Idea for Starbucks: Teens on Beans

TEXT OF COMMENTARY

BOB MOON: Here's something that might make your ears perk up: Starbucks is now a "family destination," or so the company says. It might soon be brewing up menu items targeted directly to kids and teens.

Right now, teens indulge in 24-ounce Frappucinos that pack more than three times the caffeine punch of a can of Coke. So is Starbucks truly interested in decaffeinating its younger customers?

Either way, commentator and humorist Tim Bedore worries that insufferable teens might overrun his beloved coffeehouse:


TIM BEDORE: For a few decades now, we have been medicating our kids -- to deal with ADD or hyperactivity -- in order to smooth out their behavior. And to help in that effort, Starbucks is going to start marketing coffee to teenagers.

Actually, Starbucks said they are just reviewing their policy of not marketing to kids, and will toss around the idea of adding new drinks in kid flavors and sizes.

Translation? Six months from now, you will be hearing: "Try our new bubble-gum flavored coffee, in either Ventilicious or Hanna Montana Grande-rama sizes."

On the one hand, I like the idea of American teens being exposed to the cafe lifestyle -- the art of conversation, and consuming a product made for a specific person by a specific person in real time and in the same space. I like the idea of American kids growing up with an appreciation for quality. Why? Because I have been to too many birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese.

My fear, though, is that already naturally amped-up eighth-graders will invade America's serene, relaxed, library-like coffee emporiums, get on caffeine jags and speed-blather about their junior romances or Zac Efron or pester the clerk over why Starbucks is out of the Britney Spears Live From Folsom Prison CD...

And I don't know about you, but I would rather watch preteens play at Chuck E Cheese than listen to teenagers talk in my coffee house.

Which is why I believe in big government. We regulate the ADD medicines we give our kids, and alcohol, tobacco. Why not caffeine? And more importantly, teenagers in large groups are annoying.

Someone -- the Justice Department, or even the military -- must force, at gunpoint if necessary, Starbucks. If they want to sell coffee to teens, to open entirely new stores (like the Gap did with the Baby Gap) called Jittery TeenBucks or Teens on Beans or whatever. And thus, protect parents and the public at large from a full-frontal teen assault.

Isn't that why we have big government in the first place?

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