I regularly drink Starbucks coffee. It’s true. I used to wonder about the politics involved with coffee, but I have quit that. I have bigger fish to fry, and coffee is not my hot-button issue.
Meanwhile, I do wonder about the things that Starbucks chooses to put on their coffee cups. You know, those “The Way I See It” blurbs that remind me a whole lot of those TV spots they used to (do they still?) run on one of the big American TV networks called “The More You Know”. I know it’s not the same thing, but the positions these two “spots” occupy in peoples’ lives are similar: we now interrupt your regularly scheduled programing/routine to inform you of the following factoid/inspirational quip.
I did pay attention to those TV spots, and I do pay attention to the little blurbs on my cup. In fact, I had a Venti Vanilla Latte last week that actually affected me:
The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.
The Way I See It #76 by Anne Morris
Now, I realize that I am/was affected by this little inspirational quip because it spoke to an issue I was already having, but I suppose that’s the genius of Starbucks’ marketing strategy — Starbucks may (or may not) have helped change my outlook on my life, and therefore will (consciously, or unconsciously) become dear to me, making me even more fond of their coffee, even if it isn’t as good as the stuff I make at home on my own. It occurs to me that coffee branding is also lifestyle branding, and Starbucks apparently knows that — really well.
I pondered on the seemingly foolish thought that a coffee cup would have helped change my life, and initially, I was angered by it. I was angered by the fact that such egregious capitalist life-branding helped to surface an issue in my life that I should have been able to recognize on my own (being an intelligent, self-aware, young woman). Then I thought, “Well, if a coffee cup helped to affect change in my life, why should I care that it was a coffee cup that did it? It got the ball rolling on positive change, and that’s something to be thankful for.”
Maybe that’s a bit happy of me. Maybe I’m not poisoned enough by it, and I should be. I am not, nor have I ever been, one to rail against capitalism or life-branding. I am a pretty laid back sort, that way. And ya know what? Anger at a coffee cup just isn’t worth the effort, but perhaps the changes that it implied I should make, are.
Hurrah for the life-changing coffee cup?