starbucks…a springboard

Read this article about Starbucks and what it says about America:

Then (1) respond to the article.  What did you find interesting? surprising? and (2) imagine a new article that uses the basic title/premise:  What ______________ says about America.  Fill in the blank and then explain your choice.    Be careful to choose something that we haven’t discussed/studied much.  It should be original and thought-provoking. (Your post should be two paragraphs long….)

Respond to at least one other post after you’ve completed your response.

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Denver Christian High School Seminar Program
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40 Responses to starbucks…a springboard

  1. Lauren (2nd) says:

    I didn’t find too many things really surprising in the Starbucks article. Starbucks can say a lot of things about our culture. Like they said in the article, Starbucks suppiled a place that work and home collide. I know for me, I go to Starbucks to eat down and drink coffee and work on schoolwork or my writing. Its a place for community where people can find refuge from a busy workplace or a crazy home.
    What Malls Say About America
    I choose malls because it says a lot about America. Think about it; you walk into the mall and you are instantly bombarded with images, brands, and sayings telling you to do this or buy that. Walking around you see all the pornifided images of Victoria Secert, Abercrombie and Fitch, and countless other stores. All the sights, sounds, and even the smell can be overwhelming. But hundreds of people still go to the mall everyday. It’s a huge part of our culture, it’s something we don’t even think about. When your teenager it’s the thing to do, go to the mall. Adults go to go get clothes and kids go to go play at the playland or get new toys. Its also kind of a place for community. A place where people just go and where you can invite others to go with you. That plays into the social aspect too, no one goes to the mall by themselves. It’s all about who’s with you. All in all, malls can say a lot about our culture, socially and in community.

    • Nicole says:

      I agree that Starbucks is a place to hang out and have community. People can go there for a meeting or even a date. I always hang out with my friends there because it’s a chill environment with good drinks. I also agree with your view on the mall and how it has become a teenage hot spot.

    • Hayden says:

      I agree with Nicole, American culture is very materialistic. Its about how you look to others, you don’t buy a $80,000 sports car for its function, you buy it because it makes you look a certain way to others.

  2. Nicole says:

    I agree with this Starbucks article. Kids at school are jealous of their peers when they come to school with Starbucks in hand. It’s basically just a drink place with a few pastries so I don’t know why we make it such a big deal. they have a lot of variety which is probably the appeal. It’s mainly coffee but they have made new drinks to pull in non coffee drinkers too. I have never met a person who says they hate Starbucks.
    What Cars Say About America
    I chose cars because they are also a huge social status thing. If someone has a cool car it’s known that they are rich and people usually want to be their friend. In movies the cool guy always has a nice car and in actions movies they are often blown up or involved in a crash of some sort. High school kids always dream of having the coolest car but usually end up with hand-me-downs and are usually happy with what they get as long as it has four wheels and drives.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think car is a part of American culture, but car is not the culture as looking good to others. Car have been American culture because America has a huge territory and Americans need to use car to move to somewhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, if you have your license and a car you feel a more sense of freedom. But I also agree with James that not everyone cares about what car they have they just need a way of getting around.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree and I think that people base people’s statuses off of their cars. The nicer the car the more money you have. I also agree with the fact that high schoolers always wants a super nice car, but end up with a hand-me-down yet there are just glad they even got a car at all.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was surprising that Starbucks had made stores every four hours and 600 stores closed. Starbucks was made about 40 years ago and it has about 20,000 stores in 60 countries. However, Starbucks shows the american culture that is popularity among Americans. Actually, there are some coffee stores that are better than Starbucks, but Americans are choosing Starbucks because it is popular and everyone drink Starbucks coffee. Like the title “What Starbucks says about America”, Starbucks shows the culture of popularity in America.
    I choose baseball to say American culture because I think it is related to American economy and it was made by American culture. Long time ago, there was a baseball in America. However, there was no Ball that are used with Strike and out count, right now. There were 9 strikes per one out. Because of that, it took long time to play one game. However, after people started to pay for baseball game, the owner of baseball team thought it could be great to earn money and the game time should be shorter. Because of that, the baseball rule have been changed to make people enjoy. Ball count was added and Strike count had been decreased into 3. Baseball could be popular sports because people tried to make it fun and to make money more. We are enjoying baseball with its changed rule and that’s the American Culture.

