Trouble is a-brew in Berkeley again. Free speech, Vietnam, womens lib, Central America, no nukes, Apartheid, animal rights step aside you causes of yore, history has never been hotter. The streets are a-buzz, the revolution is afoot the Percolator Revolution!
Meanwhile, in the rest of the nation, a cup of coffee has become the in-vogue accessory for people on the go. Starbucks coffeehouses are nearly as ubiquitous as stop signs. Consider: Of the 123 Starbucks in Manhattan, 68 are within two blocks of one another. The Starbucks Corporation had 2,706 outlets in the U.S. in 2001, and reported over $2 billion in revenue that year. But thats just a hill of beans. With a goal of phasing in 2,400 new outlets by the end of 2003 as part of its three-year plan of having 10,000 outlets worldwide, Starbuckss coffers will surely be filled to the brim and overflow from cashing in on the Coffee Craze it helped create.
Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz speaks of his companys continued rapid growth, and indeed new outlets are popping up like weeds. A small town near Berkeley, in the midst of a long-planned, costly renovation of its outdoor shopping mall, recently replaced its old Albertsons supermarket with a new Albertsons super-duper-market, more than double the size of the original. It features an in-house dry cleaner, video rental shop, deli/bakery, bank, and a Starbucks. This wouldnt be significant were it not that, a couple months later, a new Starbucks coffeehouse opened up down the parking lot, roughly 50 yards away. But wait, theres more. A couple months later, a Barnes & Noble bookstore opened up roughly another 50 yards down the parking lot from the Starbucks coffeehouse, hawking books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and yes Starbucks coffee. That makes three Starbucks within 100 yards of one another. And each one is bustling with business. So now, sippin suburbanites can get perky while picking up the latest issue of Golf Magazine or Yoga Journal. Not only that, theyll have the juice necessary to stay awake while tackling their grocery list. And, for good measure, they can re-energize on the hike between stores, or on the way back to their SUVs.
But in Berkeley things are different way different. You wont find much golf (too elitist) or yoga (been there, done that) here. Radical politics is still a popular pastime, best exemplified by two oft-sighted bumper stickers: Id Rather Be Smashing Imperialism and Think Global, Act Loco. And though Berkeley has one of the highest densities of coffeehouses per square mile in the nation, it has only one more Starbucks than can be found in that 100-yard section of its neighbors parking lot. It is not uncommon here to see another bumper sticker that reads, Friends Dont Let Friends Go to Starbucks. Anti-Starbucks animosity runs deep in this city. But why?
You have two options:
- Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
- Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.
If you're already a subscriber log-in here.