Thursday, March 02, 2006

Star Coffee Wars

Starbucks and the local coffee houses
(repost from 11/04)

Today I visited what has been called the Evil Empire or more exactly that "blood sucking corporation" I'm still not sure why the Empire is called that. OK, I sorta get it. Anyhow, the Empire was busy as it usually is on days like today. I looked for Darth Vader, but he was nowhere in sight. I didn't want to stand in line; so I went up the street to the local coffee shop.

The locals usually get to the Empire earlier or they start at the local shop. Actually there are five places here where you can get a caffeine fix like the one I needed today. I prefer the cappuccinos from the Evil Empire. Their coffee though sucks. That goes for their tea as well

At the local, I saw Darth Vader sipping on chamomile and jasmine tea. He had his mask off so he looked human. I had to laugh. He was just lounging

There is an economic philosophy, economies of agglomeration, that says business increases by opening stores that sell the same products within a certain radius. All five coffee shops do a great business.

The evil empire really hasn't harmed business for anyone. People go into the store name they remember and, overwhelmed by the line, move to one of the other four caffeine shops, all locally owned. They may even get a better cup of joe or discover the world outside of coffee.

Hmmm... Soothing tea, hot chocolate, root beer floats; remember them? I think I fall in love with floats every year. Floats are rememberences of being a child again.

So is Darth Vader the father of Skywalker? I guess it's kinda how you look at it; the chicken or egg argument. Do you believe Darth kicked off the trend of coffee shops? If so, then the local ones wouldn't exist?Hmmm... maybe not.

The bad news is the Empire has a plan to triple the numbers of stores they have and add some stores with drive-thrus. Yes, I said triple, encouraging an already lazy nation to become even lazier. The Empire grows more dominant.

Here's what's good about the Empire: consumers can buy Fair Trade and shade grown, read less bitter, coffee in the same, if not better, percentages that they can buy it at their local grocery. Local coffee houses don't know shade grown and fair trade coffee from a hamburger.

Does this mean Skywalker has no chance? Have faith young Jedi. The coffee house is an institution that goes back to the 1500s where ideas, arts; enlightenment have been exchanged. That will not stop.

The battle will be long, fierce and silent, where consumers hold all the power over the outcome.


Erica said...

A very insightful post! And it's true, the coffeehouse is still a place where information and ideas are exchanged, but now it's over a wi-fi connection with jazz playing in the background (available for $14.99 at the counter, if you like it, and the subliminal recording beneath Bird's playing says you do - the best Jedi mind trick of all)...

Next time you see Vader, tell him to call me, won't you?

my0p said...

=0) This commentary makes me think of a Simpson's episode where Bart is walking in a mall and every other store is a Starbucks. I wonder what many of those java-loving people from Seattle think of this mega-successful corporate monster ???