Coffee By Focus Group

Taylor Clark reviews Starbucked by Taylor Clark:

One of Clark’s great strengths in Starbucked is in exposing the almost fanatical level of calculation that goes into every corporate decision, from the colour of the walls to the layout of the stores to the music on the stereo, “which changed in mood throughout the day to reflect the needs of customers in each ‘day part.’” While Schultz speaks in artificially elevated, New Age language about the vaunted “Starbucks Experience” and about Starbucks as a mythical “third place,” separate from home and work, where customers can retreat to rejuvenate their spirits and to feed their souls Schultz claims that the chain was “built on the human spirit” the entirety of the company is the result of relentless planning and constant focus groups, the quizzing of potential customers about their “need states” and their “lifestyle segments.” The soulful experience that Starbucks patrons putatively crave is the result of a carefully micromanaged plan that systematically erases any kind of individuality or the flaws that allow for uniqueness. The “Starbucks Experience” is the apex of cookie-cutter corporate sameness.

And I love it. Mysteriously, no mention of the petite vanilla bean scones.

(Hat tip: John Baker)