From In These Times:
Simon shows us how we really live, and it ain’t pretty. There was a time, not so long ago, Simon reminds us, that many of us wondered why people would pay so much money for a cup of coffee—even as we were edging closer in line to place our own order. Starbucks, writes Simon, “had little to do with coffee, and everything to do with style, status, identity and aspiration. … Starbucks delivered more than a stiff shot of caffeine. It pinpointed, packaged, and made easily available, if only through smoke and mirrors, the things that the broad American middle class wanted and thought it needed to make its public and private lives better.” Starbucks fed our emotional needs for status. It became our little “self-gift,” an emotional pick-me-up. It allowed us to feel successful.