I remember when Starbucks was relatively new in this city. I was in first year University, and there was a handful of locations in the city. My boyfriend at the time took me for a treat, which was this really extravagant coffee place. We got a coffee that had chocolate mixed in and whipped cream on top - it was so unique, so extravagant, such a treat. I would visit once or twice a month, as a treat after an exam or as a pick-me-up to get through an all-nighter writing an essay.
When I moved to Toronto for second year university, there was not one single Starbucks to be found. I asked around, and people kept recommending Second Cup, which to me tasted burned and awful. It seemed like whoever owner Second Cup didn't know how to not steam milk until it scalded because no one in the stores was trained on it that's for sure. I was at a loss for that treat I had grown used to every now and then. (As an aside, the friends I still have from that time all still prefer Second Cup, even though there are loads of Starbucks there now. Go figure).
I moved back, and got it into my head that I'd like to work for Starbucks. I worked at the one that was closest to the University at the time, and I loved it. What's more, I loved that the company offered health benefits and stock options to part time employees! Totally unheard of! And I could get my drinks free before and after my shifts, and at a discount any other time. I was in creamy-chocolatey-coffee heaven. My employment three ended when I got pregnant with my first son - who is now 11. There is a story about how the manager mis-handled my request to go on medical leave early, and I probably could have taken legal action but was too young to know better ... but that's really a fault of that particular manager. It hasn't effected my love affair with Starbucks.
My husband worked there for a few years when the software company he worked for undertook massive layoffs in 2002. Again, the health benefits and stock options were a real life saver as we had two small children at the time. The wage was tough to live on as a family of four, but actually for a coffee shop it was a generous wage. And once again, I could get beverages at a discount through my husband.
All that is the long story about why I am currently a Starbucks addict. I spend too much money on it. I probably go at least twice a week. If I had my way, I'd go every day. It has become associated with a treat, with being cared for, with being home.
And so, today, my photo is of my current beverage of choice - now made with soy as I have a milk allergy, I drink a cafe mocha with soy milk and no whipped cream.