Would you like to see the definition of insanity?
The epitome of consumerism run wild?
The alpha and the omega of insane faddishness?
Yet another example of planned obsolescence in the name of unnecessarily separating suckers from their no-longer-so-expendable income?
Making a damned cup of coffee a lot more complicated than it has to be?
HERE YOU GO, courtesy of Reuters:
Starbucks Corp, the world's biggest coffee chain, on Sunday said it plans to announce a new product for the single-serve market "in the near future."HERE'S THE PROCESS: People threw out their old drip coffee pots and percolators because somebody invented the Mr. Coffee, which was way better because it was NEW! And because it cost more.
Analysts long have expected Starbucks, which also sells Via instant coffee packets, to make a more aggressive move into the small, but fast-growing single-cup brewing segment.
Word of its new plan comes as Starbucks is getting ready for the March 1 termination of an agreement by which it provides coffee discs for Kraft Foods Inc's Tassimo one-cup home brewer.
Kraft's Tassimo brewer won some loyal fans with its bells and whistles, but it was bested by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' generally lower-cost Keurig brewing system that now has a near-monopoly in the single-cup category with roughly 80 percent market share.
While several analysts expect Starbucks to begin providing coffee for the Keurig system, some also have concerns about expiring Green Mountain patents, patent challenges and whether current Keurig users will migrate to the company's new machine.
"Starbucks is currently exploring all options to expand its presence in the premium single-cup coffee category, beyond our initial entry with Starbucks Via Ready Brew," Starbucks spokeswoman Lara Wyss told Reuters.
"Single-serve is still in the earliest stages and no clear delivery system has been established as the gold standard so it is important for us to look at all options," Wyss said.
But the Starbucks took over the world with espresso drinks and other gourmet coffees, which you couldn't have at home unless you bought an expensive espresso machine, which was better than a $25 stove-top espresso pot because it, like, cost 10 times as much. Duh!
Espresso makers, though, were too complicated. What was needed was something as simple as a stove-top espresso pot, but would make only one cup of coffee using high-priced, proprietary little packets that fit in little coffee makers that cost $200. This was real progress, which is defined as quadrupling -- through technology -- what the average consumer might have paid in Luddite days for an espresso pot and a hot plate.
ENTER the Tassimo single-serving coffee maker, for which Starbucks supplies overpriced coffee in little proprietary packets. The Tassimo represented a tenfold leap in progress, as measured by the cost of making a cup of decent coffee increasing from roughly a dime to a dollar.
Progress, however, requires obsolescence. Thus, the inevitability of Keurig -- shoving Tassimo to the margins of java history, and the need for your average coffeeaholic to shell out another $120 bucks -- Look, Marge! Economical coffee at home! The new coffee machine is $80 cheaper than the one we bought last year! -- for the new coffee-making system that's incompatible with the old one.
AND STARBUCKS will be there with a product that we know will be superior to whatever swill you're drinking now . . . because it will cost so much more.
It's The American Way.
As a card-carrying Democrat, however, I have no interest in The American Way. So you'll see me in the kitchen of our little collective here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska, spitting in the face of bourgeois society by making myself a cup of communist coffee in a proletarian pot.
On a prehistoric contraption called a stove.