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Foreign Starbucks Items We Wish We Had in America

Foreign Starbucks Items We Wish We Had in America

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There are some great items on Starbucks menus around the world that we’ve never even heard of here in the U.S. That Starbucks offers country-specific menus shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise; many chains switch up their menus so that they can cater to the taste buds and cultural or religious practices of the countries they’re in.

Foreign Starbucks Items We Wish We Had in America (Slideshow)

McDonald’s, for instance, offers some delicious menu items in other countries that they don’t plan on bringing stateside anytime soon — for instance,McSpicy Paneer in India and green tea tofu cheesecake in Taiwan — McDonald’s in nearly every country but America will sell you beer. Crappy, flavorless, Bud Light-tasting beer, but beer nonetheless.

Our favorite wacky international menu item of years past was the absolutely mesmerizing Meat Monster from Burger King Japan. This mutant burger started life off as a standard Whopper, but enjoyed the following artery-clogging additions: an extra beef patty, a chicken breast, three slices of bacon, and two pieces of cheese. One of these suckers had more calories than what we imagine to be a ballerina’s weekly allotment. It was not recommended for those recovering from heart surgery, but it was completely amazing.

So while we’re not shocked that a major international chain is offering country-specific treats we’ll probably never have a chance to try, we’re still epically jealous of all the options at Starbucks globally. Some of these drinks and snacks sound tastier than others, and some seem like they could be pretty easily replicated back in the States; a little pump of syrup, for instance, could make the difference between ho-hum hot cocoa and Austria’s decadent hazelnut hot chocolate.


Singapore’s latte lineup includes the “Asian Dolce Latte,” which comes with an extra shot of espresso, a sweet sauce, and a little ground espresso powder on top.


The snack options in Ireland’s Starbucks look incredible. They have something called “Luxury fruit bread,” as well as soya and linseed toast, dry cured ham and Emmental croissants, and treats called marshmallow twizzles, which appear to be just marshmallows dipped in chocolate. We’re looking for our passports now.

Jess Novak is the Drink Editor of The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @jesstothenovak

Globalization Puts a Starbucks Into the Forbidden City in Beijing

Five million Chinese a year visit the ancient Forbidden City, walking across the acres of gray cobblestone, through the stately vermilion pavilions and beneath the orange glazed roof tiles of the capital's centuries-old palace complex.

But just before they enter the Palace of Heavenly Purity, once the residence of China's emperors and still the symbolic center of the Chinese universe, they now see another color: the forest green logo of Starbucks Coffee.

If ever there was an emblem of the extremes to which globalization has reached, this is it: mass-market American coffee culture in China's most hallowed historic place. Even a McDonald's in the Kremlin would not come as close. Starbucks opened its Forbidden City shop a month ago with a signature menu board advertising the usual Americano and decaf latte coffee and a glass display case filled with fresh glazed donuts, cinnamon rings and banana walnut muffins.

'ɼhinese people don't like it too much, but we're working hard to change their minds,'' said Richard Chen, wearing a black shirt and green apron behind the counter of the small, two-table cafe.

As China prepares to join the World Trade Organization and bids to be the host of the 2008 Olympic Games, once-sacred barriers to its fabled consumer market are crumbling like stale biscotti. China is expected to maintain stiff barriers around many leading industries, but the market for most consumer goods and services is already remarkably open -- so much so that profits are often disappointing because of rabid competition.

More than ever, educated young Chinese are watching, wearing, eating and drinking products marketed by the world's multinationals, aspiring to be, not necessarily Westernized, but modern.

''These things are the trend, and I just accept them subconsciously,'' said Huang Hongye, a 26-year-old event organizer waiting for his girlfriend at Shanghai's biggest Starbucks. Mr. Huang wears Lee jeans, made by the VF Corporation, and tan Reebok boots smokes State Express 555 brand cigarettes by British American Tobacco P.L.C. and calls his girlfriend with a Siemens mobile phone. He even reads e-mail on a Nino palm-sized computer by Royal Philips Electronics, which, along with all of the computers at his office, is loaded with Microsoft software.

Zoom out and the smattering of foreign brands looks insignificant in the sea of China's vast population, most of which still dresses in drab colors and makes do with shoddy goods manufactured by state-run industries. And the shallow impact that Western culture has had on broader Chinese life so far could evaporate almost as quickly as the international effervescence that existed in China's cities before the Communist Party came to power 51 years ago.

