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August 18, 2004 — 9 AM

Grande Americano

At the new Paris Starbucks near the Opera metro stop, French people approached for an interview seemed ashamed on some deep level to be there, or at a minimum felt the need to explain themselves.

The Boston Globe eyes those funny, snail-eating neighbours across the Atlantic in a piece about the ennui over France’s waning importance in the world.

You know, Starbucks made sense when the only coffee you could get was at the local diner, where the brew percolated hours ago and sat on a burner for hours. Hell, in English-speaking countries we don’t even have our own words for good coffee, so we have to use Italian. That’s why Starbucks was not such a bad thing. But Starbucks in Paris? Why would anyone order a grande-latte-no-foam when they can order un café au lait en bol?

There is a Starbucks in my neighbourhood in Montreal too which perplexes me to no end. Some of the finest lattes in the city can be had from the Italian coffee joints a couple blocks away, and they cost literally half as much. And if you need to pay more, there are three other hoity-toity cafes within earshot of the mermaid. One of them gives you a gourmet chocolate with your coffee! And still, some people seem to require the bland sameness, inflated prices and maltreated, minimum-wage employees of the green, black and white.

PS: I note with irony that even in uptight Paris, Starbucks is just called “Starbucks Coffee”, while in Montreal, they felt the need to placate the Office de la langue française by calling the franchise “Café Starbucks Coffee.” (No joke.)

PPS: Link snatched from the rather odd blog entitled Starbucks Gossip.

Comments

I’ve been to the Paris-Opera Starbucks on a couple of different occasions - I noticed the clientele consisted primarily of American students studying for hours (while taking all of the best seats) apparently enjoying a little slice of America in the city that probably wasn’t so romantic for them after all. The clientele consisted secondarily (and not insignificantly) of incredulous Frenchmen (and -women) who seemed politely shocked that anyone would want to queue for ten minutes to purchase overpriced espresso in an overcrowded, non-smoking “cafe”.

Chris | Aug. 24, 2004 — 10 PM

Hey Chris, since you fit neither of those profiles, what was your excuse? :)

— Luke | Aug. 25, 2004 — 12 AM

Previously: School’s Out For Summer

Subsequently: Canuck Chord Kafuffle

August 2004
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