    James Jee

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. This shows our greed. Everyone is out to make a dollar off of something and in the end, someone always does. This also shows that we always want to be entertained, but only to an extent. We have very short attention spans. Sports today only play for upwards of three or four hours, but at the actual games there are breaks, like the seventh inning stretch. And at home, there are commercials, which brings us back to somebody wanting to make a dollar.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the writer about Starbucks. One thing that surprised me was how much Starbucks has grown. The article said that “The Company went from 1,800 stores in 1998 to 16,000 in 2008.” This shows how much it has become part of most people’s lives. When everyone goes to Starbucks they always have their drink that they order every time they go and a certain way of ordering it. And even though Starbucks is known for their coffee they also have a lot of different options for non-coffee drinkers so they attract many different types of people.
    What education says about America.
    I asked my friend Ha-an who is from South Korea about what surprised her when she first came to America and the first thing was how school wasn’t taken as seriously. In Korea for example they have to wear a uniform, go more often than us, and the disciple is a lot harsher. However in America most don’t wear a uniform and we only go 5 days a week. America is also one of the few countries that doesn’t use the metric system. Our President also pushes for a higher education system but we r number 4 on the list of all the countries in the world. With how much money we have and spend some of it should go towards more education.

    • Anonymous says:

      I forgot to add one thing.
      However I don’t think all of American education is bad becasue we were higher on the list than Korea even though we don’t try as hard as they do. So if we were to try and take it a little more seriously maybe we could be number 1 on the list.

      • Bri says:

        I agree with what you said about how education isn’t as strict as in many other countries. When I was also talking to Ha-an, she said that school goes all through summer and they get several breaks here and there. They clothing they wear is also neatly fitting and provided by the school. Schools in the United States are more laid back and casual.

    • Thanh Nguyen says:

      I’m totally agree with you when thinking education reveal a lot about American culture. I also has the same feelings as Ha-an when I first came to America. Beside being comfortable but polite in clothes and behaviors, I feel American education is very active and great as it creates tendency for students to not only focusing on their studies but also practicing and improving other useful skills in life. Since I started to study at DC last year, I have learned some necessary and useful skills like group working, discussion, writing essay, creating presentation or project and especially I had improved my thinking abilities and awareness of issues such as history, religion, society, worldview, culture, and life … as well as I had the opportunity to expand my understanding and knowledge about life through chapels, field trips and extra-curricular activities that organized by DC. And all those things I’ve never learned and experienced in my country before and I believe that my feelings are true for all other Asian exchange students because there are too much differences between American and Asian education.

  5. Bri says:

    I agree with the writer about Starbucks and what was said about the fact that most of us get Starbucks because of the popularity. We like people to notice the well known name on the cup. The writer says that “Starbucks put themselves in the way of cultural leaders who are moderately hip, sophisticated, and successful in their jobs.” It says that we too want to become just like that so we buy the brand.
    What food says about America.
    As Americans, we are always on a busy schedule and always in a hurry so we often grab food from the pantry or frig that is ready to eat. In many other countries, their meal time routines are much different than ours. Food is often homemade and much time is taken out of a woman’s day to prepare the evening meals. In our culture, many families don’t even eat together anymore and food usually comes out of a package and is heated in the microwave. It’s not part of our daily routine to cook a homemade meal every night, all we want is fast and easy.

    • Mikey says:

      I agree. We like people seeing the cup with the huge Starbucks logo on it. We think it makes people notice us more… which in some cases is true.
      Starbucks is fast and easy. We zip in and out. We do like it that way. And yes, meals aren’t eaten as families as much as they should be. Sad, but true…

      • Anonymous says:

        The sad fact that many families don’t even eat together shows that American culture is about having every thing done easy and quick. So many families are going their seperate ways because of indivual busy schedules. Mothers are working to help support the family and don’t have time to come home and cook a homemade meal. We rely off of fast food restuarants and frozen meals. Even when they do have time to eat together the kids split up and go off to their room. Parents may go to their studies or to the television. There just never seems to be enough time to get together.

