Ethnography of Starbucks Essay

Words: 1642
Pages: 7

The Status of Starbucks

For my ethnography project, I decided to observe the Starbucks on Rockside Road in Independence, Ohio. My plan was to observe the subculture of Starbucks’ customers. A subculture is defined as a “structured social inequality or, more specifically, systematic inequalities between groups of people that arise as intended or unintended consequences of social processes and relationships.” My question was twofold. Does Starbucks appeal to certain social statuses? And if so, does Starbucks serve as another example of social inequality?
The City of Independence has approximately 7,000 residents. The City is a hub for business, the majority of which are primarily based on Rockside Road. There are a variety of
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These observations suggest that primarily busy, preoccupied people only have time to grab a cup of coffee and get back to work, and since Starbucks offers quick quality, it’s the store of choice.
Second, Starbucks has a language reminiscent of an Italian coffee shop. Instead of small, medium, or large, Starbucks uses “tall” for small, “grande” for medium, and “venti” for large sizes. This variation in language may indicate that in order to buy Starbucks coffee, you must have a basic knowledge of foreign languages which could reflect one’s educational attainment. The change in language may add an air of sophistication to their products as well. Instead of ordering a large coffee, someone could order a “venti carmel macchiato.” The language barrier at Starbucks may reflect a culture that only certain people with a certain educational level are able to recognize and adjust accordingly. This would apply to the middle and upper classes which are typically associated with higher educational levels and which could indicate a more cultured person.
Third, Starbucks uses its décor to appeal to people with a higher socioeconomic status. What is Starbucks trying to sell besides coffee? An experience. The atmosphere of Starbucks is warm and enticing. The store uses mainly earth-tone colors to give the customer a sense of comfort. The lighting is dim and sets a mood for relaxation and is reminiscent of