever...

    Walmart are even eviller; Starbucks at least pay their staff above the minimum wage (here in London). But as I said, sometimes a shop is just a good shopping experience and you just like it. Can't help it...

  3. hey there!

    can't say anything about starbucks, never been to the place( tiny detail- I'm on the other side of the world)but I love coffee, if u say it's good, it's good ;).
    I shall be an opinionated ass and heretofore, most earnestly declare that you deserve someone better than this elusive J.

  4. Hey I agree 100% agree with the last few comments. This blog has great opinions and this is why I continue to visit, thanks! ##link#


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