In a world plentiful with caffeine addicts, one would be stumped to find a person who has never heard of the "biggest and baddest" in the coffee business: Starbucks. This corporation led by the famous green mermaid is untouchable. Starbucks does not hesitate to grow and drive out competition. They have not only taken over, but meanwhile, they sell low quality coffee, steal business from local coffee shops, and underpay the people in developing countries who make their irresistible coffee reality.

Starbucks is undeniably successful, having businesses in America — and in over fifty other countries, according to a 2015 study. Although Starbucks markets and promises the best, a Starbucks' advertisement is a prime example of how they claim to search the world to find those beans from "some exotic destination" that produces a "spirited conversation." However, they tend to release as little information on quality as possible to consumers. What customers don't know won't hurt them, right? Starbucks buys in bulk, sacrificing the "quality" ensured, ultimately minimizing their costs and maximizing their profits. All the while, small businesses are more likely to roast their own beans and even buy them locally.

This is an unmistakably well-known brand, which is why many Starbucks fans believe that this business is economically beneficial. However, their success causes local owners of coffee shops to struggle with other factors, not just competition. To start, an owner can expect spending $40,000 in equipment, $10,000 in marketing with hopes of only 30% to 35% of monthly revenue. In this way, it's a big commitment and investment of not only money, but also time, energy, and morale. No one ever tells you that a barista has "toilet cleaner" in their job description, and no one is ever in a good mood about it. Only profiting off at $3 a cup, cashing in a collective caffeine addiction and breaking even is not set in stone, proving why corporations usually weed out the competition with smaller scale coffeehouses.

This evil green mermaid disempowers, and is ungrateful for, the people who put blood, sweat, and tears into working on the coffee farms. All over the world, about 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed, produced by over 50 developing countries and involves several million small farmers. Not surprisingly, those who make this product possible live in poverty. Many coffee growers are, at best, barely surviving at close to $1 a day wages and are being driven out of business and off their land. We would love to think that this system benefits everyone. This beverage is known to link the daily routine of millions of consumers and producers living thousands of kilometers apart and experiencing vastly different lives...as if the overworked farmers in developing countries are treated equally as the stereotypical American girl inhaling her overpriced Frappuccino.

If consumers continue to feed into big corporations, rather than the genuine, smaller scale coffee shops, more people have the potential of experiencing the agony of poverty and mistreatment. Large coffee corporations have the full advantage over the start-up businesses, although they have low-quality products, take away from local businesses, and cause poverty to their growers. In order to prevent this from happening, coffee customers should shop locally. By supporting smaller cafes, they will not only be supporting the local and global economy but also, avoid surrendering their sovereignty to businesses who have made more than their fair share of profit.