Why people love Starbucks



Dear Starbucks,

Thank you for having delicious drinks everyday. Everyone loves your drinks so much that they will wait patiently in that long line. You also have an atmosphere that makes us so relaxed that we want to stay there all day. Look at people on the couch. They are relaxing as if they are in their own room. You have the power to make people come to your place without forcing them. I believe that your company has been giving a great effort to become the world’s most well known coffee shop.

However, we have noticed that you are not encouraging a good environmental impact to the earth. I am a leader of an environmental volunteer community of Japan. Our community is called “Green Living” and we have a volunteer event once a week. We clean our town with the local children, we take care of city street trees, and participate in other events that help keep our Earth a better place to live. Therefore, I really appreciate what you have done in 2011. You had an event in New York encouraging people to use reusable travel mugs instead of paper cups. Unfortunately, it was just that day, so using less disposable containers is not something you are implementing today.

As you might notice as well, I think using disposable containers are a waste and it is really an American bad habit. I would like to suggest two ways that can be useful for you to decrease the use of disposable containers in the future. The first suggestion is to charge five cents per paper cup if customers do not bring their own container. In Japan, many supermarkets charge 5 cents to get a plastic bag when they forget their own. This charge made customers bring their own eco bags when they go shopping, and it has successfully decreased amount of plastic bags. Another suggestion is to ask customers if they are having the drink at the store, or to go and sort out if they need a disposable container or not. If they are having them inside, I recommend you use reusable mug cups for those customers. A café where I used to work in Japan did this system and they were able to reduce a large amount of disposable paper cups.

Lastly, this suggestion has nothing to do about my community, but my personal thoughts. I used to live in Mie, which is in the countryside. There, I needed to drive two hours to get a drink from Starbucks. Whenever I was able to have your product, I always felt happy and it was very precious for me to drink your coffee. However, when I moved to Kyoto, which is a city, I saw Starbucks everywhere. I was happy at first, but eventually it made me feel that Starbucks is not that valuable of a thing after all. I love your products and I will continue to do so, but I cannot help having a feeling that your company is facing overproduction.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this letter. I hope you will take this problem under consideration. Thank you.


Shoko Ueda

Green Living Community




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4 Responses to Why people love Starbucks

  1. sho5ko17 says:

    In 1971, the first Starbucks was opened in Seattle. Starbucks began expanding by conquering Seattle first, then the whole United States, and finally all over the world. The first Starbucks opened outside of North America was in Japan (“Starbucks”). Nowadays, Starbucks has become one of the famous international coffee shops that many people know as a powerful commodity.
    I took this picture of a throng of people waiting in line to get a drink from Starbucks on the UC Davis campus on May 1, 2013. Besides that, we can see some people sitting at tables relaxing, doing their assignments talking with each other, and having earphones in while looking at something on their ipad. I chose this image because it shows the popularity of Starbucks and reflects widespread assumption that it’s the best. It also shows the reclining chair that emphases comfort, a relaxing atmosphere, and an ability to use space in different ways.
    I am sure Starbucks coffee is not the best coffee for everyone in the world. However, the stable popularity of Starbucks reminded me of the line from Stuart Hall, “Knowledge linked to power, not only assumes the authority of ‘the truth’ but has the power to make itself true” (Hall, 1997). I will give three examples of how Starbucks makes itself true to become the world’s famous coffee shop. First, Starbucks utilize in order to generate a reputation to have power in as a famous coffee shop. Starbucks has created an image of its coffee as a desirable thing in the world. Second, the structure of the space in the store contributed Starbucks’ popularity. Now Starbucks has constructed sofas that give us comfort, which makes us want to stay for long periods of time. Third, their friendly customer service makes us want to come back. By having a desire to come back to Starbucks, we think that Starbucks is the best coffee shop ever. These power tactics made Starbucks as it is today.
    Starbucks has used cultural imperialism and local adoption as power tactics to exort their powers outside of America. The lecture of “Food in the USA” that used McDonalds as an example came to my mind (2002). By sending McDonalds and Starbucks to Japan, it seems that America is making Japan exactly the same as them. However, just as McDonalds has different products to adopt to other countries, Starbucks also has products depending on the country in which it is located in. For example, there is a drink called the Cherry Blossom Latte that is served only in Japan. This is one of the local adaptations that Starbucks has made. It shows that Japan does not have to be completely taken over by America and can also show that they have power too. This balance between cultural imperialism and local adoption make Starbucks loved by people all around the world.

  2. Kevin Su says:

    I find your manifesto’s analysis of why people love Starbucks very interesting. I agree that they need to embrace the environmental friendly community, even more so than they have already. Instead of charging extra money for paper cups, I think the company should encourage people to bring in their cups by giving a discount to people who bring them in. You mentioned that the only environmental friendly event they held was in New York, but they also do a lot of things behind the scenes that we do not see. Such as the paper napkins in the Starbucks are recycled paper cups that they use. They make their cups out of environmental friendly material, and they have a recycling bin at every store. To what extend this is true, I cannot be certain. These days mega companies like Starbucks makes sure their customers hear what they want to hear. Similar to the articles we read in class about McDonalds and Coca Cola, companies exploit their customers through subliminal messaging. Using that to take advantage of the consumerist nature of our society.

  3. hollywen says:

    Shoko’s manifesto includes both positive effects and negative effects on consumption. For positive effects: Firstly, it can provide fast and qualified goods and services to people. In Shoko’s manifesto, she mentioned that Starbucks usually use paper or plastic cups to contain the drink, which means people do not need to take trouble to bring their own cups. That is convenient for people if they forget to bring their own cups. Besides, they can throw them to the recyclable trash can easily and people do not need to clean the waste thus time can be saved. Secondly, they can enjoy comfort atmosphere inside the stores if they are not in a hurry. Shoko said to Starbucks that “you also have an atmosphere that makes us so relaxed that we want to stay there all day”. In the picture you can see people are not only drink or eat there, they also chat with their friends and use their laptops or ipad to study or for entertainment. So people have multiple choices in what to do in the shops and it is comfort for them. For negative effects: We can know that Starbucks uses disposable containers such as paper or plastic cups and tabs from Shoko’s manifesto. Though it can bring convenience to people, it can waste a lot of papers. If the plastic containers which are hard to break down have not been well handled, they will cause severe environmental pollution.

  4. aniyabaker3 says:

    What I loved about your manifesto was the honesty. When first reading I thought it was specifically to talk about the positives of Starbucks. Entering the second paragraph with however really captured my attention. I loved the idea of pinning more responsibility on Americans with something such as a coffee shop’s ways. However, I found it very interesting that you did not acknowledge the direction Starbucks was going in to improve environmental friendliness. Not saying the idea of an environmental friendly community in relation to coffee shops is unimportant, the topic was just very eye opening. This letter to Starbucks was reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s “America” reading. Playing on the fact of Americans being spoiled drew connection to your manifesto. Warhol spoke on how Americans overlook necessities of life because of the many other options that are instilled in today’s society. Much like you, I believe in the idea of an environmental friendly community. I also believe that Starbucks is on the road to success in the department. Mentioned above, there are things the company already does to improve the standards of environmental friendliness. The rest is yet to be known.

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