Friday, August 31, 2007

Trading soul for java

The new Starbucks has opened on 300 N. Charles Street — and as much as I hate to say it, I actually kind of liked it. Yes, it’s true, the caffeinated beast of business that I always labeled as a corporate monolithic infestation has some appeal. Of course, I had to sign over the rights to my first-born child for a Chai Tea Latte, but it was quite tasty. And I can always adopt.

There were free samples to be had on the street, but it wasn’t exactly bustling outside due to the upcoming Labor Day weekend. It did seem odd to choose this Friday to open, and it was no shock that the newly minted baristas were staring at a barren store. Probably a good thing, since the employees were still learning — and arguing — about what goes in what, how grand a grande is, and how lite is a latte.

Before I wandered on up to the second-floor lounge level, I perused the featured CDs while Ella Fitzgerald crooned in the background. Fourteen bucks for a CD is a price I would never pay, but maybe when you’re hopped up on coffee beans, you lose all rhyme and reason. Being a music purist, I did feel a little queasy seeing jazz and blues discs on the counter next to after-coffee gum and boutique beverage accessories.

Is nothing sacred?

Enough was enough. As I walked back to our newsroom, I could feel the glare of the local mom & pop shop — just 100 steps away from the new Starbucks — follow me across Charles Street. However, I was proud to have managed to escape the antithesis of small business without selling my soul any further.

Although I do have to name my first son Frappucino.

-FRANCIS SMITH, Special Publications Assistant Editor


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have no opinion of your own..Do you like it or not? Did you sell your child for a chai or a frappucinno? Make up your mind! Make a statement about something and stop throwing around a bunch of trite nonsense. Do you care about your neighborhood and commmunity? If you did you would realize that Starbucks coming to the area is just the beginning of a much needed revitilization of downtown Baltimore..Starbucks is a trailblazer and will pave the way for others!

Anonymous said...

corporate shill!