Starbucks is a muse to me on so many levels–one is on a writing level and the other is on a business level.
On a writing level Starbucks is a guilty pleasure for me, as anything that is approximately $5.00 for 12 ounces would be for most people. It’s something that I might treat myself to once a month, but my awesome brother got me a gift card for Christmas so that I’ve been treating myself to it every Friday. Mhmm… the sweet taste of a caramel maichiato decaf. Yes, I said decaf. I can’t have caffeine, which is something strange for a writer. I have a highly visual imagination, over functioning almost, as most writers do but caffeine makes me crazy nervous, anxious and shaky. It’s not a feeling I enjoy and it heightens all those wondrous writerly attributes in a negative way. So it’s decaf for me, but coffee is like a comfort for me–it gets me in the mood to write. Starbucks, my iPhone and my laptop and I am all set to go. This Sunday it was two hours and four thousand words later. Yes, I type very fast and coffee sinks to the bottom of my stomach and eases me into the seat happily.
On a business level Starbucks is an amazing inspiration. This company established itself on being unique and created a business model where they could stay true to themselves and be successful. Threats abound for companies like Starbucks that are built around their unique experience like “creating a third place” where you want to spend your time. When these companies begin to expand they lose sight of their vision and standardization dissolves the experience for the customer. Originally when you walked into Starbucks you were greeted with a wafting smell of freshly ground beans and a pleasant lounge like atmosphere. As the company expanded from its 13,000 stores to over 40,000 globally they had to adapt. The freshly ground beans went away and not all locations could create that lounge feel–like the Starbucks I go to which is located in a large chain store. It can’t have those features. Starbucks has fought hard to maintain their image, though even with standardization. I think they have done it well. The ones that I have interacted with still have passion for the brand and give you a genuine experience by knowing the different drinks even when I flub what I want up. They make it enjoyable to drop $5.00 on that precious 12 ounces. The one Starbucks that I was able to experience with the lounge was great–I really loved it!