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October 30, 2021

India's first Starbucks is causing line-ups out the door

At this point, what would it take for you to get excited over Starbucks?

300px-Starbucks_Corporation_Logo_2011_svgCertainly, it may be your preferred coffee shop (though, try saying you’re going to Starbucks to a nose-turned “buy local” snob and see how that goes), but it’s no longer quite that oasis in the desert.

There are now more than 830 Starbucks locations in Canada, all across the country.

But Starbucks, though it’s been around for more than four decades, still gets people riled up. Like in India, where the coffee giant’s just opened its first store.

In central Mumbai, where India’s financial district lies, the country’s inaugural Starbucks is causing quite the stir.

According to the Guardian  newspaper, days after the opening hours-long lines are still stretching out front of the store, which has suddenly become a place to see and be seen.

*Bing: What nation drinks the most coffee?

So-called “Mumbaikers” are the ones insisting on their Starbucks wait. Mumbaikers, in the local lexicon, are yuppies – young professionals wanting to “grab their frappucinos, while madly updating their Facebook statuses,” according to the Guardian.

In India, of course, there are plenty of places to get coffee. While mainly a tea-drinking nation, there are still darshinis and dhabas on most corners where a cup of coffee can be had for a few rupees.

But maybe it’s not about the coffee. The Guardian’s  Kavitha Rao suggests India’s Starbucks craze speaks more to status than anything.

In symbol, Starbucks has become a place to socialize in comfort, free from the heat and dirty streets of Mumbai's city core. It’s a place where there is air conditioning, and clean washrooms. It’s where women, “desperately short of safe public spaces, want to sit by themselves without being leered at,” Rao notes.

For India, more Starbucks are coming. Two more will open in Mumbai this week, and New Delhi will welcome stores early next year.

In other words, India may not have long before Starbucks fatigue sets in, after all.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...