This week Starbucks announced changes to their rewards program. What does it mean?
Don’t worry. I’m here to break it down brevity-style. No, not breve. Starbucks “baristas” don’t know that word.
Why the change? According to Starbucks Newsroom official website it was done “based on the #1 customer request” to have more stars. In other words, you asked for this. Look what you made us do!
In the way back I’d heard about Starbucks stars. I drank there when it was in my face and I wanted coffee so I enthusiastically figured, “What the hell?” I signed up and gave it a try.
The new gold card’s here! The new gold card’s here! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this card every day! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity, your name in print, that makes people. I’m in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.
I walked confidently into the corner coffee shop. I got in line and waited a quarter hour. Finally it was my turn. I cleverly placed my order. “I’ll have a chestnut praline latte with a twist. Shaken, not stirred. Make it a grande.” I whipped the gold card out of my camouflage wallet and presented it to the barista. Light from the trendy overhead track lighting reflected and momentarily blinded her. “The name’s Taker. Tom B. Taker.”
Several women in the vicinity immediately swooned and removed their tops. Decisions, decisions.
Continue reading →
Ooh, goodie. Starbucks fucked up. And now I get to write about it. Coffee and blogging are both trendy, right? Here I come along to daringly fuse the two. I’m calling this particular roast Blend Over.
Long story short, on the top of my blog somewhere it says, “Product Reviews.” On that page you’ll find this nugget of wisdom:
Send me your shit. And I’ll tell the world how it sucks. For free. I promise to be honest and fair and completely impartial.
–Tom B. Taker
Completely impartial. Right. That’s because we all know I can’t be bought.
The other day I opened my mailbox and what did I find? A free bag of something called Starbucks Blonde. To get really excited, I’d hope that was at least the name of a porn star, but sadly it was merely yet another flavor of coffee. Yeah, the world needs 4,242 flavors of call, each with its own distinct flavor and character. Yeah, right.
And now for my review.
Continue reading →
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
… 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.
Not too long ago I “won” some Starbucks VIA instant coffee. My wife entered us in a “contest” and we received a call we had won something. We drove 30 miles to the nearest Starbucks and learned our prize was three individual packets of something called Starbucks VIA. I estimated we spent about $8 in gas to get our prize worth a couple of bucks. This is why I don’t like winning things.
So what is this VIA stuff, anyway? It is instant coffee. Never in danger of not hyping their own stuff, Starbucks praise for their own product is legendary. “Full Starbucks flavor in an instant,” their web site promises. Flavor that’s just so yummingly good that you’ll put it in recipes like “shakes, cakes and even steaks.” Shakes and cakes sounds standard enough but steaks? Now they’ve gone too far!
With temperatures at the office hovering around 14 degrees, I finally relented and broke into my cache of winnings and made myself a cup. Here are my impressions.
It’s instant coffee. Meh. No orgasm in my mouth or anything like that. As far as I could tell it was fairly okay as far as instant coffees go. It is worth 83 cents a serving? (A box of 12 packets is $9.95.) Meh. That seems a little high.
The packets themselves are oh-s0-super-trendy but somewhat annoying. I can’t see any reason for the odds shaped packaging except for trendiness and wanting to be oh-so-different than everyone else. The most annoying thing, though, is that every single time I’ve tried this stuff, the product has what I can only describe as “static cling” and does not easily pour out of the packet. I have to tap it and dig at it with a utensil as the product stubbornly clings to the packaging as if screaming, “I’m not ready to be boiled in hot liquid yet!!”
I’m not sure I grok the name “VIA,” either. What kind of name is that for coffee? Why not InstaBucks or something like that? :p
So there it is. Yet another useful and romantic product review.
Wow. Are things going my way or what?
First I received a $20 gift card to Starbucks from my mom. It’s the thought that counts, right? Even though I’m not that into coffee and the nearest Starbucks is 30 miles away.
So I decided to take Mrs. Abyss on the trip and make a date out of it. (The gory details of that excursion are documented here.)
While there the “barista” talked me into getting a 12-pack of Starbuck’s “VIA” instant coffee. Two fancy trendy coffee drinks and some instant coffee – POOF! My gift card was shot.
The “barista” also talked me into entering their contest. I normally don’t fall for that, but this time, what the hell. I gave in. Lo’ and behold, a week later I get a phone call and I was informed I had won a prize! Woot. That never happens to me. But, like an idiot I failed to ask what I had won.
So we make the 30 mile trip to get the “prize.” Can you guess? Yep, it was three individual packets of VIA. A retail value of about $2 bucks. I figure I spent about four times that amount on gas so my prize cost me about $6. 🙂
Today at the grocery store, though, I actually won a real price. The checker asked my name and then broadcast on the store’s PA system, “Congratulations to Tom who just won $20.” I was so stunned I voided by bowels. (Woot for the “poop” tag.)
Lastly, an honorable mention for site traffic yesterday. My “Sarah Palin is a liar” post got hit by a troll and I set a new all-time traffic record. In fact, my previous record was tripled in a single day. Something seems askew with that. I think WordPress must be counting “views” as multiple visits from the same two people who were bantering in that post. Apparently visitors are not tracked by “sessions” so repeat visits keep adding up on my little stats graph. Still, I’ll take it and call it a “mini-win.”
Woot. Look at me. I’m a winner!