So a while back, I wrote a quick blurb about being at Starbucks in Trujillo and how it really seemed ‘American’ and how I was a bit in shock at how it was the same type of ‘Starbucks culture’ here in Peru as in the states, and also the difference/disparity of wealth from where I was that evening (Starbucks) and during the day (my town).
I didn’t mean to vilify Starbucks or the people there, or even really imply that there’s anything wrong with Starbucks. Hell, I purposely went there that night and another time after that for a few hours and bought a drink and used the wireless internet). It can be a good symbol of the disparity, especially between rural and urban: for the same cost as a large frappachino drink, I can buy lunch for a week at a restaurant in my town, clearly the calorie cost is different.
But at the same time, Starbucks can be a good sign. With the prices the way they are (For the same price, I can either buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks or two weeks worth of fresh ground coffee in the grocery store), obviously there needs to be some level of clientele to support the business. And indeed there is. It shows, in a very unscientific way, a growing semi-professional youth culture working/networking and having disposable income. Quite possibly the patrons you might see at this Starbucks are going to be part of the ‘Perú advanza’ model, which won’t be cocinas mejoradas, but larger scale domestic businesses and innovations.
What could be said, for example, if there was the Starbucks and it was filled with ex-patriot workers or European/American tourists? Truly more of a divide or even cultural imperialism, maybe. Or is it cultural imperialism to see Peruvians do something ‘American’? I think not as they seem to gravitate to it on there own…there’s no mass media campaigns I can tell to get people into Starbucks.