That Familiar Starbucks Feeling

Three times every week I go to Starbucks to buy coffee and I must say every time I can’t help but wonder: how is it possible that you could make such a huge business on selling people coffee. And I think I finally understood the reason – they give you exactly what you need.

I wrote about Starbucks several times on Just Like NY, because, in a way, it’s hard not to: it became a part of today’s culture and it’s difficult not to acknowledge it. And yet, it’s still fascinating to me. For many New Yorkers Starbucks became an everyday habit. It’s just something you do after you leave your apartment. You simply go to the Starbucks closest to your apartment and buy your favorite beverage (I didn’t write “your favorite coffee” on purpose, because sometimes the things people drink at Starbucks are not even close to coffee). I believe that most of them can’t even start their day without it anymore.

Over here, a Starbucks is not a special place to hang out at. We don’t meet at Starbucks – we do if there’s really nothing else around and we really need to talk or use wi-fi (for work, usually). The only time I go and sit at Starbucks is when I leave my gym on a weekend and have a big craving for coffee – and am too damn tired to move around. That particular Starbucks I frequent is on 49th St. between 8th and 9th Avenues (in the pic) and it’s big and very bright – that’s why I like it. My other favorite Starbucks is in the one in Chelsea (23rd Street and 8th Ave). It’s small and not very convenient (it’s too small for a morning rush hour), but it’s on my way to work. I like it because of the staff. They know names of most of the customers, they greet them and ask them about their day (it’s part of Starbucks service policy, of course) and they remember their beverage preferences.

They don’t know my name (I’m there maybe twice a week and always order the same thing – Grande Pike Place [$2.67] that doesn’t require giving a name, since it’s a dripped coffee), but when I ordered Matcha once (Starbucks rewards points and I got it for free – nice move, Starbucks), a girl looked at me asking: “Not Pike today?” Plus they’re always smiling and just make you feel good. This is what Starbucks does (or at least this is something every Starbucks is supposed to do). It just makes you feel good. You get what you like, you won’t be surprised with the taste of your order, and what’s important – your day will start with the taste you wish it to start with. Besides, you feel welcomed and recognized. Your presence is acknowledged – and this is something we, New Yorkers, want to feel on daily basis. We want to be treated in a special way and to be remembered. And even if it’s only because of our coffee – that’s fine, we will take it. Some people also hate Starbucks and their coffee and will always chose local coffee shop over this one, but most New Yorkers choose Starbucks. I must admit that whenever I go somewhere outside of NY and see Starbucks I always stop by to get “this familiar feeling” and the taste I know. There are too many surprises on a regular basis in NY. It is nice to have something that’s the same every day. 

P.S. Today they told me that my jacket was nice. Another smart move.