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IMAG1192 Treat receipt signageThe annual Starbucks treat receipt returns, starting today. The way the treat receipt works is that you go to Starbucks before noon, hang on to your morning receipt, and then return the same afternoon and get a Grande-size cold/ iced beverage for $2.00.

The “Treat Receipt” was first introduced as a summer promotion, August 2008 in response to MyStarbucksIdea.com feedback that customers wanted more value. It’s returned to Starbucks every summer since then.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that I get asked many of the same questions about the treat receipt, so I’ll try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions here:

  • Do you really have to hang onto your receipt from that morning to take advantage of the treat receipt? Yes, you must present a receipt from earlier in the day.
  • Does it matter what you purchase in the morning? No, any purchase works.
  • Do I have to return to the exact same store where I got the morning treat receipt? You can go to any participating Starbucks in the afternoon. It doesn’t have to be the same one as your morning Starbucks visit.
  • Do all stores participate? At a minimum, all company-operated Starbucks locations will be participating. It’s possible that not all licensed locations will be participating in this treat receipt promotion.
  • Is there a treat receipt in Canada? Yes. However, I believe the Starbucks Canada treat receipt promotion dates are July 14th through August 10th.
  • Can I get a Frappuccino with my treat receipt? Sure! Any cold beverage.

There’s one more promotion that I want to tell you about: 20% off packaged coffee in Starbucks stores, July 24th through July 30th.  This promotion is only open to MyStarbucksRewards members. You don’t have to be any particular level of MyStarbucksRewards: Welcome, Green, and Gold Levels all can participate. You must pay for your purchase using a Starbucks card (or registered Teavana or Evolution Fresh cards, which are also Starbucks cards). This promo limits you to only two Starbucks packaged coffee items during the promotional period, and no more than one item per transaction. In other words, if a customer buy 3 pounds of Verona in one transaction, only one item would be 20% off. If a customer purchases three pounds of Verona at three different times, only two items will be 20% off, and all other packaged coffee items will be full price. Customers can use this perk for things like Verismo pods, whole bean coffees, K-Cups, and Starbucks Via Ready Brew coffee.

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Barista Promise Cups3ABe on the look out for new Starbucks white paper cups! The new version of the iconic white Starbucks hot-beverage cup will include the Barista Promise on it. The cups say on them, “Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right.” I think it’s a nice addition to the cups! What a great way to affirm the Barista Promise – put it right on the cups! These new cups will slowly be phased into stores around you. As your local store runs out of the classic white cups, they’ll be replenished with the new Barista Promise white cups.

I think Starbucks has placed a refreshed emphasis on your drink being perfect. I like that it’s backed up with in-store signage and on the cups both!

If you haven’t yet, you’ll soon see these cups in stores everywhere.

Barista Promise Cups2A


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A few days, I put out an inquiry on my blog’s Facebook page asking for people what they wanted to read on this StarbucksMelody blog. I did receive a number of interesting replies. One person wanted me to talk about the difference between the Teavana and the Tazo teas. Another person emailed me with a really great idea about talking about “Starbucks families” where children of Starbucks partners go work at Starbucks.

I received this email from a partner, entitled “What Customers Mean to Me.” The author of the email stated that I could edit it as necessarily, as she modestly stated “I’m not a writer.” I’m not going to edit, except to remove the partner’s date of hire. I was touched by her words. I hope you are too:

Since my date of hire of xxxx xx, 2010 I have crossed paths with many different types of customers within the five stores I have worked and covered shifts at. I have chatted with a few and formed bonds and friendships with most but there is one out of all the past, present and future customers I will encounter that I will never forget. She came in at night every few weeks with her husband and they would sit and talk for a couple hours. They were always courteous and polite and we would often make small talk about how each other’s days went. I never truly got to spend more than the few minutes chatting with her. Over the course of the next couple months I watched her frame thin, her hair loss became more prominent than the week before and she began to don a ball cap and shirts or jewelry with pink ribbons. But every time she came in she always had a smile and would ask how I was feeling while I was pregnant and how my daughter was. Until one night I noticed she was having a hard time forcing a smile and her husband was very quiet. We didn’t make small talk that night but I knew something was up. I asked my shift to go on a ten and fetched a necklace from my car. To any other person this necklace was just a trinket and a small symbol of my love for God, but to me this necklace was the strength that pulled me through some of my weakest moments. This trinket was a life line that I had to share with a woman who needed a little extra love from a part time barista and the comfort and knowledge of God’s strength and love for his child. I sat and told the story of how it came to me when I needed it most and that it was my turn to pass it on to someone else. She and her husband thanked me through their tears and I headed off to get back to work. They hugged me once more before they left and a few short months later I was informed of Louise’s passing. I grieved as if it was the loss of a family member. It wasn’t until after Louise passed that I realized how much impact one person could have on you. How this person who started off as a customer that you hadn’t a clue about their life became a friend you looked forward to seeing and talking to for all of five minutes.

I love being a barista, not for the pay or the measly hours I get scheduled each week but for the relationships that develop from a few simple conversations. The family that grows bit by bit without all the drama and holiday dinners. :)

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It’s been in the news that a woman in Florida recently ordered a 60-shot Frappuccino using her MyStarbucksRewards reward. Here’s a link to one such news story:

Grub Street link.

