I drink decaf coffee. I like the taste and cannot afford the heart palpitations caused by the real stuff, so there you go. Starbucks has (or should I say, “had”) very flavorful decaf but due to some corporate financial decisions, they no longer brew it. Seems as though there aren’t enough of us decaf drinkers to empty a pot fast enough and God forbid we interfere with the bottom line.
Occasionally I’ll have a ‘treat’, a decaf latte, with skim milk and an artificial sweetener. The girl who took my order and money wrote my name on the cup and the initials “WB” on the side. Wondering what that meant, I asked. She smiled broadly and said they call that drink a ‘why bother’. I thought it funny at the time but now it appears to be Starbuck’s message to decaf coffee drinkers.
We know little about the new automatic one-cup home coffee makers, that require special pods. One morning while enjoying my ‘why bother’ at Starbucks, my husband saw that they sold one of those machines, called a ‘Verismo’. One of the employees kindly explained how it worked, and that the Pikes Place pods were available, as were regular expresso and milk pods for lattes – my husband likes those now and then too. The kid was so convincing that we decided to buy the rather expensive Verismo. It retailed for $149, but he knocked off a good chunk of change, but it was still expensive.
Now, this is very convenient, but certainly not a cheap way to enjoy one’s morning coffee, but my husband loves me and wanted me to enjoy the convenience, as well as the nice, flavorful coffee in the morning. I’m somewhat of a cheap date, as I don’t drink alcohol, or much else besides water and my decaf coffee.
Unfortunately, the Verismo pods are not for sale in the grocery store, and the other machine’s pods do not fit. So before I ran out, off we went to Starbucks to buy some more pods, only to find that there were no decaf pods for sale at that store. We went to three more stores before we finally found Pikes Place decaf and bought several boxes to squirrel away, so I wouldn’t run out again. Unfortunately, we gave our old coffee maker to Good Will, so there was no turning back.
I have since discovered that Pikes Place and expresso are the only flavors available in decaf for the Verismo. We checked on line and sure enough, that’s it. You cannot imagine my disappointment. I like hazelnut once in a while but that’s not an option either. And don’t suggest I buy the sugar-free hazelnut syrup because that is sweet and I don’t really like sweet coffee.
Instead of enjoying my Verismo coffee, I began to feel a resentment against Starbucks, everytime I cranked that machine up for another cup of coffee. After three months or so of this, we decided to bite the bullet and buy a 2.0 Keurig machine but not until I did my research on what was available for this coffee maker. We did some competitive pricing and discovered that the least expensive place to get it was Kohls, with the 20% off coupon and $20 Kohls Cash to use on our next visit.
Now, what to do with this Verismo. We gave it to our Son Cory, who sold it on Ebay for fifty bucks, which immediately went into their ‘Help Cory and Jana start a family’ fund; at least it was good for something. I sure hope that the folks who bought it like more than decaf.
I wrote to Starbucks to express my displeasure, using the customer service ‘contact me’ button on their website, receiving an immediate response that someone would get back to me in four working days. After two weeks of waiting, I wrote again, and I’m still waiting, nearly two months later, for a reply.
The whole point of this matter is to let you know that Starbucks perceives many of their customers as a ‘why bother’. I don’t see how anyone can do that in today’s economic climate. Sure, my annual purchases probably only amount to one employee’s weekly paycheck, but if you feel that way about enough customers, maybe it would affect the bottom line, if enough of us start to go elsewhere.
I’ve never had a blog go viral, but if you are as sick and tired of being treated as a ‘why bother’ as I am, I hope you’ll share this. And now pardon me, while I go enjoy a Green Mountain hazelnut decaf from my Kuerig. Somebody else is getting my money, Starbucks.