Simmering nationalism, for example, could turn Western brands into badges of treason overnight. Many McDonald's restaurants across the country were ransacked after the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, last year.

But the direction, for now, is unmistakable. Coca-Cola Head & Shoulders and Tide, both made by Procter & Gamble Dove, made by Unilever Wrigley's and Marlboro, made by Philip Morris, are brands already ensconced in the country's first-, second- and third-tier cities. JanSport backpacks and Nike shoes are also becoming ubiquitous.

Starbucks’ New Flat White is a Sham, Here’s Why

I’m sure that most of you who have entered a Starbucks in the past two months have seen the HUGE sign for the new and exciting drink—the flat white. The flat what? Let’s break down this trendy new moneymaker.

According the the Starbucks website, “This coffee connoisseur’s choice combines ristretto shots made with Starbucks signature Espresso Roast and freshly steamed whole milk with microfoam, expertly handcrafted for a genuine Flat White experience.” The site also refers to the drink’s finishing touch as the “Starbucks signature dot.” I think I just peed a little from laughing. Come on, signature DOT? Sounds like an excuse not to make latte art.

Technically a flat white is a latte without foam, that is why it is “flat,” but can’t you just say “no-foam latte?” Here in America we like to pump things full of sugar, fat and apparently extra words. Ask an Aussie what a flat white is and I guarantee you they will not use the word “microfoam.” I really did not think that an espresso shot covered with steamed milk could be so complicated.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

It is also important to note that Starbucks did not invent the flat white. We can actually thank Australia for this drink, it was created there in the 1970s and later developed in New Zealand. When I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia the flat white was just one of many new coffee vocabulary words I learned.

I felt like I had entered the first grade again, unable to decipher these foreign coffee words and completely dumbfounded. “Uhh, can I just have a cup of coffee please?” No. It was not that simple. So, why bring the complicated latte language here, Starbucks? And why make it even more complicated? I am distressed.

So this drink is not original, difficult to understand and not particularly pretty. I will admit it is rather tasty when you get past the flat whiteness of it, but I still don’t see how and why it got its Starbucks green card.

So now for all of my fellow Americans who love sugar, words and
choices—whole milk, 1%, 2%, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk—the flat white can be added to your coffee list when you’re feeling a little less foamy.

What products are Americans missing out on? What American products do you wish your country had?

The slogan is 'It's so hard to have a Gaytime on your own', which I feel says a lot about our country.

The Abercrombie Hotel in Sydney does deep-fried Golden Gaytimes.

An Irish friend of mine stocks up on Lucky Charms every time he's in the states. Apparently they don't have them over there.

The thing about Lucky Charms is that they were available here at one point back when I was a child, so chances are your average mid twenties/early thirties Irish person will have a particular nostalgic fondness for Lucky Charms.

You can buy them in gourmet supermarkets/shops that import American goods but you're talking about €8/$10 a box.

Magnum ice cream was my favorite ice cream before I moved to the US. They introduced it to the US market a couple of years ago but I guess people don't want to eat ice cream they associate with condoms.

I saw an ad for it in the paper and my mind immediately went to condoms.

American here, went to Spain to study abroad and HELLO BIDET

American here. When I went to Japan I was fascinated by all the buttons on their toilets. I pushed the bidet button and got a continual jet of water to the butthole. Then I couldn't get it to stop so I was sitting there laughing whilst being squirted, afraid to get up because water would shoot all over the immaculately clean Japanese floor. I wasn't brave enough after that to push the feminine bidet button. They also had a little music note button that plays a continual flushing noise if you are going number two, just in case you are producing a particularly noisy poo.

Starbucks' Problems At Home And Abroad

Starbucks is losing its coolness. On Wall Street, that is, where its shares have been heading south in recent months, bucking the market trend.

In the last three months, Starbucks’ stock is down 11.38%, while the overall market is up 4.10%.

What’s haunting Starbucks stock?

A number of problems at home and abroad. At home, Starbucks is facing market saturation, as there’s a Starbucks store or two in almost every neighborhood. This means that there are no more opportunities to open new stores.

With market saturation comes store cannibalization, a situation where one company store takes away business from other stores.

