Monday, May 30, 2011

The Beans of Wrath

People of the Netherlands a cancer is encroaching your country. I have enjoyed my ten years here without it, but the proverbial triffids are at our door. They are in our train stations; they are in our high streets; and they are bent on stealing your culture.

I'm a huge fan of coffee. My fandom resembles that of a fresh crack addict. I love my drug of choice and what it does for me. I am convinced I can kick it whenever I choose. As an addict, I do like the coffee Starbuck's sells. And I enjoy the look of their cakes, although they do inject them with more sugar than a healthy man should consider eating. And their décor within them is not unpleasant.

Artists' rendition of your future.
However, their business model is parasitic. The aim is not to compete with other establishments in a healthy competitive manner, but to strangle them by flooding as many Starbucks as they can into a particular area so that if you go into a random coffee house, the chances are it's a Starbucks. Then, once the competition has all died out, they close most of their stores and enjoy being the people's only option.[1][2]

It's a savage use of money to deny people free choice. It's Soviet-style coffee communism aggressively brought about by abuse of people liberal attitudes to the free-market.

Now, I can understand it not mattering in a country like the US (or even the UK) that doesn't have a café culture, but this country does. Most bars and cafes actually have good coffee. They have atmosphere. And they are usually run by individuals with character and often a connection to or compassion for the community they serve.

If you go to a Starbucks, you are contributing to the eradication of the café culture of the Netherlands. You are saying, "I don't want 'gezellig' places with charm and character. I don't want a choice of places to go and drink coffee." You are, in short, supporting the Stalinesque purge of your nation's cafés.

Anyway, rant over, enjoy your coffee.

[1] No Logo, Naomi Klein, 2000;
[2] The Simpsons episode 3G04: Simpson Tide, 1998.