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BY LUCIANA CHAVEZ - Staff writer
Temple University professor Bryant Simon believes he knows the Starbucks secret.
And it's not the caramel macchiato or the 86,999 other drinks the international coffee purveyors sell us.
It's the lifestyle we buy with that $3 cup of joe.
Simon, 48, wanted to show how Americans communicate with their purchases.
So, for his book "Everything But the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks," he visited 435 Starbucks in the U.S. and 10 other countries, analyzing everything from the flooring to the signage and everyone from the customers to CEO Howard Schultz.
"I listened to Alanis Morissette more than anyone should have to," Simon says.
In the book, the UNC-Chapel Hill graduate explains how Starbucks became a Wall Street favorite by making its customers feel environmentally aware, upwardly mobile, connected and cool by welcoming us, by name, into their clean, urban-chic stores, pumping hip music, and selling us (some) fair-trade coffee in cups made of 60 percent recycled materials.
We got all that in one cup of coffee? At least the illusion of it, Simon says.