What Drinking Starbucks Says About You
By Vanessa Palencia
Starbucks has become a household name; its logo is recognized worldwide. The company has seen success without having to advertise itself excessively like other companies do. It spread its wings strictly through word of mouth of its loyal customers and is truly a legacy all its own. But when we see someone carrying a tray of Starbucks to work, or a family casually sipping on Starbucks while watching a soccer game on Saturday mornings, what does that say about them? Do we see an average person or someone who is well off enough to have the luxury of spending $4 on a cup of coffee?
To make this association a little clearer, ordering a venti Chai Tea Latte can cost you $4.45 and a venti Caffe Latte can cost about $4.25. If you were to get a Caffe Latte every day for a whole week, it would cost you about $120 a month. That can be quite costly, yet many students and other minimum wage workers try to get their coffee fix from Starbucks as often as possible.
Some people say that because Starbucks’ targets are “urbanites with relatively high income, professional careers and a focus on social welfare,” the feeling of being able to purchase a Starbucks drink even when you know you really can’t afford it allows you to feel like an insider, or part of a higher social class. In fact, in China, Starbucks is a symbol of social status, “not necessarily because of the coffee’s quality, but more due to the comparatively high prices, a certain brand awareness, and the company’s internationality.” There’s a reason why so many people post about their Starbucks drink on social media and make sure that the famous logo is the highlight of the photo. It calls to attention that while you may not be rich, you can still afford this little luxury.
Starbucks also has a way of making its customers feel special. When you go to Starbucks, you have the option of ordering more than just a cup of coffee. If you felt like it, you could order a double-shot-tall-nonfat latte or one of their famous frappucinos. Bonus points if you order something off their secret menu. Being able to order a complicated drink makes customers feel special and somewhat of a coffee expert; thus, buying coffee from Starbucks says that you were “willing to pay more than a cup of deli, McDonald’s or 7-Eleven coffee. You were a discerning coffee drinker.” It’s the feeling of being part of something many see as ‘exclusive’ that makes customers come back to this coffee chain time and time again. But it’s also this feeling that makes people feel like part of a higher social class. So whether you buy Starbucks coffee for its flavor or familiarity, holding a Starbucks cup broadcasts your VIP status to the whole world without saying a single word. Talk about the ultimate cup of coffee!