Lavish coffee drains wallets

Ever since its establishment as a small coffee shop in Seattle, Starbucks franchises have spread across the entire nation. Its famous logo, picturing a mermaid inside a green circle, is akin to the McDonald’s golden arches. From its decadent "frappaccinos" to wide range of coffees and teas, there’s no wonder that Americans pile into the coffee shop for a daily pick-me-up. In recent years, however, Starbucks’ financial business has decreased. Recently, thousands of Starbucks in the U.S. have their doors closed. There are two contributing causes to this: a crumbling economy and ridiculously high prices for drinks and snacks.

Walking into one of the millions of Starbucks popping up across the nation, there’s no wonder why it attracts mostly young adults. Not only are their drinks and baked goods delicious, but the atmosphere is what sets it apart from other cafés. Collages of bright abstract paintings cascade the warm-toned walls and hanging lamps glow dimly over comfy chairs and wooden tables. Slow jazz plays in the background softly enough for one to carry on a conversation. In some inexplicable way, Starbucks is the place to be to relax.

Despite its artsy atmosphere, the relaxation fades once you see the receipt for that grande latte. One of Starbucks’ newest tasty inventions is the Dark Cherry Mocha. A grande size of this beverage (that’s "medium" in Starbucks language) is a whopping $4.70, including tax! At Dunkin’ Donuts, $4.70 could buy you two medium sized coffees, and maybe even a donut on the side.

Even though Starbucks has fancy drinks, some of them are so simplistic that you could create them at home at no charge. For instance, a small Vanilla Bean frappaccino costs around $3 at Starbucks. The only ingredients are ice and vanilla cream. Making one of these yourself is as simple as the ingredients themselves; take ice cubes and vanilla ice cream, mix them in a blender and you’ve got yourself a fine-tasting treat at no cost.

Regardless of Starbucks’ attempts at redeeming their business (notice the "$1.50 Pike Place Roast" signs in their windows), it may continue to pull in coffee lovers across the nation. Those who claim to be addicted to their drinks fork over mounds of cash every week to get their "fix." Then there are the very few (if any) who have the self-discipline to buy their products only on occasion or not at all. Nowadays, the latter group could be considered the smart ones in the long-term as Americans strive to save every penny they can. Starbucks is one of the many things in the U.S. that will stay fresh on the burner for years to come, despite exorbitant prices for fanciful, calorie-laden beverages.

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