American consumption

Recently we published a feature week on coffee here. This week we are doing one on consumption patterns around the world. Hence I have decided to talk about consumption in the US through a coffee related example.

The American society has always been pointed at for being focused on consumption, with all the negative aspects this implies. One example would be Starbucks. I think of that every time I go there for a Frapuccino… And always feel a little guilty.

Over the past decade, Starbucks has managed to turn the coffee landscape around. Indeed, twenty years ago, Americans drank cheap coffee, which they got at diners, convenience stores, or other places, but which was not particularly good. So Starbucks came along, and offered better coffee for a higher price. They offered stores where you feel like going in and staying there for a while, and actually feel a bit at home. Then they built on that success and started selling all sorts of things, from sophisticated beverages that have nothing to do with coffee to water, music, mugs, and more. They now market some of their beverages in supermarkets, and have stores in most large countries around the world.

However there is a large controversy about Starbucks, especially regarding their commercial strategy. They tend to open many stores in close proximity of each other to drown the competition. There is no better example of this than in Manhattan. For those of you who live there, or have been to Manhattan, you know what I am talking about… Stand at any given intersection and look down the streets and you will most likely see three or four Starbucks… Then I stumbled across this video on you tube, which I found funny enough to share with you as a way to illustrate this article. It’s a bit long, but you get the idea. This guy sure has some free time…

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