Like most students, I reacted with excitement when I heard that Starbucks would be opening in the Student Centre. But my joy quickly turned to incredulity when I considered the many drawbacks.
I understand that this is a good business move for Starbucks and McMaster Hospitality Services. Starbucks certainly owns the premium coffee market, into which many students fit. (On a side note, I chuckle to myself whenever I observe students in Starbucks across the street complain about how school fees are too high while shelling out for venti macchiatos). However, the hassles faced by students who have to deal with Starbucks and its effects on student centre congestion and student bank accounts outweigh any potential trickle – down effect produced by the profits Starbucks is sure to rake in.
The largest problem that Starbucks will create is logistical in nature. Think back to when Booster Juice – also poorly located and overpriced – first opened in MUSC. Do you remember the lineups and hallway congestion? For those who missed it, Booster Juice wait times were comparable with the wait times to get in the bookstore during the first week of classes. Assuming that the MUSC Starbucks will be as busy as Booster Juice was on it’s opening, imagine that kind of congestion at an entrance where thousands of bodies pass through each day. McMaster’s First Law of Mathematics states that the shortest distance between two points on campus is a straight line, unless that line goes through the teeming mass of humanity that is MUSC. Speaking of lines, I’d rather wait an hour for textbooks in thirty-plus degree heat again than try to walk through the inevitably large queues of students that Starbucks will attract on a daily basis.
As mentioned earlier, Starbucks is, at least in my opinion, overpriced for the quality of its product. Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin spice lattes as much as the next guy. However, I don’t love having to pay over five dollars for a cup of liquid that will eventually end up in the sewer. Why would the university choose to place such an expensive coffee shop in its busiest building, especially when Tim Horton’s and Union Market offer similar caffeinated products? Assuming that the university takes a portion of the profits from Starbucks, when the profits that Starbucks is sure to receive are taken into account, it is clear that Starbucks is a hot, tasty attempt to gouge students, most of whom don’t have excessive amounts of disposable income, for even more money.
When Starbucks does open, I hope students speak with their wallets and send a clear message to the MUSC Starbucks that they will be an inconvenience in many ways. I intend to continue to visit Union Market for my on-campus coffee needs, and I encourage my peers to do the same. As for Starbucks, I will bear the long, arduous journey across the street should the urge for a latte strike. Unlike MUSC will be once Starbucks opens: it’s an easy walk.