Monday, January 08, 2007

starbucking good

It's become popular sport to rag on the ubiquitous Starbucks. For some good reasons. They are wildly successful and most of us find that as tempting as a line of tin cans on a low brick just want to find a couple of perfect stones. Their success spans a population from boomers to yuppies to whatever we're labeling the young and caffeinated these days. Their success is somewhat formulaic. Muted tones, honey-colored wood, restrained design with the thinnest glaze of funkiness and Carly Simon Garfunkel lite-rocking you in the background. The coffee drink array, while quite good, is fucking expensive.

But goddammit, it's pleasant to sit in a kinda retro lime-green/pumpkin upholstered living room chair sipping your Double Vente Caramel Macchiata while Paul Simon is strumming through Graceland. It is. Dammit.

Anyway, on the way over to the comfy chair with toasty drink in hand (thanks to a gift card from our daughter, I might add), I saw a large basket with what looked like oversized coffee bean bags in it. Looking closely, I saw that they were used coffee grounds that had been dried and bagged up. They were being touted as a good organic soil additive. I quickly assumed that this was some vapid money-first marketer's brainchild and readied a jaded sneer. But not exactly. On the large bags (recycled wholesale coffee bean bags, no less) was the word FREE. Free. I wish it hadn't been chilly that morning so my Birkenstocks could have shared the crunchy moment with me. I guess it could still be a marketer's brainchild but instead of slapping an even token price tag on the dead coffee remains, they just said, "here, use this, it's good for the earth." (Okay, it gets us to tote some of their garbage home at no cost to them, I concede, and it makes them all seem all green and fuzzy to the organic among us. But still.) Damn, damn, damn. The sarcasm was just leeched out of me.

Good form, Starbuckians. [I still would have sneered when the little marketeer said "win-win." But that's just me.]

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