Love at First Sip

 Images shot on my iPhone 7

Images shot on my iPhone 7

I will preface this blog by stating my original intentions: it was going be a documentation of my consumption of one pumpkin spice latte (PSL) per day for 30 days. I intended to record the changes in the units of utility I received from each PSL overtime, the best and worst PSL’s I had throughout the 30 days, and any other noteworthy details. However, this experiment was relatively pointless for the following reasons: a) I loved every PSL I had b) I still enjoy them just as much now, if not more than I did before I started c) the only thing that changed during the experiment was my bank account - PSL’s everyday for 30 days takes a financial toll on you. That being said, I will proceed to write about why I love Starbucks so much. Enjoy.

Starbucks has always been a big part of my life. Seriously. It’s not a place I frequent in order to fulfill some sort of “typical white girl” image, nor am I a regular customer because I’m a college student with an obscene amount of homework and love for coffee. Rather, ever since I can remember, Starbucks has been a place of comfort, inspiration, and stability. Before my daily victories included finding a table large enough to accommodate my textbooks, laptop, and plethora of worksheets at the Stadium Village Starbucks, there was a time in my life when I would seek out the plush chairs in the corner to people-watch and make up stories about what brought each customer to Starbucks that day.

I am from a small town - according to Google, I80 people as of 2013 (which seems a bit high - I can only count 129. I’m not sure where they’re pulling those extra 51 people from). Not surprisingly, there was no Starbucks in my hometown...or in the town next to us...or the town after that. Therefore, every trip to Minneapolis or St. Paul my family made would be accompanied by a stop at Starbucks. Oftentimes we stopped at multiple locations on the way, because my mom collects Starbucks mugs, and she always has to check out the merch at the different Starbucks stores. Seeing how excited she got when, for example, Starbucks had a new Twin Cities mug, amplified the already-positive connotations I had with every aspect of the coffee chain.

As I grew up, I morphed into the typical student I used to observe as a little girl at Starbucks. I recall the giddiness that came over me when thinking about the time in my life when I would have a ton of homework to do, trek to my local Starbucks, plop down, and let the productive coffeehouse atmosphere be all the motivation I needed to get it all done. Looking back, I wish I would have been a bit more careful what I wished for, because now I have a literal ton of homework to do on any given day, but nevertheless, I’m living my childhood dreams of spending whole days at Starbucks, tirelessly studying, drafting papers, writing this blog, etc.

I do my best work at Starbucks - I always have. I do not like working at libraries because they stress me out. So many college kids, so little tables. Many would argue Starbucks is the epitome of this dilemma, but it’s different at Starbucks. Sure, it’s often crowded, and you have to be aggressive when it comes to grabbing an open seat, but I would rather be squished at Starbucks than have a table to myself at the me crazy. Libraries feel unhealthily competitive to me. People are too absorbed in their work. I get it, that’s actually what normal people want: a quiet space that allows them to delve into their work. I’m different in this aspect because I prefer the chatter of the other customers, the smell of freshly ground espresso, and the chill playlist that I can’t seem to top, even though I like to think I’m a pretty good DJ. I completed my most important college application essays at Starbucks, wrote my valedictorian speech there (which also happened to be about shame), and it’s also where I’m writing my inaugural CLAgency blog. I feed off the caffeinated energy of my fellow patrons, and even though they’re unaware of this, they inspire me. Well, I’m not technically inspired by them, but most oftentimes their laptop stickers, catchy shirt slogans, etc. I probably shouldn’t end 2 paragraphs in a row with “etc.”, but this is a blog post...rules don’t apply, right?

Lastly, I’d like to give a shout out to Starbucks for always being a source of stability in my life. I’ve traveled to Europe three times, spent my first year of college out-of-state at a school sixteen hours away from home, and experienced the emotional stress of having 3 finals in one day... and through all of that, Starbucks was there. My first trip to Europe was with my Spanish class when I was fourteen years old. It was the first time I had spent a significant amount of time away from my family and out of the country, and I’m not kidding, seeing a Starbucks eased a large portion of my nerves. When my mom dropped me off at the University of Michigan for my freshman year of college, to keep myself from uncontrollably crying, I went to Starbucks to keep myself happy and busy. When I had 3 finals in one day last year, you better believe I was at Starbucks all day, every day in preparation - and after the finals, to reward myself for making it through such a horrible day. Starbucks has been right alongside me through the best of days and the worst of days, and there is no coffee shop I’d rather have be such a significant part of my life.

- Grace Brang