Market saturation and store cannibalization can explain the company’s sluggish same store sales in the U.S., which has forced Starbucks to announce store closings in recent weeks.

Then there’s Starbucks’ loss of identity. For years, the company has been known as a "third place," an "affordable luxury" where middle-age baby boomers could share and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends and colleagues, away from work and home.

In recent years, however, Starbucks has been attracting bigger and bigger crowds, from all walks of life, including families with young children.

This means that Starbucks is turning from a cool "third place" to another routine “first place."

Company/Index 3-month performance 5-year performance
Starbucks -11.38% 55.57%
Dunkin Brands 16.46 49.62
S&P 500 4.10 68.24

Source: 6/25/2018

Meanwhile, there’s competition at home and abroad from both established and upstart companies.

For years, Starbucks had little competition both at home and abroad. For a simple reason: competitors couldn’t match its business model. Some replicated the company’s espresso beverage menu -- like McDonald's with its McCafe product line. Others copied its "third place" concept -- like Costa Cafe in London and Caffe Bene in New York City.

But none of these competitors succeeded in developing a business model that beats Starbucks in all four advantages: beverage, store setting, service, and culture.

With little competition, Starbucks sales soared. Back in 2015, for instance, Starbucks’ revenues and earnings grew at the high teens levels, as McDonald’s revenues and earnings headed south.

That was music in the ears of momentum investors who fell in love with the stock.

But in recent years, things have changed, both at home and abroad. At home, Starbucks is facing growing competition from McDonald’s McCafes and all-day breakfast, as evidenced by the recent turnaround in McDonald’s sales. Overseas, Starbucks is facing strong competition from home-grown start-ups that have managed to match and even exceed Starbucks “third place” model.

Like Greece-based Mikel Coffee Company, which features a portfolio of 130 beverages — and an elegantly designed “third place” look, staffed by carefully recruited and well-trained and dedicated associates.

That's how Mikel expanded like wildfire in Greece, the Middle-East and the U.K., opening up 185 stores in nine years, with plans to open more stores in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany and the U.S.

The bottom line: Starbucks’ long bull run is over, as the company turns from a growth to a value play.

37 Things Americans Do That Confuse the Rest of the World

There's the American way &hellip and then there's everybody else.

Even though laughing loudly and grabbing coffee to-go are both part of most American's everyday lives, to others it's downright strange &mdash and even rude. These are all of the common practices and cultural norms in our society that the rest of the world doesn't share.

Starbucks may be on every block around the globe, but that doesn&rsquot mean people in other countries drink it the same way we do. Most international coffee customs are more about the communal ritual of sharing a cup in a coffee shop with friends, while Americans opt for the less eco-friendly alternative &mdash an extra-large paper and plastic to-go cup.

American dollars may be powerful, but they are anything but exciting. The green and black design is fairly boring (but practical) compared to our cultural counterparts that have rainbow-colored bills &mdash some even with metallic accents!

America has three sizes: large, larger, and largest &mdash from super-sized drinks to indulgent feasts. The country even glorifies restaurants with the biggest food (sundaes, burgers, you name it!), while other parts of the world typically value quality over quantity.

In some foreign cultures that take pride in their cuisine, it's considered uncouth to request condiments to adjust your meal to taste. Requesting a bottle of ketchup or salt that isn't already on the table will get you some major side-eye from your server. If you're worried about committing a faux pas while eating out, it's not a bad idea to brush up on foreign dining etiquette before traveling abroad.

Asking for a doggy bag at the end of the meal is just as gauche as asking for ketchup. It might seem terrible to let food go to waste, but many European eateries turn their nose up at the idea of taking food to go &mdash in their view, it's a health hazard that could potentially lead to food poisoning. Despite the local attitude, France attempted to cut down on food waste by making it illegal for restaurants to deny doggy bags if they're requested.

Putting ice in everything is mostly just a U.S. thing. Many foreign countries write ice off as something that waters down your drink, in addition to having questionable origins. A Smithsonian writer posits that it isn't so much of a foreign distaste for ice as it is more of just an American obsession with it.

There's even an emoji for it, but the affirming gesture of giving of a thumbs up is not universal. It is actually akin to raising your middle finger in places like Australia, Greece, and the Middle East. It's probably best to just use your words &mdash especially in business transactions.

