Sunday, August 12, 2007

Baristas Gone Wild

At one point, during my drive to work, I would drive by 8 different espresso places (only one of them a Starbucks). The total length of my commute at the time? 4 and a half miles. Given the absolutely insane level of saturation in the coffee market around here, espresso stand owners are turning to gimmicks. (Had it been up to me, I would have worked to compete on the quality of the product. But I suppose that's why I'm not a businessman.) And the gimmick that it seems that many of the independent espresso stands are turning to are skimpily clad young women. And it seems to be working. After all, people are noticing, and the newspaper stories keep coming. Of course, it's starting something of a teapot tempest (although I guess that coffeecup cyclone might be a more apt term), with people grousing about the objectification of women on the one hand, and people standing up for the concept and "empowerment" on the other.

Of course, the reason why it's catching on like a forest fire is that it works. Guys who normally think that $4.00 for a latté is highway robbery don't mind as much when the chance to chat with and ogle some cute young thing is a part of the deal. Well, sex sells. It like Hooters opening a string of coffee shops. So it's unlikely to be very long before we see someone apply the "Hey, let's get hot girls" model to some other business. And I'll admit right now that I'm afraid to find out what business it's going to be.

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