Shame on Starbucks

I’ve written about Starbucks before. It’s hard to order a cup of coffee there. I’m not a fan of the newest infusions of toppings and flavourings that make your coffee into cake. But I do go back for the one or two drinks that I like to enjoy.

Like most coffee places, Starbucks has a loyalty program for their customers. Use their card, get rewards. It wasn’t until a kind Starbucks employee suggested I use the card that I actually found out why *I* would want to use the card: the rewards make sense. There is the typical system of buy “x” number of coffees and get the next one free, but there is more. Not many of the perks applied to me, but I found out that you can get a free soy milk upgrade for your drink when you use your card. I am lactose intolerant, so soy milk is the only way I can have any kind of caffeine-hinted beverage.

The soy milk option is $0.60 per drink – which isn’t that cheap, and over time really adds up. It miffs me a little that soy milk and regular milk are not that much different in price at the grocery store, yet I am offsetting the cost of the soy milk by a lot each time I purchase it. If you want cold soy milk for your regular coffee, they just pass it to you from behind the counter. I guess I am paying for the heating/steaming of the milk more than anything.

Now, sadly, Starbucks is becoming like Facebook. Options are changing, without consultation, to the benefit of the corporation and not the consumer. I got an email highlighting the exciting new changes I will be able to enjoy while being a card member. Now I can use my free drink option on FOOD instead of just coffee. AND I get a free drink every 12th time, instead of every 15th. Not too shabby, I thought, even if I can’t eat anything in the store because of my food sensitivities.

I did remember to keep scrolling through the email. At the end of the email, in smaller font, were the real changes for me. No longer would they be offering a free coffee with every pound of coffee beans purchased — no biggie on my part. The very last item, however, does impact me: no more free soy milk upgrades.

My free soy milk ride is coming to a close. I will have to think more closely when I go to Starbucks now, card in hand or not. I will get one free drink for every 12 I order, but I’ll still be paying for that ‘free’ drink with all the soy milk I’ve had to buy.

I’m not sure it’s worth it, for me. Certainly I can make and froth my drink at home. I can’t espresso my coffee, or heat it as high, or froth my milk quite the same way. It’s still coffee, but it’s not available during the day while I’m at work. But if I don’t go to Starbucks, like Facebook, what are my options?

*Have you given up on coffee because prices got too high? Did you change your palate and drink a different kind of coffee?

*Have you ever taken a Facebook-holiday and not logged on?


21 thoughts on “Shame on Starbucks

  1. I used to love Starbucks when I lived in the Kootenays and there was not one Starbucks within a hundred kilometres. Then when I returned to University and there was a location literally everywhere (eight locations in the city I was learning in) I discovered that I didn’t like the cost, didn’t particularly enjoy the burnt tasting coffee and that the ambiance I had previously enjoyed was cleverly crafted to part me from my money I became less enamoured. I made a conscious decision to not partake of the experience. I made my own coffee using beans I purchased from a local source (now I have beans from Germany that a friend sends me) and a French Press. It is boiling water, strong unburnt coffee and with the purchase of a decent metal thermos type thingie it is extremely portable. And I like the coffee a lot better!

    • The novelty of something often adds a lot to its allure. I agree that when Starbucks being ever-present everywhere, it was less of a ‘treat’ and more of the norm.
      I also make my own coffee beverages at home, and its not burnt-tasting.

  2. i’ve definitely cut back on starbucks because it’s just too much $$. i bought a little bialetti stovetop espresso maker to fuel my addiction, and it works quite nicely! also purchased a mini frother thing at ikea for about $4. soy latte complete!

    • My stovetop recently blew up on me, so I’m back to the Bodum. It works fine — I’m not a connoisseur that it would make that much of a difference to me.
      I just like to get out sometimes.

  3. I’ve never really been a Starbucks fan, and although I used to drink coffee by the gallons I can’t take the caffein anymore. I am stepping away more and more from my facebook profile though – I nearly deactivated my profile for good but I need it to keep a “fan page”. :/

  4. I’m not a coffee drinker so I rarely go to Starbucks. And I love regular milk, so I can’t chime in there either. I do regularly take Facebook holidays, though. It can be such a waste of time. I try to stay off my computer as much as I can on the weekends, too. I spend more time reading and am always amazed at how much more time I have when I don’t spend that time on the computer.

    • I actually only drink de-caf and only started about a month ago when my energy levels slumped from over-training. (Go figure, I needed a pick-me-up).
      I’m also amazed how much more time I have when I stay away from the computer. I just find I’m drawn to it less some days and those days I actually feel like I can have a somewhat productive evening. Nice to have the change of pace.

  5. I’ve cut way back on my Starbucks consumption because of price, and the reward changes mean I am cutting back even more. I have also been going to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf way more since their coffee is better and I am super annoyed at having the rewards change. Doesn’t anyone learn from the whole Netflix fiasco? Just leave things alone when people are happy with how they are (I’m talking to you Mark Zuckerberg).

    • I hope Zuckerberg is listening. It’s strange how changes get implemented and then people simply say that you will get used to it over time, even if you don’t like it. (I resisted the new Timeline forever). You do get used to things, but that’s not always a good thing.
      Good point about the rewards program changes leading you to cutting back even more. That may be my case as well.

      • Yeah definitely, I am a huge fan of the white chocolate energy drinks they have in the can.. They are a little bit cheaper than the iced coffees, but who knows how many chemicals are in them o_o

  6. Coffee is my drug of choice so like a crackhead, I’ll do just about anything to get it. Short of selling a kidney, I will pay whatever they want to get some of that black loveliness.

  7. Starbucks has become so ridiculously over-priced and quite frankly, I don’t even find their drinks that tasty anymore. I’ve become addicted to this particular brand of instant coffee that costs WAY less and tastes better in my opinion (perhaps the fact that it costs way less has something to do with it =P). I used to be such a snob towards instant coffee but I’m totally hooked.

    • Ha ha, instant coffee! I love it. It’s all in our perception what we value, and what we *give* value.
      We can have a different experience and still enjoy ourselves. Perhaps you are starting a new trend. 😉

  8. I’m definitely more addicted to FB than Starbucks. I have tried to go a day without logging in and found it difficult. Although, thankfully, Twitter is easing me off of it. I enjoy the newsfeed I’ve set up on Twitter and find hearing about world events more enriching than my FB friends’ updates re: little Susie’s soccer league and the latest pumpkin carving contest. Starbucks deters me for a handful of reasons, not the least of which being, for the price they charge for soy milk, I could have fricking Irish Whiskey added. And you hit the nail on the head re: cake. I love those sweet flavors, but no, no, no I refuse to get fat. Full stop. The main reason I avoid Starbucks is because people like Sima and Hamid deserve our business: .
    Thanks for a fun post.

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