Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Starbucks: So much more than just coffee

Anyone who knows me at all is aware of my Starbucks habit. Since what feels like the beginning of time - or maybe just after my kids were born - I have visited Starbucks almost on a daily basis. There were a few years when I wasn't working full time and tried to cut back on my expensive habit; during those leaner years, I may have visited a few times per week rather than daily.

Friends make fun of my little habit, relatives think I spend too much money on coffee and my husband - who I may add also has a Starbucks addiction - laughs at me. Even my children have learned that Mom often stops at my coveted cafe on the way to soccer, family outings, shopping, etc.

To this end, my daughter purchased the book Onward for me for my recent birthday. For those who are unfamiliar with the book, it was written by Starbucks ceo (yes, he uses lowercase for his title) Howard Schulz and details "How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul." I just started reading it and only 25 pages in, I realized that for me, Starbucks is about way more than just coffee.

In the book, Schulz discusses that for him, Starbucks was never just about selling coffee. It was always about the experience. When you go into any of their locations and look around, you may see: professionals on their way to work, students working on research papers, Moms with their babies in tow, friends meeting up after going to the gym, the list goes on forever.

After I gave birth to Zachary and spent a year at home, it was a major adjustment, as it is for most new Moms, especially for those of us who were out in the workforce and were now at home full time. As wonderful as it was, there were times when I felt isolated and just needed to get out of the house. Going to Starbucks was a break in my day; a time when I could do something - even something small - for myself. And I always felt comfortable bringing Zach in his stroller.

Fast forward a few years and I'm back in the workforce, juggling kids and career. There is little - if any - time to slow down. I'm always racing between schools, work, back to school and managing things at home. So a daily stop at Starbucks is my small break in the day, a time to enjoy my own little tradition. And on occasion, I will grab a coworker for an afternoon coffee break or meet a friend for an after lunch latte.

Starbucks does not just represent great coffee for me; it's about a tradition, an experience that for a few minutes takes me away from all of my responsibilities and harried lifestyle. For some of us, that "tradition" or experience might be a daily run or reading the paper. Or, for commuters, it could be that half hour when you can read a book on the train. The point is that making that time for ourselves and respecting that tradition is critical for our well-being.

Thank you, Howard Schulz, for going beyond the standard coffee shop, for creating a place where people can have an experience, where they can feel comfortable and socialize while enjoying an amazing coffee treat. And go ahead, friends and relatives. Make fun of my grande non-fat latte habit...I won't be pulling out my Starbucks Gold Card for you!



Sheila said...

You said it perfectly, Renay. I too have an addiction and that is exactly how I feel about daily treat to myself.

Renay said...

Thanks for the comment, Sheila! I'm enjoying mine right now.