Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not all Starbucks are created equal

Just back from Blog Friends Fest, and everyone is writing such lovely recap posts. I did, in fact write a nice post about it, and you can read it here. Or here. But I've got a bee in my bonnet, and I need to let it out.

Mr Earth calls me a "glommer". I glom on to insignificant, ultimately unimportant details, and my head just keeps spinning that one little tiny fact around and around. There's a lot of space in my head, and the little factoids have plenty of room to move. Heck, they could do a line dance in there. Anywho..I thought I would do a heretofore uncharacteristic purge of the glom so I could move on to mulling over the fabulous time I had this weekend.

Saturday morning, 9am.

I've been up for hours. The Little Guy is not such a big fan of sleep. I've fed him and pumped milk for his cereal. I went down to the fitness centre and used the treadmill amongst a couple of older, muscle-bound men. Strong, silent types. I wisely kept to myself and watched the early risers in the pool. I went back to the room and had a shower. I knew that I would need coffee before the session. So I took my book and myself over to the Starbucks across from the Hilton. (Note: this is why I have coolest husband in the West End - he let me have coffee and reading time BY MYSELF. He knows the way to my heart, he does.)

I haven't had breakfast yet, and I don't know what, if any, food will be at the meeting. (As it turns out, there was food and it was so expensive we should have gotten a lap dance along with it for the price..) So I check out what this Starbucks has to offer. Despite my sweet tooth, I prefer healthy-ish breakfast, so I pass by all the pastries, and opt for the only somewhat healthier muffin. They have a bran muffin, but I only like bran muffins if there's fruit in it. This one looks barren. I look around for someone to ask, but everyone is ignoring me, eventhough I'm the only one in line. Finally, a barista finishes her coffee and approaches the desk. So I ask:

"Does that bran muffin have fruit in it or is it just bran?"

"Um, I think it might have raisins in it."

Another barista comes over and says, "No, it's just plain. No raisins."

"Oh, um, er..." I reply, my face scrunching in indecision.

The second barista opens the case and starts taking out a bran muffin.

"Oh, I'm not sure what I want yet thanks." Why she couldn't see that, I don't know.

She throws the muffin back down in the bin, slams the case shut and walks away. A little taken aback, I quickly choose a banana muffin and a Grande NonFat Bold Misto.

The other barista says, "That'll be $7.01."

I stare at her blanky. "How much was the Misto?"


"How much was the muffin?"


I stare confusedly. This is the same order I get every weekend after my run. I only take a five dollar bill with me, and I usually have change left over.

The sulky barista comes back from her tantrum and volunteers, "This is not a corporate Starbucks."

I turn to the other barista to clarify, "So it's more expensive."

"Pretty much," she offers sheepishly.

I was floored. I've never heard of a renegade Starbucks with the ability to charge whatever they so desire. They are a Starbucks. They are using the logo. As far as I'm concerned, they are therefore bound by practices of all Starbucks. Aren't they?

Of course, I had already ordered and the drink was made, so it was too late to walk away. I coughed up the money reluctantly, and went to sit down to enjoy my VERY EXPENSIVE coffee and a muffin. Be sure that I was going to eat every last crumb and drain the cup to the dregs. But it left a bad taste in my mouth.

We were going to stop at Starbucks on our way out of town, but opted for Tim Hortons instead. If you're in Niagara and want a coffee, I suggest you do the same. Unless you've got money to burn.


bren j. said...

That's fishy. Just dang fishy.

We were at a Starbucks once in my hometown and the barista flat out refused to blend my drink because it had soy in it. "We can't do that because it'll wreck the machine." This after I had been told barely two weeks earlier that Starbucks has some sort of policy that, loosely translated, says 'If the customer asks for it, you make it; no questions.'

Plus, every other Starbucks I've been to will make it for me. I do like me some Starbucks, but they can just be so damn snotty sometimes. ARGH!

SciFi Dad said...

You know who you should have called? The Hammer.

The Hammer would have used The Hammer on them. And The Hammer isn't his fists.

kittenpie said...

I was pretty surprised when you mentioned that... Have you asked Starbucks about it? Liek a real one here, or maybe on the website? You might just get coupons or something.

mamatulip said...

That's Niagara Falls for you. It's ridiculous how jacked up the prices are there.

sam said...

Hahaha renegade Starbucks. Now I've heard everything!

Ya, they can just 'lease' the name and pretty well do whatever they please. Tourism and coffee shops are a deadly combination!

kgirl said...

Starbucks totally pissed me off this week too! Do you know that, despite the fact that from what I can see, pregnant, nursing or otherwise MOMS make up at least 50 per cent of their daytime clientelle, they have stopped serving decaf frappucinos! Fuckers!

Kyla said...

That is so crappy! I'm irate for you. I always get peeved when I get coffee in Barnes and Noble and pull out my Starbucks card and they say "Oh, we're not REALLY Starbucks. We just brew their coffee. No gift cards!" Ripoff. But at least the prices are the same.

Lisa b said...

What the hell?

um you went for a run in the morning? I am SO lazy.

cinnamon gurl said...

I'm a glommer too. And those prices are nuts! I would totally expect that all Starbuck's would have the same pricing.

metro mama said...

Everywhere was such a rip-off in NF!

b*babbler said...

I glom on to details like that too...

And seriously, how DARE you decide you might not want a muffin with raisins in it. How DARE YOU?!

You'll just take the overpriced muffin they give you and LIKE it, damnit! :)

Ali said...

i heard somewhere that the starbucks in Niagara Falls are the most expensive ones in North America!!

Erin said...

Renegade Starbucks? Really? That just isn't right.

womaninawindow said...

It's the principle. The PRINCIPLE! Five bucks is already enough and what's up with the slamming of the muffin door. Man, what's up with people? How about a smile and an explanation?

Don Mills Diva said...

That would irritate the crap outta me.

Timmy's forever!

Urban Daddy said...

Oh, I would totally complain. There is no way. Impossible. They put so much effort into their brand, I cannot imagine Starbucks allowing someone to become a "renegade" store. Uh uh.

What I find interesting as I get annoyed for you too, is that Tim Horton's, for example, is the same price in Toronto as it is in, for example, the Air Canada Centre when the Leafs, Raptors and Rock play. I suspect it is the same in Niagara "Overpriced for low quality" Falls.

Complain, complain, complain!

I would so have gone for a run if we had more time in the am before Maid of the Mist, or if the kids slept well... LOL. Good for you.

Mandy said...

The only "renegade" Starbucks I know of are the ones in the airports... I only found that out because, oh so conveniently, they won't take a Starbucks card.

Frankly, I think Starbucks charges way too much for what has become mediocre coffee. Out here in the land of the coffee snobs (I mean West Coast), we go to local chains like Delaney's or Cafe Artigiano. There's a whole hierarchy thing going on. Sometimes I need a coffee just to keep my brain straight around it all! :)