On being global
Apparently I am a global citizen, indeed we are all global citizens these days.
OK, so my current train of thought is heading down the route largely blazed by Naomi Klein in her book No Logo. Large companies like, say, Starbucks, are able to push smaller local competitors out of business. Which is true and I’m a big supporter of our locally run cafe which, as an aside, makes the best chicken pesto panini EVER, and would hate to see it close down.
That said, Starbucks coffee is generally pretty good and is always reliable, and so we begin the inner conflict.
You see when I venture into Starbucks (I do wish my fingers would stop typing Satrbucks) I immediately know that the environment I’m in is manufactured, and yet despite that knowledge I do quite enjoy it. I’m sure there is a phrase for this effect, and no it’s not “gullible fool syndrome”, but whatever it is, it works. I enjoy the Starbucks experience, the sofas, the gentle music, the calmness that seems to ooze from the walls. And while I’m guessing the latter is just down to the seating arrangement, I certainly rarely feel that I have to shout over other peoples conversations… but that’s all beside the point.
Generally, if I hear someone saying something negative about the Starbucks experience I get quite defensive.
Yet when they challenge Starbucks the ‘global company’ I tend to agree.
See, inner conflict. My desire to be seen as a valid person within my demographic fighting against … ummm… something that I know isn’t right but largely doesn’t impact me all that much.
This is a bad thing. Or at least so I’m told.
Fast forward a decade or two and the only coffee house in town will be Starbucks, all local economy disappears into their vast coffers and the realisation that we need to change things arrives just a little too late. You know, like that whole global warming thing, we’ll REALLY get it as the rising oceans lap at our doorsteps. And no, not an ocean of coffee, that would be silly as it would just taste of fish.
Everyday the internet opens up the entire world, although admittedly most of it is skewed towards the USA. However it’s easy to convince yourself that you are part of a global community, should such a thing exist, and, after all, sharing the simple experience of ordering a coffee is part of being in a community.
Admittedly most of this makes me feel slightly uneasy but, as time marches on, that feeling is squashed underneath a Lemon and Poppy seed Muffin, and washed away with a Venti Skinny Latte, hold the sprinkles.
Globalisation is bad and evil. I’ve read it in numerous blogs so it must be true but the thing is, it doesn’t seem to be happening. Whilst there are numerous Starbucks in Glasgow, they seem to have sprouted competitors with the number of cafes suddenly, visibily, increasing. Even that crap sandwich place now has an expensive coffee machine, and I’m pretty sure the staff don’t get trained as barristas.
I guess my point is this, for every large global company, there is a smaller, more dynamic, competitor and it seems like they are multiplying. I could be wrong of course… on the other hand, only a few years ago, Internet Explorer was about the only browser anyone used. That isn’t the case now.
The internet, whilst aiding globalisation on some terms (I can relate to Jose in Brazil as he sits typing on his MacBook in his local Subway) can also hinder it. The realisation that I have more choice is but a click away and as far as I can see, people are still clicking.