[this is satire]
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Zuzither News Service) — In yet another reminder that security remains precarious in the former spiritual home of the Taliban, Starbucks has announced an indefinite delay in the opening of a new store in downtown Kandahar. “It’s a shame because we thought everything was finally going to happen but with the rocket attacks, shootings, abductions, not to mention the return of the Taliban and al Qaeda, we had no choice but to delay,” said Starbucks Middle East Operations Vice President Hugh Barbasol. The announcement was made in a hastily-organized press conference during the annual meeting of the International Caffeine Deliverers Association in Reno.
After a notice of the postponement was taped to the front door of the shuttered Kandahar Starbucks, dozens of beleaguered Western relief workers and journalists expressed their anger and disappointment. Former NPR reporter Sara Chayes, who stayed in Afghanistan after the war to help rebuild the country, told the Associated Press, “Sure I’m disappointed, not having a Starbucks is going to make my job really freakin’ difficult.” Company literature boasts that a Starbucks store will often anchor a community on the rebound. Starbucks claims that the store in Kandahar would anchor an entire country. Company executives point out that a great deal of preparation and planning go into the stores abroad. “We’ve made some minor adjustments to fit in with the local culture,” Barbasol said. Most prominently, Starbucks altered their own logo for the Kandahar store, replacing the topless mermaid with a bearded man wielding a kalishnikov and a go-cup. The Kandahar store menu will also feature 10 different kinds of tea, including Khat-tea, a best-selling herbal blend found in Starbucks’ 14 stores in Yemen. In addition, the Kandahar store will debut two new coffee drinks not found anywhere else in the world: the Ugly Americano and the Room Temperature Latte. But company officials maintain that Starbucks’ gestures of cultural sensitivity do not in any way affect the overall product. “There may be cosmetic differences in some of these stores abroad,” Barbasol admitted, “but we never compromise our consistency and quality in our drinks, so an iced double-tall, no whip, caramel macchiato will taste as good in Sonoma as it will in Ulan Bator.” Starbucks stock fell 2.5 percent as a result of the announcement.