Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Free Pass

This story is on the AP wire today:
Why you might see a Starbucks on every block

SEATTLE - Starbucks' answer to long lines at the coffee counter is to open another Starbucks.

As the Seattle coffee retailer heads toward its goal of 40-thousand stores worldwide the key word is "infilling."

The company says people don't want to walk far for a cup of coffee, so Starbucks doesn't mind putting a shop within a block of another if it will save customers from crossing a street.

Starbucks has more than 12-thousand stores worldwide and it's opening six more a day.

Chief Executive Jim Donald dismisses any notion that the company could experience oversaturation. And chairman Howard Schultz thinks Starbucks has been underestimating the worldwide demand for its coffee.
Now, subsititute the words "Starbucks" with "Wal-Mart Supercenter," "Seattle" with "Bentonville, Arkansas," and "Howard Schultz" with "Lee Scott" in the story above and you'd have people protesting in the streets. Where is "Wake Up Starbucks!"? Where is "Starbucks Watch"? Where is "How to Slam Dunk Starbucks"? The lack of any widespread, organized opposition to Starbucks proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that criticism of Wal-Mart is not based on distaste for rampant monopoly capitalism or the homogenization of Main Street USA. Starbucks represents those things even more than Wal-Mart does. No, the opposition to Wal-Mart comes down to ugly classism and snobbery. The cultural, intellectual and media elite all enjoy a good cup of latte and a biscotti, but they would never demean themselves by mingling with the hoi polloi to buy a pair of cheap underwear.

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