Is Starbucks a harmless habit or alarming addiction?


By Lauren Smith

Illustration by Rachel Carroll, President of the National Arts Honors Society
Illustration by Rachel Carroll, President of the National Arts Honors Society

Since the founding of Starbucks in 1971, the company has continued to be a dominant Fortune-500 company in the food and beverage world. With a net worth of more than three billion dollars, there is simply no other coffee company that has obtained the same level of success. The brand likes to attribute its success to a quintessential cup of joe and inviting customer service, but that just isn’t the case.

There is no other coffee brand that even comes close to reaching the level of influence Starbucks has achieved. It is difficult to go a day without overhearing someone talking about how they’re craving “a Starbucks.” When exactly did the world decide that “a Starbucks” represents any coffee beverage?

The most addicting thing about Starbucks isn’t the coffee itself, but the idea of it. Most of us have convinced ourselves that Starbucks water is the best water in the universe. Let’s be honest, it’s tap water. There is no better feeling in the world than walking into your most-loved neighborhood Starbucks and ordering your favorite drink: a venti, skinny, decaf, Caramel Macchiato with extra caramel drizzle. Running late in the morning? Starbucks. Mom is on your nerves again? Starbucks. Stressed about the big math final tomorrow? Starbucks. For most people Starbucks is a quick fix for any difficult situation.

The influence of Starbucks extends much further than its shop doors. The brand also dominates social media platforms. Everyday, it is likely you’ll see a picture of someone’s Starbucks in their Snapchat story. But I must admit, I’m guilty when it comes to this one. The company owns hundreds of accounts on Instagram and Twitter. Even one of their most popular drinks, the Frappuccino has its own personal Twitter. The account has over 200,000 followers. Yes, you read that correctly. A blended coffee beverage has over 200,000 followers.

Recently, Starbucks has been under fire for reinventing their Starbucks Rewards program. In another big-business ploy to make more money, Starbucks has enraged millions of customers. With Starbuck’s old program, gold members earned one star for every purchase. Once the customer earned twelve stars, they could be redeemed for a free food or beverage item of their choosing. With the new program, $1 equals two stars, and the customer will need to acquire 125 stars to redeem a reward.

Starbucks is a power hungry corporation that will stop at nothing to expand their influence. With more than 24,000 stores in 70 countries, they have constructed a habit for many around the world. Starbucks boasts overpriced and overrated drinks, and still millions are sucked into their coffee shops everyday.