Caffeine. Children. Catholics.

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starbucks-kidsI never tell you much about my personal life because I feel like it’s undignified. But last week I saw a bunch of Catholic school kids at a Starbucks and I called the principal.

I couldn’t help myself.

My husband asked, “Did you use our last name?”

I said, “Yeah, I used our last name. You married me. You in it!

So here’s the story: I have a morning routine. I get up, see my husband off to work, and I play with my cats. Then I get some coffee. It’s a solid ritual, and let’s face it, nobody lights the world on fire in my house before 8AM.

When I saw these kids at Starbucks, I lost my shit. Not only was the line incredibly long, but these kids were ordering caffeinated drinks. Coffee is highly addictive. Even if the drinks were decaffeinated, what are we teaching kids when we expose them to the ritual of caffeine? Do you take them to a Smoker Friendly after a soccer match to get candy cigarettes?

And the Pope just went on an epic rant against consumerism. He suspended the Bishop of Bling. While I don’t expect Catholic school kids to be on a diet of rice and beans, I do think the school has an obligation to think through consumer choices on behalf of these children.

(And they are still children, although Neilsen and Gallup would disagree.)

Anyway, I wondered why these kids were at Starbucks? Who made that decision? A teacher? And why not Caribou or Peet’s? Why not McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts? Young children are influenced by adult brand choices. What do we teach the next generation of consumers when we affiliate ourselves with particular brands?

And how is a cake pop or a lemon loaf an appropriate breakfast for teenagers? Where’s the nutritional value in a frappucino at 9AM?

So this is why I called the principal.

He called me back and was great. Apparently the kids were on a trip to volunteer with poor preschool children. (Of course.) In the interest of expediency, they had breakfast at Starbucks.

“Things are different than when you and I were kids, Lauren.”

This might be true, but children have always mimicked the values of adults whom they admire. Kids are influenced by where you shop and what you purchase. And until it’s okay to take a bunch of schoolkids to a bar at 3PM in the afternoon get a lemonade, I will think it is inappropriate for kids to have breakfast at Starbucks.

(And while your kids are at the bar, Auntie Laurie need another margarita. Rocks! Salt! Thanks!)

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