Foreigners who come to the U.S. for a little retail therapy are usually warned that prices are not what they seem. In other countries, the taxes are reflected in the price of the item you are purchasing. The idea of sales tax that gets applied upon checkout is not the norm.

Every October, our baseball teams compete in the World Series championship. We call it the World Series, but we're the only country that participates aside from a single Canadian team. The fact that we call our team the best in the world in a competition that doesn't operate internationally is baffling to foreigners. So why is it called that? According to NPR, it may have started as just a marketing ploy.

Sometimes it seems like we forget that the U.S. is not the only America in the world. It is actually considered politically incorrect in South America to call the U.S. just America. In fact, there is a whole website dedicated to explaining the common mistake.

Speaking of U.S. obsessions, our fascination with pumpkins has also been called into question. The rest of the world just sees them as another member of the squash family, but we've come to expect pumpkin-flavored everything once fall hits. The nation's pumpkin pandemonium may never reach the same level outside of the U.S., but some places are starting to come around.

We're living in the age of 3D printing and yet our paper money all looks similar. Our bills have remained the same green color and standard size since 1929. Similarly, our habit of walking around cashless and opting to pay with plastic is equally as puzzling to our foreign friends.

The U.S. always has to be different, even when it comes to something as simple as writing the date. Here it's typically written as "MM-DD-YY" but most other places write it as "DD-MM-YY". Our reason for doing so remains a mystery but The Guardian has some theories.

We've got major baby fever in the U.S., from the initial pregnancy announcement until the birth. To us, baby showers seem commonplace, but they're not really a tradition in other parts of the world. Some even consider it bad luck to celebrate a baby before they're born. And while we're on the subject of celebrating .

It's always lovely to receive a gift. Although it may seem polite to open a present in front of the giver in order to thank them personally, it doesn't work that way everywhere. In some Asian cultures, it is considered rude to open gifts immediately after receiving them you may actually be seen as greedy for doing so.

This one isn't so much of a weird custom as it is just a funny cultural association. The idea of going to a party and drinking out of red solo cups is viewed by the rest of the world as a very American thing to do. This has a lot to do with Hollywood consistently using them in party scenes. The cups are a staple at America-themed parties thrown around the world.

We love our personal space here in the U.S. Invasion of that space in a social situation (especially with a stranger) makes Americans uncomfortable and is sometimes seen as unnecessarily aggressive (remember that Seinfeld episode?). Foreign travel blogs advise that it's best to give Americans space during conversation, and note that even minimal physical contact is a bit too intimate for most.

Restaurant-goers outside the U.S. rarely worry about leaving tips for waitstaff. Sounds unfair, until you realize that service industry employees abroad tend to earn higher hourly wages than their American counterparts, whose pay structure is built around gratuity. As one TripAdvisor article noted, "[Those] who provide service are often dependent on tip income and generally are grateful for any tips received, especially when prompt and exceptional service has been provided."

In addition to being one of just a handful of countries that prohibit alcohol consumption for anyone under 21, some places across the U.S. still abide by Prohibition-era laws restricting the sale of beer, wine, and liquor. In Indiana, for example, liquor stores still aren't allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays, and Kansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi are "dry states by default," meaning municipalities have to "opt in" if they want to sell booze.

Americans' penchant for small talk can be off-putting to people who didn't grow up talking about the weather. Especially perplexing? The fact that "How are you?" isn't actually an invitation to open up.

"Americans generally do not discuss how much money they make or how much they paid for certain high-end items," another TripAdvisor article cautioned. "It is considered very rude and is even more uncomfortable to discuss."

In a country where Speedos never stood a chance, it's no surprise that nude sunbathing is especially frowned upon. "[It] should definitely be noted that nude bathing, and even changing clothes on the beach, can be construed as indecent exposure and therefore may cause problems," the German government told its citizens in official travel warnings for the U.S.

The Japanese think it's rude to show one's teeth, which is why they aren't fond of Americans' tendency to let out hearty, open-mouthed guffaws.

Some experts think that the reason Americans are just so darn nice is because, as a nation of immigrants, Americans had to find ways to transcend language barriers. Hence, the tendency to smile at strangers, which just isn't something non-Americans are used to.

