Saturday, January 24, 2009

Karasuma Starbucks

I realize that Starbucks jokes are played out at this point, but if I had to tell you where the new Starbuck's that I discovered on my way home last night was, I would say; It's on Karasuma just north of the Starbuck's across the street from the Starbuck's.


The Morholt said...

We have one in Downtown San Miguel now. On the corner of the square. With a great big sign in English in a town where, due to our federal designation as a national landmark and U.N. designation as a (Sorry, only know the literal translation for this ) "Patrimony of Humanity", it is illegal to have big signs and illegal to have signs in English.
I think anyone who knows me can imagine my many and angry objections to this situation. The surprising place where I don't have a problem is that local coffee sucks, local employers treat their employees like slaves and don't give them any training that might make them good at their jobs, and keep indifferent hours and with worse than indifferent service. They pay less and offer less to their employees in every way. It sets up a bit of a conundrum for me when I try to decide how to be a responsible consumer.
Strange how the third-world context makes one of the corporations I find the most laughably irrelevant and bad for competition and local economies is suddenly a place where I occasionally do business. No other place to get a coffee to go after 4 in the afternoon, no other place to get anything quickly or from people who seem happy to be at work

Caitlin said...

It's very interesting how Starbucks varies greatly around the world. Dykes, in Lancaster we have good local coffee from employers who treat their employees and coffee growers well and crappy coffee from Starbucks who mistreat both employees and coffee growers. Wes, we also have two Starbucks on the same road, the only difference is that one take giftcards while the other doesn't. I know this because the only time I will venture into a Starbucks is when a family member has given me a giftcard as a generic gift.

knox-villan said...

In Columbus, OH within five miles of my house on Polaris Pkwy, we had 9 Starbucks. Just in the mall alone, there were three. Here in Bowling Green, we have two Starbucks, one on campus and the other right across the street. This idea of putting a Starbucks on every corner goes along with CVS's rule; when a Wallgreen's goes up, CVS buys the closest open lot to the store and builds. Both are pharmacies. I have a difficult time shopping at CVS or Starbucks for obvious reasons and we won't beat these into the ground but why if Starbucks promotes taking care of the Earth, are they building a store on every open street corner? What better way to promote their message than to buy the land and name it Starbucks Park?! Not like a major corporation would ever do that but it is an interesting idea.

wwc said...

I believe the word you are looking for is "World Heritage Site." I live in one of them too. Isn't that interesting by the way? That we both migrated to UNESCO cities. I have the same kind of feelings. My last year of college they put the Starbucks in as Sanjo Ohashi and I objected strenuously. I even wrote a movie centered around blowing it up. Then I moved here and became a loyal customer. The Starbuck's preceded a general regeneration of the area that has lead to it being a much more pleasant place then it was. Since then Starbuck's have sprung up everywhere. I will say that, different from San Miguel, Kyoto is a great coffee town. However, most of the cafes aren't really places I would go by myself. Plus, as you said, the coffee at Starbucks is good. There employees seem happy. They will put coffee in my own cup. Their scones are very nice. It is a dilemma. But a better one than shopping at Wal-Mart in Alabama.

The Morholt said...

"mistreat their employees" means something entirely different in Mexico. Trust me. I imagine that Starbucks employees in Mexico get less from the corporation in terms of respect, benefits and salary, but by local standards they are being respected and well-payed.
As for the conditions under which their coffee is grown and how their growers are treated, i don't really know. I know coffee plantations can be pretty bad places, remember the ones i saw and heard about when i was teaching in Costa Rica, but, again, by local standards they were offering a living wage and long days of hard work, but nothing brutal or worse than working your own farm.
I think I'll skip looking into it, because i have no responsibilty for any of my actions or their repercussions if i don't know about the repercussions. That's my birthright as an American.

Caitlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.