Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I hate to have this take the top spot from the AG story which we're ferociously following here at the riot act, but I had to point this out. Starbucks has its bad (forcing out mom and pop coffeehouses, no free wi-fi, not nearly enough fair trade coffee beans) and its good (bordering on decent health benefits for its workers, a substantial amount of fair trade coffee). But what they've also done is manage to put about 4 of themselves within a short walking distance of Knucklehead's apartment. Well, my lack of sleep has gotten me back on coffee, and GUESS WHAT TOMORROW IS?!

that's right, from 10 to 12 noon, get a free cup of Starbucks coffee (i'm guessing it's a small, but it's free) from those clowns. If you like them, drink their coffee. If you hate them, drink their free coffee. And if you're on the upper west, take a walk, bring your mug and get 3 or 4. BONG!



Blogger ALG said...

I appreciate the oft-cited argument that Starbucks drives independent coffee shops out of business, but the data suggests otherwise. The data suggests that there are many, many more independently-owned, mom & pop coffee shops now than there were in 1989, a pre-Starbucks year. It seems that Starbucks created a market for fancy, shmancy, over-priced coffee, drunk and enjoyed on a cozy couch in a cafe, where none existed before. Before Starbucks, people bought their coffee at Dunkin Donuts, 7-11, or the local gas station and people didn't hang out in cafes in most cities, nor did they pay $5 for a cup a' joe.

I read this in a newspaper somewhere more than five years ago, and it seems true and logical to me. If you Google "starbucks effect independent coffee shop" you get things like this, this, and this, at least one of which ought to lead to an actually reputable source (as opposed to someone pontificating on a blog, which may or may not be a reputable source).

This is in contrast to mega-chain bookstores. There WAS a market for books before B & N or Borders or whatever, and B&N and Borders, along with the sizable effect of Amazon and other online retailers, has cut into that existing market.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Ruby K said...

Interesting point, ALG. this could just be me romancing NYC pre-starbucks days, where indy-coffee houses seemed a lot more available. Now you literally cannot go 5-6 blocks on broadway on the UWS without hitting a starbucks.

The data may have a point, though, as great places like the Grey Dog, Cocoabar, Gorilla Coffee, Jack's Stir-Brew and the Tea Lounge are thriving (in spite of the Tea Lounge's playing of bad Israeli pop at inopportune life moments of mine). I'm wondering if the Economic Policy Institute has something to say about this, they're my favorite source of economics info...

1:58 PM  
Blogger ALG said...

I agree that there are a lots of Starbucks out there, it's just that there are (it seems) also more indy coffee houses than there used to be as well. That doesn't mean that there aren't more Starbucks around than indy coffee houses, nor that you should patronize Starbucks rather than your favorite indy place, just that one can't blame Starbucks just because they've built a successful business model. It appears that they haven't done it at the expense of others, which is a business model I can fully support.

5:43 PM  

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