This is an obvious one, and, yet, it's still a constant source of bewilderment for most of the world. Instead of following the metric system, America is one of just three countries to follow the imperial system of measurement. (The others are Liberia and Myanmar.)

Visitors to the U.S. are often blown away by the size of American meals. Researchers compared the size of certain snacks in Philadelphia to their Parisian counterparts and found that the U.S. candy bars were an average of 41% bigger, sodas were 52% bigger, and yogurt servings were 82% bigger. What's more, studies show that people often gain weight after immigrating to the U.S.

The only eateries outside of the U.S. that offer free refills on soft drinks and coffee are (usually) American fast food chains. But as those fast food brands extend their reach internationally, free refills are spreading &mdash and not everyone is happy about it. Earlier this year, France banned the sale of unlimited-refill soda in an effort to curb rising obesity rates.

Americans "can't have just one thing," one U.K. resident wrote on Reddit. "It has to come in blueberry, vanilla, diet, low fat, low sodium, big, small, round, and GRAPE, everything is grape flavoured [sic]. Nothing is grape flavoured in the UK."

Europeans in particular balk at the cost of college in the U.S., which in 2016 was nearly $25,000 a year for public, in-state colleges and almost $50,000 a year for private universities. Meanwhile, students in countries like France and Germany can attend college for free.

It's weird enough that American football has almost nothing in common with the sport the rest of the world knows as football. But the culture surrounding both pro- and college-level American football is especially confusing to non-Americans. (See: This Reddit forum, in which Americans explain what tailgating entails to a bewildered Brit.)

Starbucks CISO Explains Security Outsourcing Model

The 62 full-time employees of the global cybersecurity team at Starbucks Corp. can’t do everything. The international coffee giant designates many tasks to those staffers, but also hires smaller firms to take on cybersecurity responsibilities that augment employees’ capabilities, Chief Information Security Officer Dave Estlick said.

The question of when to outsource security functions is key in the retail sector, where there is a high volume of transactions and relatively small security teams, according to research published in August by the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center and Deloitte LLP. Companies outsource cybersecurity work to overcome talent and budget constraints and to monitor their systems for possible threats, according to the report. At Starbucks, a member of the intelligence sharing center, the decision to hire a vendor rests on whether companies can provide a service that will help protect the coffee company’s brand, Mr. Estlick said.

In one case, Starbucks outsourced an important role that was beyond its expertise, according to Mr. Estlick. Starbucks for four years has relied on a cybersecurity vendor to help fend off hackers who plug lists of stolen usernames and passwords into automated tools, then use those tools on Starbucks’ website and applications to try to access customer gift card accounts. The company hired the firm in 2014 after breaches at other organizations resulted in cybercriminals selling batches of usernames and passwords on the dark web, said Mr. Estlick. Roughly 20% of those breaches included valid Starbucks credentials because customers re-used their name and password on multiple sites, he said.

“Let’s say another site loses those accounts but those accounts also work within Starbucks,” he said. “Where do you think the customer is going to see the problem manifest itself first? At Starbucks, which is often a daily routine. It’s really someone else’s issue, but it’s my brand that’s getting impacted.”

Mr. Estlick in an interview with WSJ Pro Cybersecurity explained why he assigns some cybersecurity work to his own staff, and why he hires outside firms, which he declined to name. Here are edited excerpts.

Q: How do you decide which cybersecurity tasks to outsource?

A: My mission statement at the security department is brand protection. It’s a foundational element in the decisions we make.

If it’s a commodity service, we’ll look to contract that out so I can place my resources on more critical tasks. On the other end of the spectrum, it would be something we don’t have the capability to do.

I’ll give you two examples of what we outsourced and the decision behind it. One is around threat intelligence. [On] many of the forums on the dark web, you actually have to be vetted before you’re allowed access. In many of those they will ask you to perform something that’s illegal to get in. We’re certainly not going to do that. It’s not brand appropriate. But I can contract with another entity without specific knowledge of how they have access to these forums to be able to get the benefit of that information.

The other is around bug bounties, being able to essentially crowdsource a solution and get many different individuals from different backgrounds and experience levels looking at the problem.

Q: Which cybersecurity tasks do you assign to your in-house team?

A: We do all security architecture, which is understanding the environment and the initiatives that are going on. That’s done completely in house. Identity management is done in house. Remote access management is done in house.

