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.
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:
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.
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).