        -Allison (2nd period)

  6. Thanh Nguyen says:

    After reading the article, I was surprised to know “Starbucks was opening a store every four hours”. This information showed me Starbucks is more popular and necessary to American that it open more and more stores to meet and serve people. However, this number was collected three years ago, October 2009, so I wonder if it also true to talk about Starbucks today, when everything changes a lot, especially the economic is not as comfortable and strong as it used to be.

    It’s also interesting to know that despite of its profitable purpose, Starbucks is still popular and successful in its marketing business because it understand and meet people’s desire about the “third place” – a place outside home and work, where people can gather and communicate together. However, I agree with the writer that the fulfillment of the fundamental need for connection is still not resolved. Although it can be accepted to recognize Starbucks as a good place for people to gather and relax after work, but what if people are more and more going to outside place like Starbucks to satisfy and comfort their need of connection which they cannot really find in their home? So I wonder how they can solve the emptiness inside themselves if there is nowhere like Starbucks for them. I think it’s reveal a lot about American culture because for some Americans, they are more interested and relied on outside place than their home while home should be the most familiar place for them.

    What credit cards say about American culture?
    I think credit cards can tell a lot about American Culture. Because first of all, the U.S is the credit card’s ancestral home. Secondly, the USA is the most credit-card-intensive country in the world because everyone have at least one credit card and the symbols of Visa, Master Card,…appear everywhere from the fast food restaurants, grocery stores to hospitals and airports,… to remind and encourage people using credit as a second way to pay money if they don’t bring cash. The use of credit cards has now become completely entrenched in the US’s ultra consumerist society. American consumers use credit cards to pay for one quarter of all their retail purchases. Since people were given much higher credit limits, and monthly payments were reduced dramatically, they started to buy everything they wanted without thinking about whether or not they could afford it or pay debts. This helped feed a culture of consumption because more and more people counted on their credit cards as the source for emergency funding, and any desired purchase — a flat screen TV, new furniture, a vacation or clothing — was bought without regard to the status of one’s bank account. It seems Americans rely on credit cards so much and their attitudes towards credit cards are optimistic. That’s why I think credit card is a part of American Culture and I know there’s a lot to talk more about credit cards, as well as the large and diverse culture of America.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to agree credit cards do say a lot about American culture. They can be and often are our quick fixes in life. And even when they put us in debt we keep using them because they are mindless and easy.

  7. Mikey says:

    Nothing in the article really surprises me… but i didn’t know that they were actually closing stores… Our culture obviously likes looking cool and rich. —- “With that cup in our hand in 2006 and before, we looked cool, we looked sophisticated, and we also looked like people with $4 to waste on coffee.”
    Also… marketing is a big deal… If you have bad marketing, your business goes down the drain. But Starbucks has pretty good marketing, thus, they sell millions of cups of coffee.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with Mikey because I knew quite a bit of the information already there. However, the statistic I wrote about was surprising to me.

      • Katie O says:

        I mainly agree with Mikey that this article stated most of what many people know. Starbucks is such an iconic american icon that its becoming more and more difficult to shock us with facts about the company.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What caught my eye was the fact that 1,800 stores in 1998 to 16,000 in 2008. I think this says a lot about American culture it shows that in a way Starbucks was right. People do want to find that community even if they have to pay outrageous amounts of money for a cup of coffee. So is it all about community or does it have to do with one of the first things they mentioned, that “With that cup in our hand in 2006 and before, we looked cool, we looked sophisticated, and we also looked like people with $4 to waste on coffee.” is it more about how the coffee makes you look then how it taste or what it costs. 
    I chose homes because I think they say a lot about America. In america the size of your home and the things that fill it tell a lot about your social status. The more things a person has in the house, the bigger the house is, and the fancier the decor means that the person is well of. So because of this we flaunt our homes and items throwing party’s to show off the place or getting remodels on this that are perfectly fine. Overall I think this says alt about how americans want to be noticed and on top of social ladders. 

