Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Starbucks: The New Religion?

25. June 2004 • swoll
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David Crumm shares a new twist on the Starbucks phenomenon in today’s Detroit Free Press, writing about the parallels between the current spreading of Starbucks across the globe and the historical spreading of religion.

“Scholars of religion endlessly debate which spiritual movement is spreading most rapidly… Well, I’m convinced the experts are missing a hands-down winner: Starbucks Coffee shops… Religious leaders have spent decades trying to market their churches to an increasingly demanding population, but Starbucks’ marketing gurus are close to beating evangelists at their own game.”

That’s right folks. What Crumm cleverly titles “spiritual solace in the midst of urban life” has now become an apt replacement for religion or church life for many not just in America but around the world.

“In two decades, 4,000 company-owned shops have opened in 50 states. This is also a mission-minded group, having established 2,000 bases in 38 foreign lands.”

“There is no specific god here, but these temples aren’t lacking in soul. A company publication labeled “Living Our Values” says: “A Starbucks is really like a third place, beyond home and work, where people can come together.”

Towards the end of the article, he gives a shout out to the Starbucks in Ann Arbor on State Street as one of his favorite places to demonstrate his point.

I don’t know about you folks, but for some reason this is telling me me to be afraid; be very afraid.



  1. Many religions feature consumption of some drug or drugs—so Starbuck’s twice-the-caffeine-of-your-average-cuppa coffee is simply the drug of this post-religion church?
       —Scott Trudeau    Jun. 25 '04 - 01:14PM    #
  2. That thing about the “third place,” that’s ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Never thought about it much when I worked there, but damn, sure does make sense now.

    They make you go to coffee classes, where, besides tasting coffee, they try to indoctrinate you by showing videos of how Starbucks is an “awesome” corporation. Starbucks’ mission: to have more coffee shops than McDonald’s has restaurants.

    Scary, huh?
       —Jared Goldberg    Jun. 25 '04 - 02:44PM    #