Why I Broke Up with Starbucks

Why I Broke Up with Starbucks

This story starts a long time ago, on an island far far away . . .

Starbucks and I started seeing each other on and off about 5 years ago.  I lived on a small Caribbean Island at the time and was involved with another coffee shop (the wonderful ‘Island Roots‘) but when I travelled, I would see Starbucks teasingly offering its delights to me wherever I went.  At the airport check in, during check in, in the departure lounge, by the gate, on the runway, in the galley of the plane, etc.

Inevitably I bucked under the attention that Starbucks lavished on me and we began hooking up whenever I was away from Island Roots – I’m not proud of it but Island Roots refused to go anywhere with me (it being a cafe).

About three years ago when I moved back to the UK and I broke things off with Island Roots, SB and I took our relationship to the next level – we’d meet up every day – sometimes twice a day.

We’d hang out, have a few laughs and life was good.  After about 6 months I felt comfortable enough to commit and got a loyalty card, SB reciprocated by giving me ‘Gold Status’, treating me to little gifts every-time I went in and generally making me feel loved.  An extra shot here, an upgrade there – what can I say, I felt special.

Unfortunately during this honeymoon period), there was always something that bothered me about ‘SB’, an itch I couldn’t scratch.  It probably should have been the fact that SB is all corporate, not a small local coffee shop – but I forgave it that.  Or perhaps the awful décor, that – when compared with a ‘Pret A Manger’ – makes it look like a 1980s McDonald’s – but I forgave that too.

The Problem

It was something far more insidious that crept up on me – SB had a problem.  It was something that I’d always known but steadfastly ignored but it grew and grew ‘like a splinter in my mind’.

While the coffee is fantastic, the staff are always happy & friendly (seriously – they are all great in my experience) and the service is good:

A photo from the SB website of a dry flavourless husk.

A photo from the SB website of a dry flavourless husk.

The food is bloody awful.

More than anything, its the croissants you see. Dam those croissants.

To me a croissant and a good coffee are two inextricably linked delights, each one raised up several levels by the other one, or in the case of Starbucks – dragged down.

It got worse when I realized that despite all the little treats I was getting, SB was charging me £1.50 for those dried up pastry husks where I can get two gloriously fresh Charentes butter ones from any city centre supermarket for £1.20.

It had to end and it did.

Who Am I Seeing Now?

I’m happy to say that Waitrose and I have been seeing each other for a couple of months and it’s going great.

Not only does it give me a free Cappuccino every day (yes – free, and its not bad) I can then buy two delicious croissants for £1.20, saving me £2.35 every single day and giving me a much nicer coffee/pastry combo.Charnetes-Butter-Croissants-Waitrose-crop

Would I Ever Go Back To Starbucks?

Probably if they sorted out the food and the prices but SB always was stubborn.

Another Suggestion: Buy Me A Coffee

I also suggested to them a couple of years ago that their developers should enable a ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ button for people to post on their websites and blogs – it could simply be added as a credit to loyalty cards.  It would be incredibly easy to do, would allow people to reward others for their help and would drive sales to Starbucks.  As a programmer, I’d love this because as everyone knows, caffeine is code in its raw, unprocessed form (code ‘ore’ if you will).

Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob is Director of Operations at Perfect Image, a full time father and husband, part-time tinkerer-with-wires, coder, Muay Thai practitioner, builder and cook. Loves love, tolerance and co-existance. Hates hate. Is aware of the irony of hating hate.

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