What is the world coming to? I was in my beloved New York City recently and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a Starbucks on every corner! Oh dear! How could this happen? I treasure Manhattan’s uniqueness and diversity, yet here I was, walking block to block, feeling like it was Groundhog’s Day. Starbucks is exploding, and it MUST BE STOPPED! What happened to the unique, cool little coffee shop that you could only find in that city? Why are we letting Starbucks spread like a disease all around us?


As you may have noticed, all across America and throughout the Globe, the landscape is becoming extremely homogenized. I fondly remember the day when I could go to another state in America or Europe and find one-of-a-kind stores and gifts to bring back to friends and family. Imagine my horror when I returned from Paris with these fabulous artisanal chocolates from a little shop and then I saw them in a store in Los Angeles a week later. Where is the originality? How can we see Los Angeles or Spain or Russia as truly unique places when we have the exact same stores and restaurant chains? It reminded me of being with close-minded Americans in Europe who just wanted to eat pizza or go to McDonald’s. “Why did they even bother coming to Europe?” I thought to myself.

I am not one of those extreme whackadoos who won’t go to any big chain stores or shop online. I embrace technology and commerce. I shop at Target and Costco. I love Forever 21. I live in Orange County, a mecca of mall after mall with the same exact look and retail stores. I grumbled when the one-of-a-kind stores left Rodeo Drive, only to be replaced by Guess and Coach. I got a severe headache when Times Square, which was already too touristy lost the last of the grittiness and became middle America with a colossal Disney store and Baby Gap. But I survived all of this.  But having Starbucks invade New York City is just too much.



On our visit in Manhattan, my husband and I woke up and headed out to enjoy this great city that was once my home. My husband said he wanted coffee. I suggested that we walk and find something. “Why don’t we just go to Starbucks?” he offered. I stopped dead in my tracks. I consider my husband an intelligent human being, but here he was, with a herd-like mentality, as if possessed, wanting to go to that megachain that I so abhor. I clenched my teeth. “I REFUSE to go to a goddamn Starbucks in New York!” I shouted. I stomped my feet and flailed my arms, just in case my point had not been made clear enough. I was even more ticked off with Starbucks as usual because we had just been in China where I had been haunted by Starbucks everywhere I went. It was ridiculous. Everyone I know drinks Starbucks. But they don’t know Starbucks’ dirty little secret – their stuff is POISON. I’m not talking about the straight cup of coffee or tea that almost nobody buys. I’m referring to the crazy coffee drinks like the Caramel Macchiato and Frappuccinos. Let’s look at the Cinnamon Dolce Crème Frappucino. It has 48 grams of sugar and 380 calories. That’s more than a Snickers candy bar! My favorite used to be the Pumpkin Spice Latte, until I really looked and saw that it has 49 grams of sugar and 380 calories! Can you feel your waistline growing? That’s more sugar and calories than a hot fudge sundae! So when I see people every morning, standing in line at Starbucks like junkies, well, I wish they could realize that they are basically eating junk food and candy for breakfast. Would you eat an ice cream sundae for breakfast? Probably not. And don’t think you’re safe with a simple latte. A Vanilla Latte has 250 calories and 35 grams of sugar. Diabetes anyone? And don’t even get me started on how many chemicals are in these drinks.

My ultimate cringe-worthy moments are when I see little kids at Starbucks sucking down one of these chemically-enhanced, sugar-filled drinks. Are the parents high? Why yes they are! Because they are addicts themselves. I thought people were smart. I thought they could see through shiny ad campaigns and glittery marketing to make educated decisions about their health. Everyone knows that McDonald’s is bad for you and is basically junk food, so why don’t they realize that about Starbucks? Chic, healthy-conscious people shun McDonald’s but ask them to go a day without their Starbucks, and they get downright physical. In major cities where we are supposed to be healthier, more educated and advanced is exactly where Starbucks is thriving. WTF??

I would love to know how much Starbucks is contributing to America’s obesity problem. I have a feeling it is a big part of it. In China, I asked one of my guides if she liked Starbucks. She replied that she didn’t drink Starbucks but a lot of the high school kids did. I did not see any overweight people in China. It was amazing. But with all of the Starbucks going in, just wait a few years. I have a feeling we are going to see a lot of super-sized Chinese walking around. Thank you Starbucks!