Friday, June 7, 2013

What's Wrong with this Picture?

While I consider myself fairly well grounded and generally capable of keeping the world in perspective, I admit that I am not immune to certain petty aggravations. I have alluded to such petty aggravations in previous posts when I was annoyed at Starbucks and when I was bewildered by our national caffeine obsession.

I snapped the photo above yesterday, while feeling both annoyed and bewildered. Naturally, it happened at Starbucks.

I went in with my 12 year-old and our brief visit was, in part, a reward for her completion of a very challenging but successful year in school. I should note that I was feeling a little disheartened that she considered Starbucks to be a destination of such high interest. As we entered, my fears about the corruptive influences of hyper-consumerism and peer-pressure were just below the surface.

Once inside, I was forced to wait in a long line of fashionistas, ordering incredibly ridiculous sounding concoctions, that took a long time to make and were, by all logical measures, way over-priced. I began to feel disappointed in the collective intelligence of my community, impatient about waiting for something I didn't personally think was worth waiting for, and pessimistic about the bleak future of humanity. But I pressed on.

After we ordered and positioned ourselves at the end of the bar where the drinks are served, I snapped the picture above.  As you can see, there was a crowd of children awaiting expensive caffeinated drinks. It struck me as wrong on every level.

In all honesty, I don't feel like I can afford to frequent Starbucks on a regular basis. Technically, I have the funds available; I just don't think coffee that costs $4/cup is a good value, and I don't think one should make a habit out of low value activities. Starbucks is convenient and always available when you need a coffee, but how can a 12 year old afford to pop in daily on the way to school?

One of those silly drinks plus a pastry (the standard order I observed) costs about $7, which is $35 per school week. I'm pretty sure you can lease a Honda for that amount.  How can 12 year-olds who have never worked a day in their lives, afford more than me, a haggard old duffer who has worked 70 hour weeks for the past 20 years?

What is wrong with this picture?

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