Starbucks recently opened their first Paris coffee shop a short distance from my place of work to great fanfare. I have been secretly hoping it would fail, as I rather like Paris the way it is, that is to say without too many global brands repeated ad infinitum on every shopping street.
However, I gave into temptation this morning on the way to work as I was feeling a bit low and managed to convince myself that a cockroach-free medium skinny caramel latte to go would help cheer me up.
The French have clearly missed the point of Starbucks. First of all, un café latte moyen avec lait écrémé, et sirop de caramel à emporter s’il vous plaît takes rather a long time to say. Then, after ordering, the experience is similar to French MacDonalds in that the global concept of fast food (or drink) has been translated in France into a “service” which is anything but. I was tempted to get behind the counter myself to speed things up.
The Frog in a suit in front of me wanted a café crème. When asked what kind of milk/coffee/sized cup he wanted and where he wanted to drink it, he looked vulnerable and lost, and stammered that he just wanted a café crème.