Friday, July 17, 2009

So a Starbucks is not a Starbucks when....what?

So Starbucks is testing new names in Seattle because....why? Because they've already lost their way, and lost thousands of customers along the way?

I am one of your lost customers, Starbucks. And offering me a free breakfast pastry on July 21 isn't going to do it.

I am not a coffee addict. I can get up in the morning without a jolt of $3.75 coffee. In fact, I find the Starbucks non-flavored coffee experience to be way too bitter.

My Starbucks purchase habits were certainly not the norm. Spouse and I used to go for exercise walks when my son was younger and time by ourselves was much more limited. If we had a sitter or son was at an activity we did not need to be at, we would do our walk on the walking trail, and then go to Starbucks for a "date". It was nice to buy a fancy coffee drink, sit at a table, and just talk. The atmosphere was somewhat quiet - the Starbucks here aren't super-crowded the way the ones in Midtown Manhattan (for example) are.

Then....I can't quite put my finger on it, but it wasn't just the price increases. There was nothing special about Starbucks anymore. Everything there just seemed overpriced. And the new products like Green Tea Frappuchino and some kind of hot chocolate that was more like chocolate mud (and I'm a chocoholic!) didn't inspire me to try anything new.

After a while, we just stopped going. I have not been in a Starbucks in years.

OK Starbucks, I realize I was not your typical customer. I will give you an "A" for effort but seriously, look at some of your failures. (not the most recent list, but nicely illustrated).

Then there was the little side story of Starbucks and the Clover coffee machine (only $11,000. per.) Apparently (I am taking this from second hand sources) Starbucks bought this machine up so no one else could use it (going forward) but so far they are only offering this allegedly special coffee in four general locations. The closest to us would be Boston/Rhode Island.

Sorry, Starbucks, you are going to have to do better than that. In the meantime, we will be buying our "to go" coffee in the local convenience store, in our local supermarket's coffee bar, or...horrors...McDonalds. (It's good. No atmosphere, but the price is right.)

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