For a long time, Italy was a perfect, untouchable paradise. A beacon of how to do things right when it came to rejecting the presence of corporations like, you know, Starbucks. Unfortunately, the hub of power and influence in the nation, Milan, has finally broken down the barriers of Italian soil and permitted the coffee juggernaut entrance into its previously unblighted coffee territory.
As Orlando Chiari, the owner of Camparino–a century-old bar in the city–stated, “We worship coffee in Italy, while Americans drink coffee on the go in large cups. It’s two extremely different cultures.” Chiari’s frankness in essentially saying that Americans have very little in the way of an ability to appreciate and savor anything of goodness because they are so accustomed to shit is, hopefully, a statement on Starbucks’ inability to truly take off in this market the way it has in other coffee snob countries like France and Austria.
Then again, the youth of Italy is always looking for the next thing to try, and Starbucks definitely fits that bill. Moreover, The New York Times‘ profile on the company’s infiltration into Italy does accurately note that half the appeal of going to Starbucks for young people could be “the promise of seamless Wi-Fi.” Indeed, it’s no joke that Wi-Fi is often a precious commodity in Italy, and, in other coffee shops, it’s rarely encouraged for a person to bring his laptop and sit there for hours at a time. The novelty of such a practice may very well be, above all else, what lends Starbucks it’s competitive edge–because it sure as fuck isn’t going to be the taste of the coffee. Moreover, choosing Milan as the city to start out in is quite a business savvy move, as this part of the population is far more open to change then, say, the south (e.g. Naples), where you can start building a Starbucks when you pry the gun shooting at construction workers from Neapolitans’ cold, dead hands. Stabucks, vaffanculo.