Starbucks: saviour of the 99 percent

Starbucks red cup It was a cold and drizzling Monday morning as I trudged my way into London for the first time. I had only a rough idea of how to tackle the public transport system and the meeting I was to attend was really going to matter quite a lot.

A little background: I had moved house, again on the Saturday. By Sunday night I had only just managed to find my good clothes. My muscles ached from lugging boxes as I desperately tried to hold myself confidently. I had failed to pack the power chord for my computer and as such I had no recourse to my digital brain and had to rely on my actual, and exhausted mind to scrape my thoughts together.

To put it simply, I felt rough.

As the coach drew in to Notting Hill Gate however, a smile began to break across my lips. Just back from my stop I had spotted the warm and ever-present glow of a Starbucks. I went, knowing I could get good coffee, warm up and recuperate before heading onwards and upwards. On that Monday, Starbucks was my saviour.

It has not escaped my attention that Starbucks has been in the press a lot lately. A lot of people were angry, others confused, many utterly unsurprised.  To me, it is common sense to assume that people and companies will follow any legal trail that leads to the highest profits, or at least the lowest taxes. There are moral implications to those decisions, but the way a lot of the conversation has been framed so far seems to be a little askew.

Starbucks held it's hands up. They listened, they acted, perhaps prompted by conscience, more likely by profits, but they did not run and hide from what they had done. The commitment they made to staying in the UK was probably a big relief to the thousands they employ.

I looked it up, 70% of Starbucks staff are under 24. Many are funding further studies. The company runs apprenticeships and is partnered with the Prince's Trust. More than that though, Starbucks is a bastion of consistency and comfort for thousands, possibly millions, throughout the country.

For a few pounds you don't just get a coffee: you get heating, lighting, wifi, tables, chairs and an always welcoming place to stop and pause. It's there for students to study for hours on end, it's open to job-seekers who need to get out of the house and when you find yourself somewhere new and you're not sure you can quite put one foot in front of the other, there will be a Starbucks to make you feel at home.

Perhaps my view is a little romanticised, but I don't think so. The tax shenanigans of the green mermaid may have been for the benefit of the one percent, but without her I think the 99 percent would be just a little worse off.