Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I will be sitting in class for 5 hours! Not your typical Thanksgiving. We are having a Thanksgiving feast at an Italian restaurant cooked by an American though. I cannot wait. There is so much to be thankful for. Be sure to check out my Thanksgiving post tomorrow! I would love to celebrating with my friends and family back home, but this year is all about new experiences. That includes celebrating the holidays in Europe.
Tomorrow I’m handing in my third speech for my public speaking class. We could choose our topics. Check out the text below! xo ~e.
Why You Should Limit Yourself to One Starbucks a Month
Audience: Current Italian Study Abroad Students
Step 1: Attention
“Hi, I’ll have a venti iced caramel macchiato, please.” Think about how many times you have said a similar phrase. Have you ever ordered a chai tea latte or a mocha on your way to class? How many iced peach green tea lemonades did you sip on this past summer?
Whether you personally enjoy a Starbucks drink occasionally or every day, I am going to try and convince you to cut back on your Starbucks consumption like I plan to. When I return to the U.S. in May, I am going to limit myself to a Starbucks drink once a month because I want to save money, be more environmentally conscious, and support local businesses. Today I hope to encourage you to do the same.
Step 2: Need
If I had to guess, I would tell you I have consumed at least 200 tall café mochas in total. One costs $3.45, so multiply that by 200, and yes, you get $690. Imagine how much I, a college freshman living abroad, could do with $690. As a fellow study abroad student, you might acknowledge how $690 could fund a week in Paris or Santorini. Unfortunately, I will never get those $690 back. The cheapest coffee drink at Starbucks is a tall brewed coffee for $1.85. That’s still $370 for 200 of them. Did I mention a tall cup at Starbucks is only 12 ounces? That’s only two of those tiny Apple & Eve juice boxes you might have enjoyed as a kid. Seems like a bit of a rip off to me, whether you’re spending $1.85 on a coffee or $3.45 on a mocha (Starbucks).
Considering the environment, according to Brandon Gaille, CEO of Gaille Media, Starbucks uses 2.3 billion paper cups a year. To give you some perspective, roughly 7 million tall Starbucks cups fill one Olympic sized swimming pool. Knowing that, think about how many Olympic sized swimming pools you could fill with 2.3 billion tall Starbucks cups. Starbucks advertises itself as an eco-friendly company with their recyclable cups (Gaille). Unfortunately, BBC News suggests that paper cups are not a ‘green’ alternative. Paper cups are not 100% recyclable or compostable because they are lined with polyethylene, a type of plastic, to keep the cups waterproof. Polyethylene cannot be separated out in a standard recycling mill, so instead, millions of cups end up in a landfill for too many years. Starbucks can get away with calling their cups ‘recyclable’ because they have the capability of being recycled; it doesn’t mean they are (BBC News and Farley).
Starbucks is known for their iconic cups with their universal logo. There’s no sign they will be getting rid of them anytime soon. As a result, 15 billion liters of water and millions of trees will continue to be used in order to produce their precious cups. Think about how damaged our environment is currently. Throwing away or attempting to recycle Starbucks cups is not helping us decrease our daily carbon footprints (STAND).
Step 3: Satisfaction
Business Insider reports Starbucks’ current revenue is $5.71 billion (Lepore). It’s easily believable considering there are at least 24,000 Starbucks in the world, 10,000 of which are in the United States (Baertlein and Nair). Starbucks clearly doesn’t have difficulty attracting or serving millions of customers a day. However, your favorite café at home or even here in Florence might. You can make a big difference for local businesses by buying their coffee instead of the franchised Starbucks coffee. Instead of buying a Starbucks that might contribute towards CEO Howard Shultz’s third or fourth vacation home, support your favorite local coffee shop that might struggle financially. Cafés that aren’t part of a chain are normally very unique in terms of taste, mood, and ambiance; all Starbucks look practically the same. If you don’t know of any cafés near you, have no fear; Yelp or Google will help you.
Step 4: Visualization
You have survived for four months without Starbucks unless you have traveled more than 100 miles to one (Starbucks). You have tasted delicious and authentic Italian coffee at places like Ditta Artigianale that beats watered down American coffee. I know that grabbing a Starbucks before work or school is a fun morning routine for its convenience and comfort, but think about the $100 or $24 you could save per month if you didn’t go to Starbucks on a daily or weekly basis. You can impress your friends and family with your newfound barista skills at home with a Bialetti Moka you bought in Piazza Repubblica. And you can find your own La Ménagère at home that might be cheaper and uses mugs instead of paper cups.
Step 5: Action
I have no problem admitting I was a loyal Starbucks fan. But being away from Starbucks has made me realize and appreciate the alternatives to drinking Starbucks. I know what a proper cappuccino tastes like, how to chat with friends or journal ‘piano piano’ at a local café, and I have noticeably decreased my paper waste. When you go home, I hope you will think about cutting back on your favorite Starbucks drink to a treat for once a month. Think about your wallet. Think about the environment. Think about how amazing life was during your semester in Italy even without Starbucks. Starbucks doesn’t need you, and you don’t need Starbucks. It’s up to you whether you want to stay broken up or commit to an unnecessary and ongoing relationship. The choice lies in your coffee cup.