In Italy we don’t have Starbucks and when I heard about it on TV more than five years ago before coming to Canada, I couldn’t even imagine that it could become a sort of addiction.
Why Starbucks is not present in Italy? Well… firstly, they say it’s because of the price of coffee that is kind of a rip-off.
Secondly, American people don’t care about the price but they simply want something available and handy when they get off the train and go straight to work. In Italy, there’s plenty of bars everywhere, in every corner of the streets.
Moreover, Italians are not used to walk with a plastic cup in their hands (they would not be able to gesticulate when they talk). They prefer to enter every bar every 10 minutes and ask for espresso (and a croissant for breakfast).
Sipping a coffee or a cappuccino in a bar is such a deep, sophisticated and intimate experience for Italians, and perhaps Starbucks would force them to abandon their tradition. However, I’m sure that the reasons behind the decision of not exporting Starbucks to Italy are more economic than “psychological”.
I read that Howard Schultz, president and CEO of the Starbucks Corporation visited Italy in the mid 1980s. He saw what kind of atmosphere we have in Italian espresso bars: people talking to each other, the barista with a big smile stamped on his face and the clerk joking around and calling the clientele by their names. Schultz thought it was more a “theater” than a bar and he thought of exporting that atmosphere to United States.
Until a few months ago, I used to seek inner peace and a contemplative dimension in the mystic world of tazo chai (a delicious blend of black teas accented with sweet cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and vanilla). Much more better than an expensive full immersion yoga program…
… I do still need yoga though but, it’s been a while now, I took a decision that changed my life forever (it sounds dramatic but it’s true).
They say that the first step towards healing an addiction is to admit you’re addicted in the first place. So I quit. YES. I QUIT! It wasn’t easy, believe me. Moreover, I have a Starbucks store just on my doorstep and this didn’t help me. How to quit?
1) Do the math. Since I haven’t found a rich Prince Charming yet (I want to take this opportunity to make a plea…), I had to pay for my tall non-fat decaffeinated tazo chai. The price for the tall size is around $3,50. Let’s say $4… If you buy it every day it would be $28 per week, $112 per month, $1,344 every year. Hellooo, did you hear me? $1,344!!! You can buy a Louis Vuitton bag with that money!!!
2) Don’t be lazy. Have your breakfast at home and prepare something hot to bring with you when you go to work. I usually prepare green tea with no sugar in it. Sooo saaaad!
3) Calories savings. A tall drink of tazo chai has 170 calories and the fact that I used to order the non-fat tazo chai with skim milk didn’t make so much difference.
As you can see from the picture above, I have my personalized card (there’s no money inside but it’s so cool) and I treat myself with a tazo chai once a week.
Life is so SWEET!