Reason # 4124 Why Everything’s Better in Sweden

7 November 2007 at 23:32 Leave a comment

Coffee Naïvté

In 2003-2004 I spent year studying music in Sweden. One day, at the end of lunch I drank a mug of hot chocolate and leafed through my new copy of The Atlantic that had just come in the mail. My classmate Gustav reached out and grabbed my hand just as I was about to turn the page and conceal a Hewlett-Packard ad. “Ooohh, psychedelic,” he said as he looked over the rainbow-hued artwork.

The type, which looked like it was fading into multicolored smoke, read “Stop and smell the coffee” and touted a business partnership between HP and Starbucks. Gustav is fascinated with all things 1970s, despite being born in 1979 (or maybe because he was born then).

After a second Gustav looked at me and asked “Vad är en Starbucks för nånting?” (What the heck is Starbucks?), and I just laughed and laughed. When I saw the look in his eyes change from indignant to hurt, I tried to explain. “I’m not laughing because you should know what Starbucks is. I’m laughing because I think it’s great that I’ve spent the last eight months in a place where it’s possible for people not to know what Starbucks is. Back home, you can’t escape Starbucks, they’re everywhere with their green logo and their expensive coffee.”

I’m sure Stockholm exists somewhere on Starbucks’ road-map to global domination, but it was comforting to know that young Swedes could live their lives in blissful ignorance of all things tall, grande and vente.


Entry filed under: Friends, Life, NaBloPoMo, School, Sweden, Travel.

I Must Look Non-Threatening Sounding Off

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