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I have no problem with Starbucks. There are a lot better local places around here like Stone Creek, Four Seasons, and Alterra, who uses fair trade beans only. Both provide a superior product. However if I am in out of town, I have no problem with stopping at Starbucks beacuse they have good coffee.
If someone did the exact same thing to a cafe in the Castro area it would be considered a hate crime. Its amazing that we're all supposed to be so tolerant but people can't tolerate a chain of coffee shops.
I think it's the concept that it's a chain of coffee shops. The two seem like they should be mutually exclusive--at least, I'm old enough to remember coffee shops that were more the haunts of musicians, writers, and other creative types who would pass the hours with a single latte. Starbucks and the others aren't bad per se, their coffee has certainly raised the bar on what's considered drinkable, it's more the idea that it is such a chain. Near where I live, there are three of them within about 3/4 of a mile of each other. And they have drive-throughs. In my caffienated youth, I could not have forseen simply driving through, like McDonald's, and getting a latte. Lattes were meant to be lingered over, not gulped in an SUV on the way to a meeting. But enough nostalgia. They're here, they have their good and bad points, and I wonder if I can get to the one on the way home before rush hour....
I'll try to go to an independent coffee shop first, but Starbucks will do if nothing else is around. Hey, they're really exploiting people in other countries more than they are in the US, so what's the big deal?