Starbucks shops in Japan number at around 1,000 stores and according to Starbucks headquarters, Starbucks in Japan was “looking forward to further elevating the unique and locally-relevant Starbucks experience in the market”. Yeah right, “unique”? How unique can it get when Starbucks figured out that by having people wait in a line for coffee it gives them the false impression they are waiting for something special? Do Japanese people realize there is a boycott going on in America against Starbucks and several other large monopolistic borderline criminal corporations? Here’s my message to Japanese people who patronize Starbucks: Line up suckers. Starbucks purposefully designed their store layouts to encourage snaking lines to create a sense of excitement and encourage the sheep mentality in patronizing customers. For people like me who pay attention to these marketing tactics it shows a lack of respect for the customer. The last time I was in a Starbucks which was years ago, I felt degraded just to get a simple cup of black coffee.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz oversaw his corporation enjoying market supremacy and broad disdain at the same time. “Disdain”, readers ask? Well yeah, from labor issues to fair trade to “promoting homosexuality” to charges of homogenization they are under constant scrutiny and criticism. And the most recent stunt last January, Howard Schultz announced he would higher 10,000 Muslim refugees in the U.S. Good one, Howard, you sent Starbucks stocks crashing because of that bold espresso move. Howard Schultz is stepping down as CEO of Starbucks as of April apparently because of the controversy of announcing he would hire 10,000 Muslim refugees. Bad decision, Howard.
Walking into a Starbucks is like walking into a sterile hospital lobby then standing in line listening to bland elevator music waiting to be prescribed with your medication only a coffee from coffee beans that probably have been in storage for two years or longer. “Will that be a Tall, Grande or a Venti, sir?” Shit, just give me a plain old black drip coffee will you? Read this description of the Starbucks store in Meguro when it first opened:
“Meguro store features locally relevant, simple design solutions that support the creation of powerful moments of connection. The design takes queues from traditional tea houses, as well as modern craftsmanship and translucent elements that allow consistent interactivity between customers and partners. Parts of a green garden and local contemporary art are also featured in the store. These elements provide another point of connection with the local community and culture.”
Did you ever think you would have to read such PR corporate marketing baloney just to drink a simple black coffee? “Culture”? Starbucks shops in Japan remind me of Japan’s industrial banks where you walk in and stand in line like on an automated conveyor belt – and the banks don’t even pay interest on savings? No wonder Starbucks was such a big success in Japan? It’s like walking into an industrial scale bank only instead of withdrawing from your non-interest paying account, you pay for crappy industrial grade coffee marketed as the best coffee ever roasted and blended. The Japanese are used it though: Standing in long lines means something must be good enough that everyone wants a piece of the action. No better description of Starbucks is available than from Israel Shamir in his book Flowers of Galilee, where on page 187 where he writes:
“Globalization and creation of networks is the way to avoid competition by merit. Instead of opening a better cafe, it is easier to buy every cafe and turn it into a Starbucks. People will have to come to your cafe.”
Israel Shamir should know all too well how these networks come into existence, he and Howard Schultz of Starbucks are both Jews. The idea here is that if you are mediocre you are rewarded beyond belief.