Why is a 60-shot Frappuccino a bad idea at Starbucks?

Is it because she used a Lucky Dozen MyStarbucksReward for her beverage? I say absolutely not. Starbucks operates on the same scale in billions of profit as a small oil company. The rewards program is a huge benefit to them, for many reasons. It creates customer loyalty, creates an urgency to return to stores when money is pre-loaded on cards, creates cash flow, improves speed of service by people not having to count out their change at the register, makes it more likely that customers won’t notice price increases when paying with a card, creates brand prestige, improves frequency of visits, reduces marketing expense for trial of new products, and more. No barista should toss and turn at night over the expense of one Lucky Dozen free beverage. Even if it’s a $50 beverage. You wouldn’t be alarmed to find out that Shell Oil can afford to give out free gas now and then, and so it’s not the actual cost of the beverage.

Note that the recent Starbucks “beverage size clarification” statement makes no reference to form of payment. Even if the customer wanted to pay cash, the same beverage size policy is in place.

Is it because it’s wasteful – a 60-shot Frappuccino may go down the drain? That’s not it either. For the same rationale as above, as a corporation that makes billions and billions in profit, this one drink won’t make a dent in anything they do. And most customers won’t want to order such an undrinkable drink – they few times this happens is just completely de minimis to the function of the rewards.

Is it the publicity? That’s not it either. These news article do an amazing job of driving awareness of MyStarbucksRewards – something that can only benefit Starbucks, and reduces their marketing expense for awareness of the rewards program.

What about legal liability? This is a real issue. The cost of lawsuits and lawyers is way bigger than a $50 beverage. Damn you lawyers. Food and beverage retailers may be subject to tort claims when they sell a product that can be harmful to the consumer. While I don’t know anyone who has consumed a 60-shot beverage, I can only imagine, that’s going to cause a tummy ache. I think there is a real concern about customers getting sick from these extreme beverages. One way to control what a customer consumes is simply to limit the size of the cup a drink can go into. People love to sue big corporations. State law will vary from place to place on the fine details of this area of tort law, but generally, a food and beverage retailer can be held to “strict liability” for  their products. The concept is this: “One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user or consumer, or to his property.”

All of the above is just my opinion. I don’t have any special information why Starbucks has their beverage size policy. This is one of those articles where I fully expect people will disagree.However, I think you think about Starbucks like as if it were a Shell Oil or a bank or any other huge corporation, you’ll see that these isolated free beverages are trivial and it’s not the cost of the drink itself at issue. Lawsuits however, those are really expensive. If you choose to disagree in the comments, as always I will delete any comments that degenerate into name calling, baiting, or other general nastiness.

My only worry about all this is that when handsome workmen wearing work boots, and a hard hat under one arm, walk in at 7:00 AM with a 32-ounce thermos asking for brewed coffee in it, they’ll be told “no” they can’t do that. I think a big thermos of coffee is a favorite old standby for many in the working world, and it’s usually consumed throughout the day. I feel like the beverage size policy should have an exception for brewed coffee poured into a thermos.

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Fun Cards from Starbucks Japan!

July 16, 2014

Last night, I was at a Starbucks in University Village. While I was there with friends, two people came in visiting from Vancouver, Canada, who knew me from social media. Yes, this was quite a coincidence! The couple – Andrew and Yoshima – were a delight to meet. I’d been following Andrew for a long […]

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What is a Starbucks Inspired Moment?

July 13, 2014

Lately, I’ve had a number of conversations with friends and partners about what is a “Starbucks inspired moment”? In fact, I’ll admit to you, I’ve had friends and acquaintances tell me that they feel Starbucks stores aren’t nearly as friendly and joyful as they once were, say eight to ten years ago. Just today (July […]

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The New Berry and Banana Yogurt Frappuccinos: Starbucks UK and more

July 11, 2014

A number of international Starbucks markets have just launched a yogurt Frappuccino. It comes in two flavors: Red Berry Yogurt or Banana Yogurt. You’ll find this new Frappuccino in Starbucks locations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, and possibly more. The home pages for Starbucks UK (which means that Starbucks Ireland will have […]

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Coffee Workshop Nine. Starbucks Kent Blend. (A Day in the Life – July 7, 2014)

July 9, 2014

I took Monday, July 7, 2014 off from work. Previously, I had contacted my regular contact person inside the Starbucks Support Center (the headquarters “SSC”) and mentioned that I wanted to drink Starbucks Root Beer and see the new coffee education area of the support center. The Starbucks sparkling beverages are only available in the […]

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A look at new food at Starbucks: New panini gets 2 thumbs up. Grilled cheese gets 2 thumbs down.

July 7, 2014

This summer there are new food options at Starbucks. I thought I’d give you a quick run-down of what’s new. There’s a new Evolution Fresh juice that has shown up at Starbucks stores. It’s the Apple Berry juice. I’m pretty sure that the Apple Berry juice replaced the Organic Ginger Limeade in the stores – […]

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What is a coffee varietal?

July 6, 2014

For those who are interested in coffee education, I want to talk about what a coffee varietal is. There are three things that happened (all within a short time of each other) that inspired me to put this article together 1) in my own closed Facebook group, there was a great conversation from a customer […]

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