Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks

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University of California Press, Oct 20, 2009 - Social Science - 320 pages
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Everything but the Coffee casts a fresh eye on the world's most famous coffee company, looking beyond baristas, movie cameos, and Paul McCartney CDs to understand what Starbucks can tell us about America. Bryant Simon visited hundreds of Starbucks around the world to ask, Why did Starbucks take hold so quickly with consumers? What did it seem to provide over and above a decent cup of coffee? Why at the moment of Starbucks' profit-generating peak did the company lose its way, leaving observers baffled about how it might regain its customers and its cultural significance? Everything but the Coffee probes the company's psychological, emotional, political, and sociological power to discover how Starbucks' explosive success and rapid deflation exemplify American culture at this historical moment. Most importantly, it shows that Starbucks speaks to a deeply felt American need for predictability and class standing, community and authenticity, revealing that Starbucks' appeal lies not in the product it sells but in the easily consumed identity it offers.
 

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This book not only challenged my thinking of Starbucks culture coffe, but also about consumption, self-gifting, and where I find value, status and identity. Definitely worth the read.

Contents

Introducing the Starbucks Moment
1
1 Real Coffee
21
2 Predictability theIndividual Way
58
3 It Looks like a Third Place
82
4 SelfGifting and Retail Therapy
122
5 Hear Music for Everyday Explorers
149
6 NotSoGreen Cups
173
7 Sleeping Soundly in the Age of Globalization
201
Afterword
239
A Note on the Research
247
Notes
253
Selected Bibliography
279
Index
289
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About the author (2009)

Bryant Simon is Professor of History and the Director of American Studies at Temple University and the author, most recently, of Boardwalk Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.

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