    • Erin says:

      I agree Kristin. I think that homes do tell a lot about someone’s social status these days. I like your point about “how Americans want to be noticed and on top of social ladders.” It’s all very true.

  9. Erin says:

    The article about Starbucks didn’t really surprise me too much. I mean, there are Starbucks stores everywhere, practically every street. Starbucks is a hip place to hang out, and most everybody likes what they have to offer. I agree that going there is a lot about image for some, and the creators of Starbucks have figured that out, that’s why they are charging so much for each drink.

    What “Work/Jobs” say about American culture

    I think jobs say a lot about American culture. In our culture, having a job is seen as a good thing. It provides for yourself and family. However, I want to focus more on teens/ students having jobs in America. While I was researching this topic, the average number of kids that have jobs is 25%. I found this really surprising, because I thought that a lot of teens had jobs, especially over the summer. I guess a lot of kids just depend on their parents to provide everything, even a lot of the tuition for college. This shows that, in American culture, teens are becoming more lazy, and dependent on their parents to take care of everything that they need money for.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Most of the information given in this article was expected but the explanation of “selling a community” struck me. I never really thought about the, “let’s go meet at Starbucks,” part of our culture. Everyone knows in the back of their mind that Starbucks is a place where the community meets but never really says it. The fact that Starbucks has created the image of a community and made a business of it is brilliant. It’s true that we all want that feeling of togetherness and Starbucks accomplishes that for the most part.

    What animals say about American culture
    Animals have become a large part of the American dream life. To afford the luxury of pampering a small pet has intrigued many different cultures. In America it is considered normal to have a pet of some sort. Naturally, when we meet someone, we ask them if they have a pet. Recently its turned more into a statement than an actual question because most families have pets these days. Another example of pets becoming a large part of American culture is through advertisement. Most commerical these days have a dog or cat in them. The model is caring for the animal and showing a sweet image. Animals seem to have this captive pull and eventually lead to great marketing. The picture looks family friendly and having a cute fluffy animal makes it even better. Businesses make a ton of money off of pets. Not only through commercials but through care too. Wealthier pet fanatics take their animals to spas for a pampering because their little angel deserves it. Often times the dog comes out with twice as much fluff and a different color of fur. Animals represent family and wealth in America.

    -Allison (2nd period)

    • Mat says:

      This is why I do not have a pet. Waste of money.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that animals represent wealth in America. If you think about it, it’s really pretty ridiculous that we have pets at all. Whoever decided to start domesticating animals must have been called crazy by everyone… Because who would want to spend all that money on something that can live without us? You’re right though, they are used as a business tool also. Some people would rather buy one product than another because they have a cute image of a dog on their commercials.


  11. Anonymous says:

    I found the Starbucks article to be not very surprising. Starbucks store are everywhere, you can see one almost every few miles. So many people go to Starbucks as a place to work and reconnect with others and to just relax. I personally don’t like coffee and yet I still find myself at Starbucks doing homework and/or just hanging out with friends and family.
    What Walmart says about America
    I think Walmart says a lot about America. One thing it says is how cheap people of America are. They wanted things as cheap as they can get them. Another thing Walmart says about America is how it is all about convenience. Walmart stays open 24 hours for those who have last minute errands to run or forgot something for school or work or whatever it may be. Most Walmarts also have a McDonald’s in them along with a nail salon and even an eye care center so that you can do everything all at once. Walmart says other things about America but I think the above are the main things it says about America.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This article didnt really take me by surprise. I feel like every major chain in America has its glory days and then fades into something normal, something not as special as it used to be. I found it interesting that at one point in time, Starbucks was opening a new store every four hours. What surprised me is that people go to Starbucks more for the atmosphere than the coffee.
    What pets say about American culture
    We pamper our pets. Pets mean everything to some people. If we dont have children, most likely theres a pet that gets treated like one. From Chihuahuas in purses to crazy cat ladies pets mean the world to some people. But in events like dog shows some people spend their every waking moment training their pets, they’re literally obsessed with their pets and how they appear. This shows that we are too attached to our pets and that no matter who we are we need someone or something to spend out time with and make sure it behaves the way we want it to. We all have the desire to be superior, a master over something. This goes in hand with the story of creation. God put us in control of the world, and this shows in our control over all animals in the world, including our pets.


