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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.
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
A Note on the Research 247
Selected Bibliography 279
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.
“Simon knows more about Starbucks—and about why so many Americans find perfection in their lattes—than anyone. He connects our deepest desires to be good, smart, ethical consumers with our equally strong yearning to consume in an authentic way. Our coffee, Simon shows, is us.”—Sharon Zukin, author of Naked City