Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh, for Peet's sake!

I don't typically turn the TV on first thing upon waking, but yesterday morning after I climbed out of bed, sprayed my face with a fine mist of Evian and filled my coffee cup, I turned on the morning news to get the latest update on Japan.  Like everyone else I have been following the events closely, feeling it so deeply in fact that I broke down crying last night while watching some of the families dig through the rubble that was once their homes, their families, their lives.  I turned the channel and watched more head shaking, sickening news, Gaddafi's killings, the protesting in Bahrain.  Twenty years after the the Rodney King police brutality incident in L.A., I can still hear him, "Can't we all just get along?" - I guess not.  And I will never understand.

Acquisitions, ownership, borders, be like me, give to me, always wanting more, is there ever enough?  As the ticker tape ran across the bottom of the screen I swore I saw something that looked like "Starbucks to buy Peets".  No, no, say it isn't so.  On the scale of tragedies, I get that this probably doesn't even merit mentioning.  Nothing more than a mere bug smudged on the bottom of my shoe.  It's like asking for a raise when the company has just filed Chapter 11 or praying to God when he has put all of his phone lines on hold.  "Excuse me God, I know you are really busy right now, but if it's not asking too much and you happen to get an extra minute or two while dealing with all of the death, destruction and utter devastation going on in the world, could you please help me to lose this extra ten pounds by summer?"  You know it's selfish and wrong, but you still have to ask.

We all need a distraction from the pain and suffering in life.  We have many diversions to choose from; drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, shopping, Nutella, or perhaps praying for the frivolous, take your pick.  I am a sinner like the rest of mankind so I indulge in a couple of those on occasion, but my main distraction right now is my coffee.  Either the coffee I am drinking or the company that is selling it. That said, I don't want Starbucks to buy Peets.  I think Peets coffee is better than Starbucks. The physical place still attracts a more mature crowd, people actually sit longer, meeting friends or business associates, and read the paper on Sunday morning.  And I'm not talking about reading it on their iPad (though some do), they also read the real "what's black and white and read all over" version.

Logos through the years

If you've read any of my past blogs, you know my love/hate relationship with Starbucks.  In the yin and yang of life, my attitude towards Starbucks is getting out of balance.  The hate side actually seems to be expanding. It might have something to do with the changes associated with their 40 year anniversary.  The new logo, which I don't like, but I do understand.  Howard Schultz says that the new logo "embraces and respects their identity plus evolves the company to a point that's more suitable to the future."  No kidding.  The future of multiple takeovers. Now with only the vixen displayed on the logo they are not limited to coffee  - yes we can already see that.  With the new drinks and "petite" menu, coffee mugs, books, CD's, stuffed animals, party games and other seasonal merchandise, who knows what will be next.  But I will admit, I too gave in.  I couldn't resist.  After seeing the ad for the "new" cocoa cappuccino I had to try it.  And I loved every last sip of it.  I didn't want to love it, it wasn't planned, it just happened.  Like those books, Bad men and the women who love them.  That's me and Starbucks.

Starbucks Cocoa Cappucino
Starbucks has inflated itself to the point where it is no longer a coffee house, they are now really nothing more than a fast food restaurant.  Oh yes, I know, a very profitable, successful one at that.  As I stood waiting the other morning for my "coffee" I watched in amazement how people kept filing in one by one, getting in the ever growing coffee line.  It looked just like a McDonalds, a Burger King or a school cafeteria lunch line. They were coming in droves.  And I thought to myself how nice it would be if just a handful of those customers would visit the local coffeehouse downtown to spread the wealth a bit.  And then I realized that I myself was standing in this ridiculous cattle call of a line.  Why wasn't I at the little locally owned coffee house down the street?  It was the Newman of coffee drinks, damn that cocoa cappuccino!

"Hello Newman"

But seriously, all the little coffeehouses are being brewed right out of business.  So since God is extremely busy right now I'll go straight to the source.  "Peet's, hear my plea, I know this must be tempting and probably a very smart business move, but if possible, think of all the "little" people, your fans, your loyal supporters, who have managed to stay true to you - please don't go to the other side."  Just resist, if you can.

Soon to be a thing of the past?


  1. Love your Newman reference! Can't resist either....

  2. So true! I'm so proud that you would have supported the little coffee shop :) Portland style...maybe you're turning into one of us?


No country for old men (or women)