Monday, October 13, 2008

Starbucks' Big Mushy Hit: Oatmeal?

Who knew a homely menu entry like oatmeal would win the hearts of Starbucks customers? Is it because as our 401(k)s get thinner and thinner, we're starving for the comfiest of comfort foods? Something warm, sweet, easy to digest, and soothing to our nervous tum-tums?

Does it remind us of home? Of Grandma? The good old days before 9/11 and global economic collapse? Perhaps. And there's nothing wrong with that. We all need a little love these days, even if it comes in a cardboard cup with a plastic spoon.

But isn't several dollars a bit much to pay for a big dollop of piping-hot good feeling? It takes virtually no time to make quick oatmeal or instant oatmeal at home for a lot less. Only Grandma never made quick or instant oatmeal. And something about making it for yourself takes away that pampered, cared-for feeling. So as odd as it sounds, oatmeal at Starbucks may be a truly brilliant idea, one that can save Starbucks' bacon, so to speak.

Wonder what Starbucks' next big comfort-food hit will be. Meat loaf and mashed potatoes? Mmm.

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