The others things are security engineering, application security and security operations. We did have security operations outside for several years with different providers but we realized we weren’t getting the value . because most items were getting pushed back onto my engineering team for more analysis and review.

The mobile app is based on a distributed development model internationally. We do the development for English-speaking markets. If it needs to be localized for specialized content or … for language purposes, then the app development is distributed to international partners. However, security is not distributed.

All applications come back to my team here in the U.S. for application [penetration] testing and security code reviews. We have an application security team, which is a manager and five individuals.

They’ll do app security reviews of all the internally developed applications, whether it’s upgrades to point-of-sale or other things. We give the green light before the latest mobile app is released either to Google Play or the iTunes App Store.

They also run the response to our formalized bug bounty program. They have to validate the findings and are responsible for issuing rewards.

The amount of [code] review is dependent upon the features of the application. We have some markets where the mobile application is as simple as just a store locator that tells you where the nearest store is located. Others have … loyalty programs or include payment. Here in North America and Europe we have mobile order, so there is a lot more rigor that goes into testing that.

The focus of our testing is not the features or functions. We’re not looking to make sure the features are working as designed. We’re working to break the applications. Is there a way I can hijack sessions? Is there a possibility for data leakage? Do I have a potential issue around denial of service on the back end, or input validation issues?

Q: Which other security responsibilities do you assign to vendors?

A: Every once in awhile there’s a shift in the threat landscape where we’re seeing new approaches and different types of attacks that we planned to address in future years that need to be brought forward.

There’s a [service] we purchased [starting] in probably 2014 that’s part of the overall platform to knock down automated attacks.

We’ve identified where the potentials are for abuse on our [applications] and websites and send those to the vendor for validation. It takes milliseconds to do that.

Q: What should other companies keep in mind about their own outsourcing model?

A: First and foremost, especially for the security leader, they need to recognize they are going to be held accountable whether they’re providing a service internally or through a relationship. Risk can’t be outsourced. Your board and executive team still will hold you accountable at the end of the day.

Through that lens, you need to look at what services you’re putting out there and why that makes sense. If you put yourself in the situation of having to have a difficult conversation because a certain capability had issues or created risk, how comfortable are you standing in front of the executive team explaining why you made which decisions and why it was and is likely still the right decision for the company.

Write to Jeff Stone at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

December 14, 2017

I’ve always wanted to go to Europe for many reasons. I grew up listening to a lot of bands/artist from England/Europe ( Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Depeche Mode, New Order, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Morrissey), the new wave era in the 80s and foremost being Catholic, I wanted to visit Vatican City and attend the mass that the Pope gives weekly in St. Peters Square. Since I don’t know anyone I decided to book my ticket and use a tour company that was recommended by my church. I am so glad I did because the tour guides were amazing. At first, I was afraid about the daily activities including daily mass. I am very lazy about going to church every week. I have my moments and I go out of guilt more than anything. Therefore, it’s a blessing that I did and found this tour company.

Vatican city was as amazing as I would hope for. Rome is about as depressing as I have heard so we didn’t do much walking around at night at all, probably because we were exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel. For anyone who is hoping to see the Pope close up as he’s driving around in his Pope mobile, make sure you’re behind a someone with the baby. The Pope will stop and pick up the baby!!

The pope is a very fun and laid back. I’ve never actually stood anywhere waiting for anyone famous in my life. The most crowded place I have been to is probably a Madonna concert or a gay pride in DC and NYC. I am not one of those people that likes crowds or celebrities but I will tolerate the crowd for a good cause close to my heart. It’s hard to describe the feeling but seeing the Pope and witnessing all kinds of people there to attend this weekly mass is only something that can be influenced by God. Not everyone there is Catholic and they would wear their costumes that represents their culture/religion. It was just the most beautiful sight. It gives me hope that for our differences, love can unite us and all us to love, embrace and respect each other. ( I included this bc I love the Swiss guards)

PARIS WAS BEAUTIFUL AND THE FOOD IS AMAZING. This is my favorite view of Paris, at Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Remember how I didn’t like the daily mass with have every day, well, because of that daily mass, I got to attend a mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. One couple from our trip had their vows renewed here. I am not a fan of marriage but if I could get married here, I definitely would get married. We have at least one priest with us everywhere we visited and I love our priest. He’s very open minded and down to earth. I wish he was the priest at my parish.

