Coffee shop pro-con

March 3, 2020

A case against Pink Drinks

Independent businesses benefit consumers

It’s a familiar sight—you walk into your first period math class and there it is. More commonly, there they are. Those plastic cups, surrounding a light brown, sometimes purple or pink substance, typically iced, typically overridden with dairy and sugar. They can be found on at least three to four desks per classroom daily—a testament to the wild popularity of both consumer convenience and the epidemic of globalization.  

The issue here is ever-present: your tall chestnut praline latte with milk substitute and two Splenda is not worth the harm committed by multinational chains like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. And before you roll your eyes, I’m not saying we need to boycott these companies entirely and oust them from our routines; rather, I mean to say that we should embrace the benefits of supporting small businesses and attempt to limit our consumption from companies that could be considered a threat to our communities. 

We all share an obligation to protect our surrounding community. I can’t think of a better way to do so than to support small businesses like your neighborhood coffee shops. In doing so, you are investing directly in your local economy, while subsidizing unique concepts that operate beyond the corporate mainstream.   

You are also fostering relationships with business owners and the families that depend on them for their own livelihoods. After all, they aren’t just faceless “businesses,” depending on an algorithm for commercial success—they are run by people in the form of our neighbors, acquaintances, and friends. They create economic opportunity for those in our community who work behind their counters, and for other local businesses that profit from enhanced commercial development within the surrounding area. For instance, many local businesses buy from other local businesses to source their supplies, products, and raw materials. It’s a chain effect. 

This idea of using locally produced items has a multitude of benefits, one being environmental; by using locally sourced products rather than the huge suppliers used by corporate chains, many small businesses are limiting their ecological footprint, using less fuel and helping to protect biodiversity. Though this may not be true for all small companies, as affordability ranks most important, many independents in the Tampa marketplace are doing their best to have a positive environmental impact (for example, Kahwa Coffee, which is roasted and packaged locally in Tampa, uses compostable plastic). Another benefit to sourcing locally is, of course, the boost to your community’s local economy. 

Local businesses take risks all the time—starting a business is a complicated and often scary thing to attempt. Supporting these businesses shows that you care for the owners and their stories, for their bravery and creative expression. It lends encouragement to the ideal of American entrepreneurship, that taking risks and stepping outside the box leads to reward. Whenever a chain moves into a neighborhood, it displaces many of these independent businesses that just can’t compete. 

In some ways, a local coffee shop is a mirror reflecting the community itself. They put a little of their character, integrity, sweat and blood into every cup they serve, and it comes across in the prevailing quality of their products. These businesses can offer a variety of unique products and services that elude the mass chains that tend to be averse to risk-taking. They serve as our commercial foundation, and in return we owe them our utmost support. 

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Convenience or quirky

Large coffee chains are more reliable than local coffee shops

One of the biggest arguments for teenagers being superficial and spending recklessly is the obsession with Starbucks. However, there are many rational reasons for enjoying Starbucks. It is reliable, good quality and fast. While supporting local businesses is a good idea, local coffee shops are more hassle than they are worth.   

When most people drink coffee, they are in a rush and a desperate hunt for caffeine. While in this frenzy, people don’t care how the shops look; they want coffee and fast. In this situation, a corporate chain like Starbucks is the best option. There is no risk of poor quality and strange menus. It’s comforting to know that if you are craving your unique order, there is a Starbucks around the corner.  

My problem with local coffee shops is the inconsistency of quality. I occasionally drink coffee, but my favorite drink to get is a hot chai latte. At Starbucks, I know I love their recipe and it’s the same quality, price and calories every time. I have tried chai lattes at different local coffee shops and while I have had some great ones, others were not worth the money. I am always disappointed when this happens and end up missing the comforting Starbucks drink.   

If a person can find a local coffee shop they love, that is great. However, the attempts and fails to find it is not worth the success at the end, mainly because most good locations are far away and inconvenient to get to. The reason Starbucks is so popular is that there are stores everywhere, it eliminates the desperate hunt for a good place because if you live in a city, there is most likely one five minutes from your house.    

The times I go to Starbucks the most is when traveling. My family is picky about their coffee and trust Starbucks more than iffy hotel coffee. When in a new city, finding a local coffee shop that is worthy of your time is challenging. Big chains like Starbucks are located across the world and the quality is still the same.    

A major complaint about Starbucks is the price. Five dollars for a cup of coffee may seem extreme, but it depends on how you look at it and what you order. On vacation, paying more for quality coffee is worth it for most people instead of settling for cheaper coffee that isn’t worth any price. When at home, buying coffee out every day, whether at a big chain or a local coffee shop, is a poor financial decision because the price adds up. The price at a local coffee shop for specialty drinks is generally the same as big chains. If money is a concern, there are other coffee chains like Dunkin Donuts that are still convenient but cheaper.   

Along with the drinks being more convenient, there are also specific opportunities that arise when frequenting a large chain. At Starbucks, they sell cheap reusable cups that you can bring to any Starbucks and they can fill. By using these cups, people have the opportunity to reduce waste because they know any Starbucks will be willing to use the cups.   

A cup of coffee or a chai latte is the same no matter where you get it; it only varies in quality. However, food is more likely to differ from large corporations to local restaurants. I would rather try local businesses for food instead of attempting to find a decent local coffee shop to get a worse version of what I could find at Starbucks. 

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