Conspicuous consumption

Unsuspecting mouse before the cats (and dogs) got hold of it

I was talking to my friend Laurel the other day about Starbucks. About the fact that the company has overtaken every city on the planet, a la McDonald’s. She’s decided to boycott them and try to support local merchants. And why not, the coffee at Four Friends is better anyway. I’ve just gotten used to the convenience of SB. There’s a kiosk in every grocery store in town now and it’s so much easier to cruise by and grab a mocha. But I decided to go a bit out of my way today and visit Crisan’s Coffee Shop in Gaslight Village. When I pulled into the parking lot, though, I was greeted by several signs annoucing a new pizza place that was coming soon.

How sad!

Well, at least there’s a Starbucks on the next block for people to turn to. I don’t really undertand why a company like that has to insinuate itself into every nook and cranny of America. Everywhere you go there’s a Starbucks, an Applebee’s, a Chili’s, a Barnes & Noble, a Gap, a Pottery Barn. Where’s the originality? The uniqueness? The local business owner?

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of hypocrite. I have several pairs of jeans from the Gap, I buy books from B&N, and I own furniture and accessories from Pottery Barn. Yet I do think it’s important to try to keep the smaller stores and companies in our communities in business. I guess this one coffee shop going out of business will at least keep me aware of what my purchases mean. Hopefully I can make a difference by being more conscious of the merchants I support.

If you want to get your cuppa joe from a local coffeeshop, here’s a list of options in the Grand Rapids area. Happy sipping!