I came to Paris and got my mug. However, I wish I had bought the version 2 Paris mug. I didn’t realize it at the time that this was the first version. I always wanted to stand outside a balcony in Europe since forever, even though I am extremely afraid of heights, it was pretty cool! On unrelated note, our tour guide did take us down through the tunnel that Princess Diana died in. It was at night, it was empty and it felt very lonely.

London was our last stop. I did have high expectations for London because of of the artist, bands, movie stars I like are from England. I was not disappointed at all. I now understand why British appear to be arrogant and proud. London was so clean and posh, at least where we went and it just had a little bit of everyone wonderful in such a small area. Even the weather was nice 2 out of the 3 days that we were there. My biggest surprise was seeing Stonehenge. I have heard about this place but never really read too much about it. Until I went there was when I realized the wonderful history of human evolution and our determination to do something that seems impossible to comprehend now. As a plus, there’s a new England Stonehenge mug!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! I tried to stay away from politics but America is going through a difficult time right now. However, never give up on hope and your dreams. My dreams have slowly come true. Pray for us everyone. We are still a wonderful country and there are many wonderful humans in the world. It only takes a very small percentage to eradicate our accomplishments but good will always prevail. It’s been almost a decade since I started this blog and collecting mugs is still a strong desire for many. For many collectors, getting that hard to find mug, or a mug that holds meaning is another dream come true!

McDonald's And Starbucks' Two Most Important Advantages At Home And Abroad

McDonald’s and Starbucks stocks are on the mend since going public. The shares of the two largest American franchises are beating major averages by a big margin, as the two companies deliver what Wall Street is always looking for, defying critiques: strong growth on the top and bottom line.

“Revenue, and EPS upside and a guide-up all serve to support the stock's 13-year high valuation,” said John Zolidis, following the release of strong financial results last week for Starbucks. “We continue to like the shares long, for the reasons we have reiterated (global growth, ROIC profile, FCF, return of capital, innovation in product and technology) although the name is not for the valuation sensitive and we do expect a period of consolidation at some point.”

McDonald's and Starbucks Share Performance

How did McDonald’s and Starbucks do it? With location and branding, their two most important advantages.

Both franchises were the “early movers” in their own markets and that allowed them to acquire the best locations at home and abroad—train and bus stations, and airports and city landmarks. Travel anywhere inside and outside the US, and almost always you will find a McDonald’s or a Starbucks around the corner.

McDonald's and Starbucks operating margins

Then there’s branding. Both franchises are well recognized for what they do. McDonald’s is recognized for fast, convenient, and inexpensive food. Starbucks is recognized for its “third place,” an “affordable luxury” where people can enjoy mixed espresso drinks with friends and colleagues, away from work and home.

Location and branding give the two franchises a “captive market.” And these advantages have allowed them to endure the many changes they have encountered over the decades they’ve been in business. Like change in consumer preferences, growing competition, and market saturation.

All they have to do is to adjust their product offering, and ride one trend after another.

Back in the 1960s, McDonald’s began by riding the baby-boomer trend, the swelling ranks of teenagers and the growing female labor force participation, by offering a fast and inexpensive menu. In the 1970s and the 1980s, the company rode the globalization trend by transferring the American Way of Life to many countries around the world. At the same time, McDonald’s adapted to the social context of each country by franchising to locals.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, McDonald’s adjusted the company’s product portfolio to emerging food industry trends—the refurbishment of McDonald’s restaurants to achieve a branded, updated, and more natural dining environment.

Nowadays, McDonald’s continues to broaden its product portfolio by offering high quality coffee and healthy drinks (either through its traditional restaurants or cafés), and everyday breakfast, competing head to head with Starbucks and local cafeterias.

Meanwhile, Starbucks has capitalized on its location and brand advantage to address changes in its own market.

Back in the 1990s, the growing ranks of mid-age professionals that created the need for a “third place.” The chain inserted itself into the American urban setting more quickly and craftily than any retail company in history, and forever changed the way Western companies market their brand to consumers.

Nowadays, Starbucks has broadened its menu to include breakfast items to compete with McDonalds, which has invaded its marketand it keeps on introducing new drinks to address the preferences of customers with a taste for non-caffeine drinks and use technology to enhance overall customer experience.

