When you think of Italian opera, do you think of a Frappuccino or Pumpkin Spice Latte? Starbucks sure thinks you do.
The coffee chain is about to open a fancy-pants new store as its first location in Italy, and it blasted media outlets with at least six press releases, all of which are breathless and artificially grandiose: One compares the opening to a theatrical masterpiece. Bonus: the entire press release is also divided into “acts.”
Another calls it “the most beautiful Starbucks in the world: the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan... an homage to the city of Milan and a celebration of everything Starbucks has learned about coffee in its 47-year history.”
Props to Starbucks’ release writers: they’ve taken hyperbole to a new level, making it a bizarro corporate-dystopian art form, where a caramel macchiato isn’t just a sugary coffee, it’s a transcendent experience on par with Puccini or Verdi. Here’s some of the worst.
Former CEO Howard Schultz chokes on the corporate Kool-Aid:
“During my first trip to Milan in 1983, I was captivated by the sense of community I found in the city’s espresso bars – the moments of human connection that passed so freely and genuinely between baristas and their customers. The opening of the Milan Roastery is the story of Starbucks coming full circle.”
Actually, Starbucks is an art form and not a corporation:
The opening also offers a full-circle moment for both Howard Schultz, chairman emeritus of Starbucks, and the newest partners alike – a crescendo steeped in sacrifice, tears, passion and the kind of lore rarely found outside Italian opera.
It turns out former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is accompanied by an operatic soundtrack as he goes about his day:
As the orchestra in the recording swelled for tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Schultz turned slowly in place, his eyes moving over everything in the room – the vibrant green Scolari coffee roaster and the floor-to-ceiling, engraved brass wall depicting the company’s story.
When it turns out all Starbucks employees are actually just dream-fulfilling elves assigned to satisfy former CEO Howard Schultz:
“Nobody can dream like Howard,” [chief design officer] Muller said. “For every dream he has, we get to make it a reality. It’s one hell of a task. He shares with us the dream, and the feeling, but he leaves it to us and trusts us to fill it in.”
Your new favorite action movie is Starbucks:
“During training, I brewed my very first coffee in a coffee press. My hands were shaking a little. I counted every second of every minute of infusion in my mind. I felt like I was on a hiking path, every second a step, every step someone to thank for sharing this adventure with me,” [an employee] said. “Then it was time to press. Maybe I was a little too emotional, but, I felt like it took an hour. I was living in slow motion, like in a movie.”
The Milan Starbucks’ general manager realizes that the meaning of life is, in fact, “Starbucks”:
“It was a sunny day, and Howard had these big windows in his office, and he said he could imagine my mom watching me right now and that she’d be proud of me. It was very emotional,” [general manager] Grossi said. “I left that office and walked a few meters down the hallway and stopped. This conversation is what made me understand what Starbucks really means.”
Wherein Starbucks gets the Sistine Chapel treatment:
The physical retail environment is complemented by an interactive augmented reality (AR) experience... the centerpiece of the AR experience is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall visual representation of Starbucks history and its coffee – engraved in brass by local craftsmen, burnished to an ombre finish and backlit to bring warmth to the story.
A Starbucks writer discovers Thesaurus.com:
This transparency into the science and craft starts with green coffee being poured out of burlap sacks, continues through the roaster and sweeping cooling trays, and reaches a dramatic crescendo as the 6.5-meter (22 foot)-high bronze cask unfolds like a blooming flower, allowing a glimpse inside of the de-gassing chamber – a natural part of the roasting process. From there, coffee whizzes overhead through copper pipes directly to silos at the coffee bars...