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Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2007 at 10:54 am

Too Much Foam in Starbucks’ Pricing

By Melissa Burdon
July 24th, 2007

starbucks_foam.jpgI just got back from my daily trip to Starbucks (SBUX). They recently installed a drive-thru window at the one near my house, so I’m pretty excited. Generally speaking, I’m not a lazy person — but time is money, my friends!

So, here’s the deal. I order the same thing every day; a tall, iced chocolate milk with a shot of almond flavor. (I know, pretty lame.) Some days, they charge me $2.91 and some days, they charge me $2.59. Initially, I just felt lucky on the $2.59 days but now when I’m charged $2.91, I cause a stink because I feel that they’re overcharging me and their inconsistency makes me feel like I’m getting ripped off.

Perhaps some of the servers have just been nice by charging me less, or perhaps they have inconsistencies in what they charge for different products. It isn’t the $0.32 that makes me frustrated — as though I’m too cheap or can’t afford to pay an extra few cents — it simply makes me feel like I’m being taken advantage of.

When we receive a piece of customer service, whether it be a nicer greeting or a discounted price, we expect this treatment consistently.

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Comments (6)

  1. I am always amazed that people buy any coffee from Starbucks -its totally awfull – how depressing that your choice for coffee is Starbucks -there is a whole world out there with coffee that is drinkable – and with a reasonable price!

  2. According to a Starbucks junkie friend of mine, some days they may just be too “lazy” to charge for the syrup, or they just want to be nice. He says he sometimes gets coffee for free, but he also goes there enough that the whole crew greets him by name.

  3. Andrew-you’re right, there are a lot of drinkable coffee, but you forget that the success of Starbucks is from their changing people’s view of coffee. They have somehow taken coffee from a bland necessity to a luxurious experience.

  4. I think Starbucks have done a great job. I just don’t think they kept on top of it and others are now leading the coffee craze.

    Love coffee and drink way to much.

  5. Nothing lame about an iced chocolate! Besides, starbucks do a pretty good iced chocolate. Id agree with Reuben that the difference in charging probably arises from the extra for syrup, but still, inconsistencies like that are never great for a customers experience!

  6. I know this is like 3 years later, but I have to round it out for anyone who just randomly stumbled upon this:

    What probably happened here was an inconsistency in whatever extra additive this blogger requested.

    For example, adding another syrup or another espresso shot would result in a few more cents.

    So the writer doesn’t actually have a reason to be angry; getting ripped off has nothing to do with it. It’s probably just a lack of knowledge on the barista’s part to add (or not add) to the order.

    A simple way of remedying this would’ve just been to ask for the receipt instead of being confrontational. If the receipt matches your drink as requested, then that is the legitimate price. If not, it may not be. It’s that simple.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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