Father. Geek. Foodie. Entrepreneur.

Five Reasons Why It's Hard to Hate Starbucks

Lately, my favourite place to hang out and do work isn't in my office. Despite the fact that it has everything that I need and more, I seem to have found myself gravitating to the busier atmosphere of the local coffee shop. I guess it gives me that bit of nostalgia, like I'm back in the rat race or something. I'll grab my cup of "whatever I'm feeling like today" and spend at least a couple hours (or until the 6 hrs of battery on my ASUS U1F) hanging out and leaching off the WiFi, while listening to other people's conversations like the lunch room gossip. I also tend tp spend money on high margin snacks while I'm there during that time frame since I've gotta eat when my brain is doing stuff.

I guess the evil coffee kingdom of Starbucks clued in on this work habit of hanging out longer and spending a few more dollars. Although I'm not a fan of Starbucks Coffee in general, opting for smaller, much cooler hang outs, the Seattle Java Giant has just made it harder to reject them and their burnt beans (though their light roast has improved lately). Starbucks recently launched a whole series of rewards tied directly to their gift cards. When you register your gift card at their website, you get to take advantage of a whole bunch of freebies which include...

  • Free Beverage Customizations - If you want a flavour shot or a switch to soy in your beverage, it's free when you use your Starbucks Gift Card to purchase the drink. Perfect for taking off the edge off the edge on those burnt beans.
  • Free Refills on Brewed Coffee - When you purchase a brewed coffee with your Starbucks Gift Card, you get free refills on all brewed coffees. This includes iced or hot. This is good if you like their coffee, but when it's cold and slightly watered down, it ain't so bad. You can also go to town on milk and sugar if you have to. Since you're downing that much coffee, you'll need to have more snacks. So evil. I do wonder if the said perpetual fill ups work during your visit, or if you can just come back through out the day with your cup like we used to do in the good old days at MacDonalds.
  • Free Tall Beverage With the Purchase of a Pound of Coffee - When you buy their burnt beans, you get a free tall drink of your choice. Just offer to buy beans for your buddies and cash in on a free drink if you don't use their coffee. I'm sure a Hot Chocolate or something would be nice on a cold day.
  • Two Hours of Free WiFi Every Day - Whether you purchase a drink or not, you'll get free WiFi at any Starbucks with a Hot Spot. You get two hours each day by just by registering that gift card, which you should have done already to be able to get the above three things.

Finally, all of these bribes are available to you whether you are in the US or in Canada. Your gift card gets registered for North America and you'll be able to leach off the WiFi in the US or in Canada. What I should do one day is login for two hours at a Canadian Starbucks, then cross the border and login for two hours in a US Starbucks to see if I can double dip on the Interwebs. The only catch is that your card must have a balance and you need to use it at least once a month. Since Starbucks seem to outnumber cool coffee shops with stable WiFi, it makes the 'bucks, that much harder to ignore. Also, their Internet seems extremely fast at least at the locations that I've been too.

The only hitch that you may run into is that some locations may not be fully aware of these benefits. I went to the busy Pinetree Location in Coquitlam, and they had no clue that it was tied to their gift cards and tried to get me to sign up for their Duetto Credit Card. Also, not all stores have a WiFi HotSpot so make sure you look on the door before you sit down and enjoy that whatever you ordered. This is especially true of new locations. I went to the one beside the new Thrifty Foods in Port Moody near IOCO Road and they were FAIL on the Interwebs. Not to mention, not everyone reads the memos so if you get some part time dude or dudette, they might not know that you get all this free stuff and you might have to jump through a couple hoops initially.

Another thing I found out, for all you K-12 teachers, is that every Monday, you guys can grab a free coffee at any Starbucks in Canada, whether you use the card or not. I'm not sure if that applies to the educators of the young in the US, but I'm sure they get something similar. Though I do wonder if you get the pertual fill ups. Someone try that and let me know 😉

It's hard to reject Starbucks when they bribe you this much. If they're throwing this much stuff out there free, I wonder what else they'll toss at us to get us to not go to the cooler place down the street.



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