Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks / Edition 1

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Overview


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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Editorial Reviews

Boston Phoenix - Mike Miliard

"Simon's book is a fascinating, sometimes dispiriting look at how Starbucks is emblematic of some deeper socioeconomic phenomena at work in this country over the past decade and a half."
World Wide Work

“A thoughtful, in-depth study.”
Publishers Weekly
After five years of on-site investigation, including Starbucks locations across the country and around the world, author and history professor Simon (Boardwalk Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America) has produced a less-than-earth-shaking examination of the coffee chain's influence on America (and its American influence abroad). Simon's hodgepodge of observations are heavy on the obvious ("Lots of people, I learned from my many hours of observation, used Starbucks as a second place, as a work space and meeting room"), and light on revealing details or investigation ("After making its five-cent donation to the world's water-deprived" per bottle of their Ethos water, "the company still gets an extra twenty to fifty cents... of profit"). Those who frequent Starbucks will enjoy Simon's range of topics, from business matters to the music played to the (very American) concept of "self-gifting." Though Simon's knowledge of the brand is obvious, his insight is sparse and his in-person observations lack color (though Starbucks deserves some of the blame for that).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520261068
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/20/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author


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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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introducing the Starbucks Moment 1

1. Real Coffee 21
2. Predictability the Individual Way 58
3. It Looks like a Third Place 82
4. Self-Gifting and Retail Therapy 122
5. Hear Music for Everyday Discoverers 149
6. Not-So-Green 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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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Marketing 101

    Having owned a few coffee bars near Starbucks locations, I was very interested in their marketing methods and development of product. I did discover something which I already knew but did not realize how calculated the effort was: that is, that the amount of coffee consumed in most of the expensive, sugar and calorie laden drinks is a very low percentage; and, that this account for a large portion of sales.
    I was also interested in the aspirational impression that Starbucks has made on the average consumer, which accounted for much of their phenomenal growth.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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