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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

November 18, 2008 at 11:45 AM

No naked mermaid at Starbucks? Wai?

Years ago, when my pal Abbie moved from Seattle to Saudi Arabia, she paid a visit to a Saudi Starbucks for a taste of home and was surprised to find Starbucks’ familiar logo missing its bosom-y mermaid:

Needless to say, that Seattle siren wasn’t welcome at the Al Rashid Mall. It’s interesting to see how cultures other than ours embrace our familiar corporate marketing tools. Or not. Case in point: this guy, seen in Bangkok, where he’s offering the traditional Thai greeting known as the “wai”:

Trolling the Web, I came across this fascinating 2005 post on the blog Dead Programmer’s Cafe, describing “How the Starbucks Siren Became Less Naughty” And he’s not just talking about the Saudi Arabian version, either. (Breasts? Bellybutton? Here today, gone out for a 2%-half-caf-with-foam tomorrow!) Give it a read.

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