  13. Mat says:

    This whole article scared the living crap out of me. First, i found out that I had to respond to it, and second, how fast so many expensive luxury drink bars came out in a course of 4 years. I also find it stunning how much people are willing to spend everyday for a caffeinated milkshake.
    What Hummers say about America
    Here in America, we value four wheeling, looking boss, and crushing others rather than helping our environment. Hummers get about .0000035344 mpg. When we waste gas like this, it shows that we hate our earth and would much rather look cool than anything else. We spend almost 50 grand on a tank that is street legal. Although it is safe for us to drive in, think about the other people on the road. One minor accident could cause a lot of pain for the other party. All in all, we value looking cool over helping our earth and the safety of other people. After all, we only care about ourselves.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I found many different things interesting about this article. I knew Starbucks was a huge company, but I didn’t know that they were opening one every four hours at one point. If you think about that, after years, that would turn into a Starbucks on literally every street in America. Thankfully, this died down. Another fact I found interesting is something I saw, but never really recognized. When someone walks down the street with a Starbucks in hand, they look sophisticated, yet hip, cool, and preppy. It shows that we still have style, yet we still work like a boss.

    I think houses show the wealth of American Culture. When driving down the street, you come across some really nice parts of town, like Cherry Hills, in which all the houses are close to, or over, a million dollars. I find it amazing how people can just cough up the money to buy a house like that. We also have small, poorer parts of town in which the houses are not near the quality of the houses like in cherry hills. Even these look like castles, however, when compared to almost every African and Asian nation. I think it shows how unbelievably blessed we are to have a flowing economy that, even though we complain about it all the time, is much better than any nation in the world.

  15. Joshua Rossi (2nd Period) says:

    I think it was amazing was that Starbucks was opening a new store every 4 hours. This shows how much the Starbucks corporation. The amount of stores that they were opening though was not making enough profit to keep them afloat. If you read the article you see that the businesses profits dropped almost $30,000. This is just unbelievable amount of money that they spent to open these new stores, which did not bring them a good profit.

    House are truly a way that people show off how much money they have. You have entire subdivisions built up around certain groups of people just to show case they achievements. You also have middle class neighborhoods which can include a very nice group of people. The American culture really does like bigger things. If you look at movie stars houses of even extremely successful peoples house they show how hard they have worked for that and to achieve that in their life time. I believe that many people can truly afford that kind of living but for the people who want to look grandiose but yet they cannot really afford the house that they bought and might even end up losing it in a foreclosure.

  16. Thomas says:

    I think that what stuck me about the article was the concept of community. It talked a great deal about starbucks occupying a near sacred roll as a place free from the stresses of work, and interestingly of enough, home was well. What was weird about that to me, is that in my view, home is meant to function as that restful place, free from the stresses of the outside world. Why was it that they needed a middle man between home and work? Was it that work has become more stressful, and now required a added resting station? Or was it that home was no longer a place to rest after a hard day? I was left with these questions to ponder.
    In line with community still, it kind of creeped me out to think that corporations were basically artiffically create a feeling that I was welcome and among friends, when in reality they just wat my money. I’m not blind either, I fully understand that we live in supply and demand society where the goal of bussiness is to make you buy their product. But, community as a concept is one that is so personal, and the fact that a bussiness it trying to create it so they can get your money… Well, it’s a bit appalling really.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I agree with this article completely. Sometimes I might not even be in the mood for coffee, but I find myself riding my bike to the Starbucks by our house just so I can go do homework there rather than at home. Even if I just want to get out of the house, I go to Starbucks. I see people sitting around working on laptops at every Starbucks I go to. Even if you are working on your own, you don’t feel so lonely when you are surrounded by other people doing the same thing. You’re all just drinking coffee and working; having a good time. Starbucks really hit the jackpot when they realized Americans’ need for a close community that their neighborhood might not offer them. Several Starbucks’ can be found in nearly every neighborhood; and while the interiors aren’t exactly the same, they all offer the same cozy feel. We as Americans are willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money just for the feeling of being part of a community.

