I was up early this morning to get a massage at work as part of my training. (A nice perk, but not a regular occurrence by any means.) Since I’ve been sick the past few days and am still likely fighting it, she told me to reschedule for next week. I decided to go get some coffee since I was already up and just went through a Starbucks drive-through as I wasn’t feeling overly active. Usually I hate the drive-through, and if I’m going to Starbucks for anything—which I normally try not to do—I’ll go inside. And I’m sitting there in the line of cars, waiting to place my order and feeling like a tool, and I look over and see this sign advertising their new Toffee Mocha and the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. At the top it says, “Take comfort in rituals.”
It made me think about the word, “ritual,” and how it normally is used to describe something of more importance than going for coffee. I’m a product of the capitalistic, American, free-market economy and certainly don’t think I’m above it. But it does make me sad that pretty much everything is fair game for use in public marketing. Having a coffee from Starbucks every day is NOT going to be a ritual (for most people). If anything, it would be an ingrained habit. And to suggest that a regular coffee habit might somehow provide some sort of inner peace, or connection with the divine, or momentary spiritual comfort, is a bit of a stretch. I’m not so much offended by this as I am disappointed. Most people need to believe in something bigger than them, or to observe regular rituals to mark important occasions. I’m not above that either. I just don’t think that the Starbucks marketing department is really the right source to be deriving these rituals from. Ugh.