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?