||Virtual tourism. That is what Starbucks is selling in this ad from last week's New York Times. Really the selling of virtual tourism is quite common in the developed world, and has been for a long time. Beginning really in the 1920s, retailers regularly offered customers easily consumed cardboard cuts outs of Paris, Venice, and Tahiti. But what they were really selling, and what Starbucks continues to sell, is a combination of emulation and safety.
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