Monday, October 31, 2011

Starbucks and the Free Coffee

I'm not a Starbucks frequenter.  I don't drink much coffee and I just can't see spending $3-$4 on a cup of coffee every day.  I do however treat myself about once a month usually due to traveling and wanting something delicious and warm to drink.  Either I'm on my way to my knitting meeting in the bay area or this month I was in Portland.  My friend had JUST moved into her house and wasn't set up for any real food prep in her house.  So, she asked where I wanted to go for breakfast the next day and I suggested Starbucks.  They are close and I love their Maple Oat Pecan scones.  Once we got there I ordered my usual a Grande Decaf Latte.  Then I changed my mind and bought a Dark Cherry Yogurt Parfait to go with it.

Now I'm down at the "wait for your coffee" shelf.  I'm waiting.  I'm waiting.  I realize that I forgot to order a Pumpkin Latte.  I'm waiting.  Now people who have walked in the door long after me are getting their coffee.  So, I ask the Barrista, "Any Grande Decaf Lattes coming down the pike?."  He says no.  Then he asks me if he can make me one.  I say yes and add, "Since it hasn't been made make it a Pumpkin Decaf Latte please and I'll pay the difference."  He tells me don't worry about it.  I'll make it for you.  Then when he slides the coffee to me he slides a coupon for a free coffee and apologizes for the mix up.  Wow I think that's pretty nice.  I got my Pumpkin Latte and a free future Latte.

I come back home and forget all about the coupon in my purse.  I had an encounter with my daughter's school front office crabby lady.  It's nothing new she's always crabby, but she runs a tight ship and gets the job done.  I can always count on her to help on those rare occasions I need it.  This particular day she flat out tells me she's having a bad day even though her crabbiness didn't seems any worse than usual.  After leaving the office I felt like I should get her a pick-me-up.  I decided to anonymously give her a Starbucks gift card.  Off to Starbucks I go.

I ordered myself a Pumpkin Decaf Latte, one $20 gift card and a $20 reload on my coffee card.  The cashier pushes the cash button instead of ATM and now he's got a problem he can't fix.  I'm smiling and joking with him and then the manager as they try and figure out how to remedy the situation.  Once the manager gets it all worked out it took probably 10 minutes.  He, I thought, forgot to ring up my Latte and I point that out.  I like to help out cashiers; after all, I'm there to buy a cup of coffee not steal one.  He says, "Oh I'm not charging you for the cup of coffee you're a really nice lady and I really appreciate your patience."  Earlier in the transaction the first cashier had given me my "sorry for the trouble" coupon.  I tried to give this back and the manager would not let me.  So, now I've received 2 coupons from Starbucks.  I leave with my free Latte and great feeling that I'm a valued customer.

Today, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  I had a hard time sleeping last night.  I'm just generally feeling cranky on my rounds of errands this morning.  I decided to cash in one of my coupons and treat myself to a Latte.  And BTW their Dark Cherry Yogurt Parfaits are so good I wanted to get another one of those for my lunch.  As I walk up to the cashier the guy in front of me orders 42 $20 gift cards.

"Are you kidding me," is what I'm thinking.  It's really OK though he was in line before me and I'm just going to have to wait.  The manager and cashier are counting cards and asking what kind of card does he want... this picture or a generic card.  Now he wants the cards rung up in 2 separate orders.  I'm keeping my crabbiness to myself, but I'm thinking really they couldn't open up the 2nd cash register?  The barista takes my drink order.  After some more fiddling around with the 42 gift cards my barista is loosing patience that I'm having to wait.  I tell her really it's OK.  She tries to open the 2nd cash register, but apparently there is an ongoing problem with her employee number.  They haven't been able to get it to work.  The barista/cashier, assistant manager and now the manager are trying to figure out why her employee number doesn't work and she has to use the generic number when she rings anything up.  The 3 of them are huddle around the cash register.  The other cashier is loading 42 gift cards on the other register.  Honestly, as crabby as I feel I'm very patient about this whole thing.  What am I going to do?  Her employee number I'm sure is an important part of doing business.  15 minutes has past.  She now can ring up my order.  Only my Parfait is rung up and I'm thinking that's because I used a coffee coupon.  She then hands me my receipt and my coupon back saying, "Please keep the coupon for another day.  I apologize for your trouble.  Thank you for your patience."  I can't believe it.  That is 5 free Starbucks drinks in a 3 week period.  Now I've only drank 3 of them.  The other 2 are in my purse waiting to be enjoyed.

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