While many customers acknowledge that Starbucks coffee prices are excessive, few stop to think what that pricing does to their finances and their general way of thinking about financial decisions.
Starbucks Emulating The Walmart Virus
The rapid growth of the Starbucks brand in many ways resembles that of Walmart. Both have risen to extreme popularity in the last 20 years. Like a virus, they both keep spreading. As they spread, many small local companies are left in their wake, being forced to close shop. Those local companies simply cannot compete with the huge budgets and anti-competitive nature of the big brands.
The key difference between the two is that Walmart actually helps consumers save money. By using their massive buying power, they undercut all competitor pricing. On the flipside, Starbucks uses their big budget to create a ‘superior’ product and then gouge their customers at the cash register. That higher price actually helps convince people that the product is better.
Starbucks Slinging The Caffeine High
Their product just happens to be based on a drug that is quite addictive. Doctors may argue that it is actually caffeine dependence and not true addiction, but that is just a difference in wording. You develop daily cravings and suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose. In my eyes, that’s an addiction.
Basically Starbucks is a high-end drug dealer with some of the best drugs on the market. Similar to a drug dealer, they muscle in on the most lucrative turf and open up locations where they can push the most product. They even sacrifice initial profits to take out competitors, the same way a drug dealer might lose some associates in gang warfare when trying to take over drug dealing turf.
Not only do they become the most convenient coffee shop to go to, but they also get to imprint their brand in your mind each time you pass by. You are constantly reminded to get your coffee fix and what better place than the guys with the good stuff? All the people walking around with branded coffee cups help a lot too, especially when it is your peers enjoying that coffee in front of you.
Ironically, or more likely purposely, their logo is quite hypnotic with its wavy lines drawing your eye to its center and holding your focus upon a beautiful woman. I wonder how much market research they paid for to determine which logo aspects can hold your attention the most and create a feeling of inner peace.
Illegal drug dealers must be pretty envious of the slick marketing revolving around addiction.
How Starbucks Trains Us To Spend Excessively
So they’ve got the great addictive product and the best marketing money can buy, but does it actually affect how we think? I sure think so. What do you think happens when you mindlessly get your daily coffee dose with the knowledge that it is expensive? That addiction, craving or whatever you want to call it leads to self justification for spending that much. Done on a daily basis, it is essentially self hypnosis.
Now what do you think happens when a Starbucks addict is then presented with another spending decision elsewhere that may be considered a luxury or excessive expense? For many of those people, their Starbucks over-spending mentality is triggered and they automatically do the whole self justification routine. They tell themselves that they might as well pay for quality or that it can be their way of treating themselves. After daily mind training, such thinking just comes naturally.
How The Starbucks Mentality Hurts Personal Finances
The amount wasted daily by overspending coffee can be calculated easily with this helpful calculator. That calculator even factors in the interest percentage you could’ve earned from that wasted money. The actual difference may not be huge, but imagine you were not spending any of that money.
It is when you develop the Starbucks spending mentality that you seriously start hurting your personal finances. Then you are overspending all over the place without even realizing it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that you could be wasting an incredible amount of money if you are paying higher prices for many everyday expenses. Unfortunately when you get into the overspending mindset, this is not easy to accept and part of your brain tells you that it is fine and dandy.
Now consider what this does on a larger scale with all the people who frequently indulge on Starbucks coffee. This is when you really do need a rocket scientist to compute the insane amount of wasted money this leads to. We evolve from just a consumer society who needs to buy stuff into an excessive, overspending consumer society. It is turning into a society that not only wants things, but one that also feels that we are all entitled to the very best. Consumers are better off trying their hand at making their coffee with one of those pod coffee makers.
So before heading to Starbucks later today or tomorrow, take some time to calculate how much you are choosing to spend each month or year. Think about what you could be spending that money on instead. Think about how the aggressive marketing may be suckering you in. Luckily caffeine dependence is a lot easier to overcome than something like heroine or crystal meth. Those illegal drugs just aren’t pounded into your brain throughout the day by society. So it will take willpower. You just have to learn to be proud of saving that buck or two each day (or more if you quit coffee completely). Tell yourself that getting off the Starbucks bandwagon is an accomplishment and find some way to reward yourself. Just don’t reward yourself with the very thing you are trying to avoid.
Comedian Lewis Black has a funny take on the excess of Starbucks locations:
Learn more about the latte factor.
Do you have a Starbucks addiction? How much do you estimate you spend on it daily?