Friday, February 15, 2008

In Defense of Brand Loyalty

Regarding yesterday's Crack Drink post, I want to say a few things on my behalf to all the haters out there.

Look, I know you look down on me for supporting a Globalized World Conglomerate Super Corporation (or, as a Starbucks Barista would repeat back to me, a World Super-sized Classic Status Multinational Corporate Entity). I know that I must be indirectly putting the hurt on whole villages of Guatemalan farmers every time I buy myself a cup of crack drink. I know that this makes me an evil stain of a man equivalent to Ronald Regan, only without the folksy charm. And I know you also judged me for throwing around a brand name in my blog so carelessly. I know this because I feel your judgment, all the way over here.

But I was just trying to be scientific about all this, because I am nothing if not a man of science. A man of science and specificity. You see, I am using the word Starbucks to refer to a specific narcotic beverage, not a brand of coffee. Trust me, I've tried Caribou's java. I've tried Dunkin Donuts' brew. I've tried the independent shops. I've made coffee myself on my pathetic, Fischer Price toy of a coffee maker and I've had it in the homes of friends with large, stainless steel contraptions that look like little power plants and that are supposed to produce exotic, "Starbucks-strong" joe. And what I've discovered in my field research is that it's just not the same. Because that's all coffee and Starbucks is crack drink. I like coffee, by the way. But I need crack drink.

Now, if there were a way for me to buy crack drink and make it myself at home, so as not to support a wickedly giant corporation, I would in a heartbeat. Or if they sold crack drink at the local independent coffee shop, or at gas stations, or at restaurants, I'd buy their crack drink, and give a little back to my community. But they don't. Starbucks just happens to be the only place I know of that sells crack drink. Which has the semantic effect of making the word "Starbucks" synonymous with "crack drink." And when I use the word "Starbucks," it's not because I'm a brand sheep, it's because I'm a lover of specificity.

For instance, let's say that crystal meth first made its appearance by being offered at a popular retail chain, called Methbucks. And imagine that Methbucks sold crystal meth in a candy form that was similar to a Lick-em-Aid. Now, you'd still be able find regular old Lick-em-Aids - a white, hard stick that you dip in a pouch of sweet sugary goodness - at supermarkets, convenience centers and liquor stores. But the only place you could get a Lick-em-Aid that'll flood your brain with the chemical of love and keep you up for days, scrubbing the kitchen floor while giggling to yourself, is at Methbucks. Well, I guarantee that you'd call Lick-em-Aids Lick-em-Aids and Methbucks Methbucks.

I rest my case.

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