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She Stopped Going to Starbucks 4 Years Ago; What She Learned

Author Rachel Chang, initially found comfort in Starbucks due to its unique menu and personalization options. As a travel journalist, she began searching for local coffee shops around the world, but about four and a half years ago, she realized that she was overlooking small businesses in favor of Starbucks. She quit Starbucks, despite spending more money on coffee.

The self-imposed ban began in 2020 during the peak days of the coronavirus pandemic, as many independent coffee shops closed during or shortly after the pandemic. Smaller cafés depend on every customer’s support, and Starbucks doesn’t need her money as much. At the time, she was spending $3 to $5 for her Starbucks drinks, while local shops were closer to $4 to $7.

After paying extra for milk substitutes and gratuity at small businesses, the cost of her typical coffee order started to inching closer to double digits, but she felt better knowing the dollars were going back to her community. She also turned grabbing coffee into an adventure by using Google Maps to search for new coffee shops. In the beginning, she often landed at mediocre cafés, but as she started traveling again, she realized what felt like a chore at home started to feel like a delight when she was abroad.

Every coffee shop has its own menu, system, and style, and she became the constant newbie in a strange setting, asking for WiFi passwords and bathroom keys. Eventually, trying new spots became a mini daily adventure stirred up into her coffee break. Now, she is more than four years Starbucks-free and won’t go back.

The bottom line is that her coffee budget has gone up, but she sees coffee time as an experience, connecting with a slice of a community that she wouldn’t normally have been immersed in. At local coffee shops, she is one of the few customers instead of one of many in a long line, and she is more likely to get doted on with top-notch service instead of just feeling like a name on a cup.

Sometimes, she still ends up at coffee chains, but her self-imposed ban means she will opt for smaller ones like Blank Street or Gregory’s Coffee instead of mega-global franchises. She still feels like a bit of a jerk when she has business meetings scheduled at a Starbucks and asks to go somewhere else, but it’s a pretty good conversation starter, and she’s even had colleagues tell her they’re steering away from the chain.

The author doesn’t have a personal vendetta against Starbucks, but by quitting, their coffee world has opened up beyond the limitations of one company, and forever hunting for a new coffee shop has become their ultimate pick-me-up.

Read More @ Business Insider

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