A look into why people are addicted to the franchise giant
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Some might say that coffee makes the world go round. As I grew up, I saw my dad regularly enjoy a cup of joe, usually made at home or for free from the bank. Unlike him, more people today are spending their money (and lots of it) at coffeehouses like Starbucks. As one of the most beloved and widespread chains in North America, this powerhouse of a company has millions of people visiting their stores daily. In the morning, you arrive in line to be greeted by a friendly barista and make your way to work with a croissant and latte in hand. In the afternoon, you stop by to grab a bagel complemented by a frappuccino. And, in the evening, you order a couple hot chocolates as you make your way home. This isn’t just an out-of-the-ordinary day, it’s your routine. For some, this might make you look like a crazed spender with cash to flaunt, but for many, it’s a lifestyle—one that they are devoted to.
Recently, I conversed with a friend who works behind the counter at Starbucks. As a barista, she gave me the inside scoop that keeps customers coming back and turns them into regulars. “I strive to maintain a positive, warm, and welcoming atmosphere. I’m a natural [with people]. The fact that customers can customize their drink to meet their needs makes it accessible to anyone.” Most businesses do their best to make the customer feel like they are at home, and Starbucks has accomplished that personal connection with names. By simply writing your name on the cup, your experience at any location is deemed worthwhile. The act of personalized service is beyond value to any customer. But does it really make it personal, or is it all just a convention? Something meant to trick you into forgetting that they’re a huge multi-billion dollar company, and not just a little mom and pop shop?
Another aspect of the name writing is the way baristas spell them. Almost as a joke, many would argue that baristas are purposely writing your name incorrectly. Though my friend hasn’t heard of any misspellings in her store, I’ve had mine spelled in any variation other than my actual name, from Aran to Erin. This problem has turned out to be a tactic to fuel talk on social media, as complaints from Snapchat to Twitter unintentionally provide free advertisements for this coffee corporation, garnering worldwide attention.
For many, a relationship with Starbucks is a love-hate one at best. But the next time you walk into any coffeehouse, make sure you aren’t blowing all your money away. With at least an estimated $4.25 per visit, every weekday, for a year, you’ll be spending almost $1200—that’s a lot to spend just on coffee, and you gotta save some extra cash for all those Timbits too.