Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How many stars for a cup of coffee?

" In the long run, perhaps there will be an entire ecosystem built around Starbucks Rewards. " Forbes - Yet Another Starbucks Loyalty Miscue?
125, is the answer. Who has pockets that big? Do I have to count them all out when I want a cup of coffee? Are there star denominations? That would make them a helluva lot easier to carry around.

Listen, if I don't have my cup of coffee there's no way I can even count to 125 and unless Starbucks fixes its website, I'll never know how many I have. (Starbucks isn't keen to tell you how many stars you have lest you decide not to accumulate more stars than absolutely necessary.) And, now, if you don't earn stars fast enough they'll expire, just like real stars, making it really tough to keep track of them all.

Beginning in April, you'll have to accumulate 125 stars for a cup of coffee before they start to expire - which is after six months. At $0.50 per star, that's a minimum of $62.50 - or $125 per year. For. A. Cup. Of. Coffee.

But that's only for people who have earned 300 stars in a year ($150). To recap, you have to spend $150 just to be eligible to spend another $62.50 to earn a free cup of coffee. But once you've earned 300 stars, you can keep spending $62.50 per cup of coffee as long as you continue to spend $150/year. Otherwise, you have to start over. And, what of those expiring stars? How does a person keep 300 stars in one's pocket if there's a whole in the bottom of it?

If you already have stars in your pocket, they will be re-valued at 11 each. But, in six months, they'll be valued at 0. Try to keep up.

Does anyone remember punch cards - get your card punched 12 times and you can cash it in for a free cup of joe? Seemed a lot easier. And, in my mind, it created the habit of stopping in and buying something. But, apparently, I'm not buying enough.

I was in a Starbucks recently, not far from the original store. It had no chairs but it had a lot of power strips. Message: you can use our wifi for free as long as you don't stay long.

And, starting in April, as long as you spend a lot of money while you're standing there.

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