Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bad Idea #2 - Passing the 'Buck

Giving Up Starbucks in Favor of The Local Coffee Shop

You always hear people talk about how important it is to shop locally. They say it helps to build a sense of community. They say it improves the local economy. They say it is good for the environment. They even say it is good for the soul. I'm assuming "they" know more than "I" do, because social studies was my worst subject in high school whereas "they" always got straight A's.

And so, this week's posts are all about shopping locally. Unless I get distrac---- hey, what's that?

Anywhich, my first change of the week will be to buck the 'Bucks and head to my local coffee shop for my java fix. I'm not complaining about this change. The "local" shop has great coffee, a warm atmosphere and a liquor license -- in case I need a little something besides caffeine to keep me going. Also, they make THE BEST scones on the planet. The only downside is that there are THREE Starbucks that I pass on my way to and from preschool each day. The local coffee shop I like? Yeah, that's about six miles away.


And so, I guess I might as well add "limit the amount of coffee I drink" to my list. After all, it wouldn't be very green of me to drive six miles out of my way just for a cup of joe - even though I bring my own mug. Fortunately for me, I do have to head over that way once a week -- either to get fabric or passing through on my way to the fresh fish store.

So far this looks like a great post, doesn't it? Why is it, then being listed as a bad idea? Well, because after spending twenty minutes composing the damn thing, I started to search the internet for some factoids to toss in that would support my fabulous green idea. And you know what? I couldn't find a single freakin' one. Which is pretty amazing since I am NEVER wrong. Don't believe me? Ask my husband.

In fact, everything I found online talked about how wonderful Starbucks is; how they support fair trade coffee growers, donate their used grounds to garden clubs and swaddle orphaned penguins in handmade quilts and whatnot.

Another reason this is a bad idea? I like Starbucks. A lot. Nobody, but NOBODY makes a peppermint mocha the way they do and the kiddos love their nasty-ass, overpriced, stale donuts. Also? They're EVERYWHERE. You can't throw a dead cat without hitting a Starbucks, which makes them easy to find when you're traveling. A lot easier than wasting gas while searching high and low for a local coffee shop.

Lastly, you'll notice that I never ended up writing any other posts about shopping locally, so apparently something shiny really did distract me! That, or I got all hepped up on a caffeine buzz.


just ducky said...

I'm sure that some wonderfully intelligent individual will come up with numerous reasons why Starbucks is evil and they very well may be...however this former Valedictorian found that Starbucks is also in this year's Forbes Magazine Top 100 Companies To Work For...right there at number 7. My employer is also in the Top 100 but all the way down in the 50's...Does that mean that I should quit my job and go work at the Starbucks across the street? That will hinge on whether I get free coffee/hot cocoa or not....

heather t said...

It's not entirely a bad idea - it just didn't work for you. Which is ok. For me, it works to go to the locally-owned drive thru coffee/bagel/sandwich shop instead of the Coffee Beanery across the street. So I do.

It also depends on what you are buying. If you're buying veggies in the summer, sure, shop the local farmer's market for local produce vs the grocery store for apples from South America. But coffee? Coffee's coming from far away, no matter where you buy it in the states. (Except maybe Hawaii.) So you make your best choice based on what's available to you.

arduous said...

Yeah, the other thing about Starbucks is they pay their employees quite well by industry standards and they offer really good benefits if you work at least 35 hours a week.

Starbucks also worked very hard to make a paper cup using post-consumer content. Obviously it's better to bring your own mug, but it's nice that Starbucks is thinking about the environment since it basically has to provide people the option of paper cups.

leslie said...

I say, any (coffee) pot in a storm.
And think of all those calories you'll save by not having those great scones, or that little something extra from the liquor license menu...

Wendy said...

I'm not sure it's more eco-friendly if you have to drive twice the distance to get the same product - especially given that Starbuck's has made a concerted effort to be kinder to the earth. Besides, unless the "local" coffee shop sources "local" coffee, you're really not doing anyone any favors - except the owner of the coffee shop. How many coffee growers are there in Virginia, anyway? :)