It’s official, Starbucks has officially taken over the world. I thought it was only NYC that was overwhelmed with Starbuck shops but apparently the trend has moved to other parts of the world including Dubai. Luckily I love starbucks but sometimes its nice to get away from modernization and take in a world that is not influenced with western culture.
Starbucks however stands for more than just a good cup of coffee but a symbol of economical status. Starbucks launched a happy hour deal for half off frappuccinos between the hours of 3-5PM. The link is incredibly long with young adults holding their camera phones. After every half priced cup is served, a photo is snapped on someone’s phone. Look up #starbucks on Instagram and millions of selfies will appear with an the individuals holding a cup of starbucks (may also see groups of people holding cups). Notable hashtags which also will appear within the posting may also read #Foodie #Foodporn. A community of people that categorize themselves of “foodies” recognize the opportunity behind the starbucks cup. I understand the reasoning behind it and that’s to gain viewers or likes. I People may not do the same with a Dunkin Donuts cup of coffee because that’s considered the poor man’s coffee shop. There are plenty of people that also post Dunkin Donut selfies on Instagram but honestly, that’s like posting a picture of a McDonalds Dollar Menu Cheeseburger. It sounds shallow but thats the name of the Instagram game. Fake it until you make it. Pose as something that you are not. Hold a Starbucks cup and act like you’re above the grain. All for the sake of gaining popularity and being liked.
Starbucks, unlike Dunkin Donuts and other coffee shops are specific to their locations. They only open within high income white neighborhoods. Some people would make it a case that business is business. In terms of business, that would be smart but Dunkin Donuts can be found in poor neighborhoods and their prices are almost aligned to Starbucks. In fact, Dunkin Donuts is making a killing in the coffee shop industry. Every store I’ve entered in NYC always has a line but the image is quite different. Starbucks has become a symbol of luxury, wealth, and status. So it does not surprise me that Starbucks is popping up in the middle east especially in Dubai.
Recently, Starbucks started a campaign for “race relations” with an aim to fight racism and inequality! So they will build a location in a strategically lower income neighborhood. They’ve decided to open a location in Ferguson, Missouri. The city that began the race riots which are influencing other large cities. Ferguson is 70 percent Black and Starbucks usually opens in predominantly white neighborhoods. I give them credit for this one attempt of bridging the gap between them and lower income neighborhoods but that does not change the overall image of Starbucks.
People may disagree but when a working class individual thinks of Starbucks, immediately “expensive” will appear in their mind. I know that’s the case with me but I still will buy their coffee because it makes me feel special and part of an elite class of people that can purchase their coffee. Soon the community of Ferguson will know the same feeling. A Starbucks cup is not just filled with coffee but poses as a symbol of lifestyle and fashion.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Dunkin Donuts coffee, its actually my favorite coffee and I am not ashamed to walk around with it. However considering society standards and social media, Starbucks is a symbol of fashion, lifestyle, and appearance. People may prefer to hold a Starbucks cup in public for aesthetic reasons. A cardboard Starbucks cup will give the impression that an individual has style, taste, and status. In Dubai, Starbucks is a symbol of wealth and status but what will it mean for predominantly lower income minorities in Ferguson? Here’s to the ice coffee’s, frappucinos, and macchiatos of the world uniting people together! Drink up guys.