When I'm watchin' my T.V./And that man comes on to tell me/How white my shirts can be/But he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke/The same cigarrettes as me.
-- Mick Jagger, "Satisfaction"
Sunday morning I was walking by Safeco Field, coffee in hand, when I heard a man's voice crop up behind me. Here's a quick transcription of the exchange:
Guy: Did you really go to Starbucks?
Me: (I turn around and see that the voice is coming from a man selling Mariners programs) Is there a problem?
Guy: Nobody in Seattle drinks Starbucks.
Me: That's bullshit. I've lived here my entire life.
Guy: Well, nobody I know does.
Me: (I'll let you use your imagination)
If I had a dollar every time I encountered a Seattleite who proudly turned up their nose at Starbucks, I would be a wealthy man, and almost have enough for a pound of beans at Stumptown.
I drink more coffee than the average coffee drinker. The beans I grind at home are from the two-person, 30-year-old operation, the Good Coffee Company; I meet friends and sources (and do plenty of eaves dropping) at Cherry Street; the coffee at work is Vita; the blend that's in my cup now is, yes, from Starbucks. After yesterday's interaction, I just may start defaulting to the latter.
There's something extremely refreshing about walking into a Starbucks: Nobody's there to make a political of fashion statement. They're there for coffee, not to feed their self-importance, or order up a cup of self-congratulation.
Now, you could say I'm being rash, that this program-barker was just being obnoxious (and you wouldn't be mistaken), but these sorts of self-important, PREACHY sermons are common. There's a large, local, vocal constituency that believes that where you get your coffee says something important about what kind of a person you are. You get it a lot from members of the music community.
How could I forget the time a local club-owner told me he'd think differently about me if he found out I frequented Starbucks? How about the time Hey Marseilles sent our press releases touting the fact that one of their songs would be included on one of Starbucks' compilation CDs, then shit-talked the coffeemaker when I asked them about it? One of my favorites was the time Spoon's Brit Daniel told me, emphatically, that he doesn't usually go into Starbucks, but he made an exception to see his band's latest CD on sale there.
So, I think I'm going to start drinking far more Starbucks coffee -- out of a branded, ceramic travel mug -- because I want my drip coffee hot (unlike basically every other place), I want the music to be good (hey! who doesn't like Fleet Foxes!?!?!?!), and, you know, I want to support my local coffee shop!