Yes, I am a Starbucks customer. The frequency with which I visit this establishment depends on whether I’ve had breakfast while I’m getting ready for work or how groggy I’m feeling. There’s a location conveniently located where I get off the streetcar near the office. Some weeks, I just know… so I fill up my card (um, I’m not paying extra for soy milk!) and restrict myself to what’s on it. For most Torontonians other ubiquitous choices include Second Cup, which is like the younger brother that can never really catch up and Tim Hortons, with its fake Canadian image and mediocre but more reasonably priced rocket fuel. Or, you know, if you’re really crashing but not necessarily in the nicest of hoods, you can depend on some even shittier coffee chain that no one admits going to, like Coffee Time or Galaxy Donuts.
So… Starbucks. I’m not writing this because it’s become fashionable to bash them to the point of fatigue. Here’s the thing, though. On my last two visits I couldn’t find the honey anywhere. The first time I just sucked it up and used sugar. But this morning I was like, “Huh, they still haven’t replaced it?”. I was promptly informed that they now put out these little packets of honey (and have been doing so in the United States for some time).
My obvious initial reaction was that this is such a waste of packaging! Cute though these packets may be, and very tempting to lift (you always need a couple extra, right?), how many of these little buggers will Starbucks customers go through in a year? I have to say, I much preferred the squeezable bottles of honey they’d previously been using, which while not portable, also drastically reduced the probability of getting honey all over your fingers. And they’re cute too – let’s not discriminate.
Another consideration: the packets require some patience and manual dexterity. Both of these things are good to cultivate, but not good to test when you’re standing there squeezing out tiny dollops of honey while people jostle around you. I mean, I know this is going to play out badly for me some day. We all know how much spilling piping hot coffee sucks – at least I do. I’m the type of idiot who spills coffee on a brand new copy of Sacré Bleu just before lining up for 4 hours to have it signed by Christopher Moore.
Perhaps I can look past the inconvenience knowing that Starbucks buys its honey from Canada (British Columbia, to be exact). Perhaps.
I should also probably disclose a potential bias. I don’t know where it is now, but hidden away somewhere is a photo of my then angelic-looking brother as a baby asleep in a wagon, wearing adult-sized sunglasses while clutching a plush Billy Bee doll half his size.
It did not look like this:
Or like this, for that matter: