I came across an article in Yahoo!’s Oddly Enough section this morning about how an internet protest movement is might drive out Starbucks from their location in the Forbidden City.
Frankly, I’m trying to understand how the Chinese government let it in there in the first place.
The kicker is that I don’t remember seeing Starbucks when I was there almost two years ago (has it already been nearly two years??) — I’m sure I’d have ranted about that on the blog if that were the case.
Starbucks is a strangely evil thing, first and foremost. There’s far too many of them to start with. Why are there so many of them? It’s not that people are dying for a coffee. But for the love of GOD people, do they need to be so close to one another? (There’s two places in Vancouver, BC alone where two locations are less than 20 metres apart and even kiddie-corner! Lewis Black has a similar vein of the end of the universe.)
They constantly rename their products, so that even locations in the same country don’t sell the same product by the same name. (This is what drove us to boycott Starbucks.) Then they removed Chantico from their list. And if that’s not reason enough, consider the $5 coffee!
The internet protest (sparked by a television host) claims that “a U.S. coffee shop in the former imperial palace is an insult to Chinese culture”.
It’s not an insult to Chinese culture — it’s an affront to all humanity, really. Everywhere Starbucks goes, it brings it’s own culture with it. I know — I’ve seen Starbucks in many countries now, and they’re all the same. Every one. Given, the ingredients are slightly different, but the look and feel is identical.
Even McDonald’s has enough sense to change the menu when it goes to another country.
But even that said, I’d prefer that American chains stay in America (and I’ll even toss out North America as a compromise). When I go to China (or any other country, for that matter), I want to see, eat, and drink China. I have to actively avoid all the familiarities of home. That’s why I travel — to experience something different.
If you don’t want anything different when you travel, just rent the bloody DVD and stay home!