Starbuck's decline, foretold

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You read it here first. One by one, two by two, Americans are going to wake up one morning and think: "Hey, 7-11 makes good coffee. And they have donuts." And that will be the end of the Starbuck's craze.

I've already experienced this awakening, although I had a very brief love affair with Starbuck's lattes, so it might take others longer. I can't remember my first cup of Starbuck's coffee, but it probably wasn't much more than two years ago. For several years before that I would only drink my own coffee: Peet's Kenya whole bean, ordered online about once a month, ground every morning and brewed in my French press. It was good coffee. Whenever I poured someone a cup, they'd take the first swallow on autopilot, then be jarred out of their train of thought by the taste. They'd look down at their cup in surprise and then look up at me and say, hey, this is good coffee.

I can't remember when it started to feel like too much trouble to brew coffee. For years it was a ritual; it was pure joie de vivre. Each morning when I poured my first cup, I'd lean my elbows on the kitchen counter and take the first sip from the spoon I used to stir in real cream and sugar.

Giving it up probably had something to do with getting the dog; now my morning routine includes quite a bit of dog-related activity, which cuts down on the time available for other things. So I make instant now, which means my standards have been lowered. From where I'm standing now, 7-11 coffee tastes good. I wish it were stronger, but that's just me; I made strong coffee, back when I made good coffee. You have to get 7-11 coffee in the morning when they're selling lots of it; that's when it's fresh.


Eh, people want to eat at a place with atmosphere. 7-11 sells Malt Liquor and a myriad of Tobacco products. The image of someone carrying a cup of Starbucks coffee is too much for 7-11 to compete with.

Unless you want to buy a lottery ticket too, then 7-11 is your place.

Most people don't sit and eat or drink their coffee in Starbuck's. They stand in a long line to order, then stand around waiting for their drink, hoping the kids filling the orders get it right and that somebody else doesn't grab it, as has happened to me twice. If you want a caramel frappacino you have to go to Starbuck's, but if you just want a cup of coffee 7-11 is easier. Besides, if you've been doing housework or yardwork you don't feel like you have to change clothes to go to 7-11. Just wait: walking around with a cup of 7-11 coffee will become the new chic.

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