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Friday, August 08, 2008

Smooth operators

How odd. I went into Starbucks with no. 2 son. I had a relaxing Latte, he wanted something with fruit. On the blackboard was advertised some form of special that seemed to involve apples and mangoes. He asked if it was a smoothie. The assistant told us "we're not allowed to call it a smoothie" but then went on to inform us in a conspiratorial aside that "but it is a smoothie". Has someone patented the word "smoothie"? I wonder if next time I ask for a coffee after lunch in a restaurant I'll be told "we're not allowed to call it coffee" because of a retaliatory strike by Starbuck's legal team. But, as always, truth is stranger than idle speculation in a snide aside. It turns out that Starbucks has already been trying to trademark particular coffee bean types!

Starbucks, the giant US coffee chain, has used its muscle to block an attempt by Ethiopia's farmers to copyright their most famous coffee bean types, denying them potential earnings of up to £47m a year, said Oxfam.

[From Starbucks, the coffee beans and the copyright row that cost Ethiopia £47m | World news | The Guardian]

I'm bored of saying it, but you can't make this stuff up.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

..not allowed to call it coffee..

On the rare occasions I go into Starbucks I never have the coffee anyway. Can you actually call a red-hot carton of milk with a small brown stain on top coffee? I think not.

"Smoothie" however is surely a generic name and as such should be usable by anyone?