Tag Archives: postcard

A birthday present

Cherry Petals vs. Starbucks Cup

This coulda been my cup!

The “present” in the post title does not refer to a gift, although this post is about one. No, it refers to a time period as in: past, present, future.

Once upon a time I received the gift of a Starbucks gift card. It was a thoughtful gift even though the nearest Starbucks is something like 40 miles away from my small hometown.

In the course of owning that card, I ended up creating an account on the Starbucks web site. The purpose of which was to determine the balance remaining on the card.

During that exercise I provided Starbucks with certain information about myself, one of which was the date of my birth.

Normally it is usually something pleasant to receive a birthday gift. Starbucks was able to turn it into something else. Read on to learn how.

I received, in the mail, a postcard from Starbucks. They were giving me a “FREE DRINK” for my birthday. How nice. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.

That feeling wore off soon enough.

I now read from the Postcard of Starbucks:

You know us. We’d never miss a birthday.

We noticed your Star was shining brighter the other day. Must be time to celebrate your birthday.

Actually, this feels a bit creepy. I don’t really know you that well. Are you level jumping our relationship?

And WTF? My “star?” Just what are you implying about me? And why the hell is the word “Star” capitalized? Is this Star some sort of god in the realm of Starbucks? “Hail, mortals! Gaze thine eyes upon Bean, Venti and Star. The holy trinity of Starbucks!”

Meh. So I carefully read the card, not wanting any surprises prior to making the 40-mile drive in an attempt to redeem it. If I drove 40 miles only to be denied, there could be, as Robocop used to say, “trouble.”

Present this postcard for a FREE DRINK.
(We’ll make you any drink you like.)

That sounds good enough. All things being equal I’m actually a fairly reasonable fellow. True, I recently gave up coffee, but how could I expect you to know that? After all, we barely know each other. I’m sure I’ll find something you make that I can drink. Maybe a hot cocoa?

But then came the moment I always expect. The moment when expectations are flushed down the toilet. I continued to read on, this time scrutinizing the tinyest print found anywhere on the card:

Pardon us while we cover our bases.
–Thus sayeth the postcard

Now wait one damn minute! What the hell kind of “gift” is this, anyway? What kind of friend comes up to you on your birthday and says, “Here’s a gift for ya, pall. Be sure to read the legalese before opening, though. I enclosed an End User License Agreement. I have to cover my ass, ya know? Nothing personal. Oh, and, before I forget – Happy Birthday!

With friends like that who needs enemies?

The wind was now completely out of my sails as I warily pressed on:

See expiration date on address block.
–Thus sayeth the postcard

And…

… must be cheerfully handed over at time of visit.
–Thus sayeth the postcard

Well played, Starbucks. Well played! If the expiration date didn’t get me the “cheerful” clause was there to guarantee that my attempt at redemption would fail. We all know I can’t pass any sort of damn cheerful clause!

And who in the hell gives a birthday gift with an expiration date?

I checked the date. I looked at the card. Yep, the date had already passed. I was no longer holding a “gift” in my hands. Due to the passage of two weeks of time I was holding nothing more interesting than a piece of Starbucks advertising. Two weeks expiration from the date of the birthday seems like a very narrow window indeed.

“Here’s a gift for ya, pal. No matter how inconvenient this might be, haul your ass to our store (40 miles away) and within the next two weeks – or you get nothing! Also, while you’re there, you might as well buy a bunch of our magnificent shit for top dollar.”

Well happy motherfucking birthday to me!

Starbucks had literally given me a present that could only be used in the present.

Thanks a lot, Starbucks. Thanks for nothing. Thanks for doing the impossible and making my birthday somehow even less than I could ever possibly expect.