The Siren: why art thou so complicated?

Did you have your Caffè Americano? Perhaps you wanted to caramel your morning and settled down for a Macchiato? Or maybe, just maybe you share the same preference as me and went with a Vanilla Latte? Only you can tell.

Not just you, however, your wallet as well. Your phone too, if you complete your Starbucks purchases through your handset (iPhone & Android), in which case you win an extra point from me.

You’re perfectly aware that the green Siren on your white cup came at a higher price than many other coffee companies, yet you’ve chosen its temptation. Why? Is it the incomparable taste that gets you running back for more? Is it because it’s socially considered more attractive than any of its competitors? Is it because it gives you that extra boost of higher class materialistic confidence? Once again, only you can tell.

What becomes an issue however is when Starbucks becomes generally praised as being overrated amongst the general public. There are many reasons as to why Starbucks consumers and more specifically its non-consumers feel this way, so your daily dose of TDJ is about to break it down nicely and easily for ya.

When people say “Starbucks is so overrated” they often confuse two words: overrated and overpriced. Yes, this is indeed the case especially when you begin to question them as to why they feel this way. People of all kind, aliens from many light years away (or here on our planet, dammit stop messing with my Wi-Fi), animals that ravage through food, stop for a second. Breathe slowly and read the following. When something is overrated it is appraised, overestimated, or rated too highly. Thus, when you say Starbucks is overrated what you’re saying is the quality of their coffee & food & other consumable products are below that of what is a normal standard, or simply underwhelming offering for what’s offered elsewhere. Mind you, it is perfectly okay to think and reason this way but let’s make some sense of it shall we?

These people (and there are many, many of them) go around saying Starbucks is overrated, which should mean there is a wide variety of established/upcoming/unknown coffee companies that offer a much better quality in their menus. Great, however there is a reason Starbucks has been featured in just about any movie, seen in many people’s hands on daily average, piled to the max with no free seats, and generally speaking highly preferred among consumers worldwide. You may argue it’s all in the brand, but it isn’t. If the quality of coffee in Starbucks was that bad, and the hype around the company was that high, there is no way people would pluck down their hard, earned cash for it much longer.

You’ve got to understand consumer trends and how insanely quickly they can change in a matter of weeks. Exhibition A: take a look at how Android overtook iOS in preference and usage on the mobile front. It happened nearly all too quickly. Thus, despite the fact that it is a well-known brand, it doesn’t mean that it gets strong consumer sales just because of its name. In another example, take a look at RIM’s BlackBerry. Is it a widely known brand? Absolutely. Is it selling phones like hotcakes? Absolutely not. BlackBerry was a top vendor of mobile handsets at one point in time, but its consumer interest has dropped colossally. The brand is still there, but are people buying it? Nope, not much anymore. At some point you’ve got to stop and really understand that a brand will indeed play its game when the product being offered is of high quality and preference among average consumers. People enjoy their Starbucks coffee + people buy more of it + the brand becomes confident and popular = winning profit.

In turn, what many of these folks really mean is that Starbucks is overpriced. That, my good friends, is what is really meant when people brag about this coffee company being overrated. Come to think of it, overpriced it certainly is. While generally offering good quality of coffee for such a large worldwide chain, the prices seen on the menus are assuredly too high for what’s being offered. You can certainly feel this when getting a grande Vanilla Latte (yes my favorite) which is nearly $5 in United States & Canada (depending on your location it may be a little high or lower), but the real pain can be felt in Europe where the same latte comes up to nearly €5 (also depending on location, but generally speaking true) meaning you’re basically paying $7 for a medium cup of coffee.

Oh green siren, why art thou so overrated? Just kidding, I meant to say overpriced.

What’s your personal take on this? Sound off in the poll above (right-hand corner).


moon girl said...

I think that regular coffee at Starbucks is generally OKAY. They introduced the blonde blend and kind of revamped their regular java. Other than that, their lattes SUCK. They only make them good in Europe but over here in Canada (and maybe U.S too) they just taste like water and cheap espresso.
My take on it is... I will not pay $5 for a Starbucks specialty coffee. And the reason that it is overpriced is because the company can use its overrated image to bring up the prices.

Alex said...

I generally agree with everything that you've said. One note on what I've noticed on their specialty coffee specifically in Canada and in US however, is that it is very inconsistent. What I mean by that is I have gotten a quality latte at one Starbucks, while another time I received something more of a water & cheap espresso as you've mentioned. I think training their staff better would be a good idea

moon girl said...

True that.
Especially at our school. They mess up every second drink.