The bottom line: Location and branding makes McDonald’s and Starbucks operate like ATM machines. All it takes to keep on feeding the machine with cash is to come up with the right product offerings to capitalize on the advantages that put each of them at the head of the game in the first place .

7 Things From America That Are Insanely Popular Overseas

Sometimes a movie, actor or product appears on the American scene to be greeted with a collective "meh" but then make its way overseas and struggles onshore like Gulliver from Gulliver's Travels. Suddenly it finds itself a celebrated giant in this new land.

They don't usually tie it up first unless they're in Japan or something.

In other words, there are pop culture phenomena that Americans haven't given a second thought to, that have absolutely exploded across the ocean. Like.

A quick refresher in case you're not up to date on the vital subject of What PBR Means To Americans -- Pabst Blue Ribbon is a beer historically associated with fat, blue collar Midwesterners that is now the flagship beer of hipsters, who enjoy it "ironically".

So basically Americans drink PBR because that's what the working class drinks, either because they are actually part of the working class, or because they like to pretend they like what the working class does.

That's why it makes perfect sense to market it in China like champagne.

"Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844" costs $44 - American dollars - a bottle. That is not a Photoshop.

What makes it so great? Well, according to the marketing a Chinese magazine ad:

It's not just Scotch that's put into wooden casks. There's also Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer 1844.
Many world-famous spirits
Are matured in precious wooden casks
Scotch whisky, French brandy, Bordeaux wine.
They all spend long days inside wooden casks.

You can't argue with that logic. Scotch is put in casks. PBR 1844 is put in casks. PBR must be as valuable as Scotch! QED.

In other news, hamsters and lions are pretty much the same thing because they're both found in cages.

A good starter pet for young children.

It turns out it's not as stupid an idea as you'd think. Being rich is sort of a new thing in China, and those that happen to get rich don't have a long history of Rockefeller types or gangsta rappers to show them how to show it off, so they're still sort of figuring it out.

"Now the neighbors know we're classy."

So sell them something expensive that looks expensive, and they'll snap it up.

I mean, it's not like they can use Google to find out what the beer's actual reputation is over here.


Unlike a lot of other things on this list, Kit-Kats aren't exactly unpopular in the U.S., and we have many varieties. Like small and large.

Is there no end to American confectionery creativity?

But Japan takes it to a whole new level (as Japan will do). None of this penny ante futzing around with sizes. Japan currently has over 80 different flavors of Kit-Kat.

And some of them are exactly the kind of flavors you would imagine people coming up with after they have to think of a new flavor when 50 flavors already exist: soybean, grilled corn, lemon vinegar, Earl Grey tea, Camembert cheese, baked potato, cola and lemon squash, cucumber, rose.

Mmm, tastes like white.

But why are these so popular? There's a couple of reasons first, the name sounds very similar to a Japanese phrase, "kitto katsu," a good luck wish, which is why Kit Kats are given to kids as good luck charms before big tests, for example.

The second reason, according to that same story, is that these 80 weird flavors were deliberately created to capitalize on the Japanese tendency to "catch 'em all," like they are compelled to do with Pokemon, or weird fetishes. New "limited edition" flavors are often created and then quickly pulled in order to drive all the completionists out there into a collectors' frenzy.


Spam, not the email but the "meat product," is generally considered in the United States to be something that should be eaten in trailer parks by people who only have a hot plate to cook with. In Guam, it's the national past time.

It is somehow considered a part of Guam's traditional native cooking, despite only being invented about 70 years ago, with an average of 16 cans per year consumed by every man, woman, and child on the island.

Hawaii does things like this with Spam and they only consume 6 cans per person.

You'd think there must be a story behind that, and there is. Spam's very cheapness made it an ideal military ration during World War II, where U.S. troops stationed in Guam and other Pacific Islands were sometimes forced to eat it for three meals a day.

War is hell.

The Guamanians snapped up the habit, because they weren't exactly stinking rich during the war either. But once the war was over, the American soldiers went home and probably vowed to never look at another can of Spam again, while the people of Guam didn't really have a native Guam diet to go back to.

This is the native diet.


  1. Willesone

    You read this and think ...

  2. Tzuriel

    I understand this issue. You can discuss.

  3. Heolstor

    Where is your logic?

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