The deal with Starbucks. There's a dearth of public space in the modern urban context that's not contested by intrusive commercial goings-on. Relatively high prices are about providing a controlled environment that's fairly exclusive (and yet available on demand). Magically, coffee pulls off the feat of being an indulgence while making a nod towards our puritanical mores about productivity. And especially in the non-West it's still an aspirational lifestyle choice, haloed by the aura of what many think we're supposed to become.