    I think different types of cars really say something about Americans. There’s all sorts of cars; trucks, SUVs, Jeeps, limos, sports cars. Every one of them says something different about what we as Americans value. Cars like Jeeps and Suburus are for the adventurous type, like us in Colorado. They might not look the most stylish but they are perfect for all the outdoorsy things we like to do. There’s trucks like you see in the commercials that are good for driving through mud and hauling stuff around on ranches. Some people would rather drive a Corvette or a Porsche. Maybe they like to show off how much money they have since they can afford it, or maybe they just really like the car. In any case, cars are an obvious symbol of status in America. If you see an SUV you can assume it’s probably a family car. If you see a sports car, it’s more likely to belong to an older man who wishes he’d had the money for it back in high school. Cars can also have a different meaning, though. Some people just like fixing up cars. They pay a ridiculous amount for a classic car and then spend years fixing it up to perfection. However, most of the time I think cars hold a lot of memories. For example, people always remember their first car. That is the car they went on their first road trip in or maybe they remember experiences with their friends involving the car. Whatever the case, cars are a very important part of American culture; showing both how dear we hold material things as well as presenting our status to everyone who sees us.


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree completely with you Becky, especially with the car paragraph. I know a guy who spends all his time and money glam-ing his electric blue Jeep up. But for him there is always something cooler he can do.. in the end, his jeep is something he finds worth in. I think this is true for all Americans, we all have that thing we find worth in, and generally it is something very materialistic.


  18. Anonymous says:

    I also agree with this article. Starbucks is not really about the drinks anymore, instead it has become a status symbol. I know that when I get a Starbucks before (or during) school I like to drink it really slowly, not to savor, instead to let everyone know that I have a Starbucks. The thing is is that I don’t really know why it is that cool to have a Starbucks.

    I think that Christmas shows a lot about American culture today. Christmas, I believe, represents the self centered nature of Americans. As Christians we know the reason behind the holiday is Jesus, but even us Christians the celebration is no longer focused on God. This holiday has become about us, and let’s be honest, that’s why we love it so much. There’s time off, good food, spectacular light displays, family, and last but not least, presents. All in all, it has drifted from a time focused on God, to a time focused on ourselves.


    • Hayden says:

      When I read this article about Starbucks, the first thing that got me interested was at first the income of a patron at Starbucks was $81,000 and now that the company has more stores and more popularity the income of its patrons is $56,000. I think Starbucks has affected the American culture. It’s no longer a regular coffee house; it’s a place to escape from normal life and relax or meet friends.
      What coffee houses say about America?
      I think coffee houses say that we have no energy to do things. we as Americans need a pick-me up. They also say we are a sophisticated society and we have the money to spend on that sort of thing; not really because coffee at Starbuck is only $4 per cup. Starbuck is also a community hang-out were we can express our self’s openly without ridicule.

  19. Katie O says:

    When I read this article I wasnt really interested, that was until I read the part about how it targeted to people who were part of up and coming carreers so that buying a 4 dollar cup of coffee wouldnt look as rediculous. I think that this shows how much americans value youth. They targeted specifically young and up-and-coming people so that the trend would catch on quicker.

    I would say that gyms say a lot about american culture. Americans can be percieved as being vain and gyms help to suport that. Gyms for one have areas where people can go to work out, but more and more gyms now have spas and shops that sell products that can “help you look 10 years younger.”

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