Yesterday I read in my fellow Flickr photographer Duckhunter’s blog about his problems with ordering a regular coffee at a Starbucks. My first thought was, “Nah, this has got to be an over-reaction.” Well, this morning I had an opportunity to jump in with my own criticisms of Starbucks.
First, the setting – I normally don’t frequent Starbucks. I don’t particularly like their regular coffee, and the espresso drinks are just too pricey and fattening for regular patronage. On this occasion, I needed to drop of my car at our local garage to have a headlight replaced, and the only place to hang out for the 40 minutes or so while this was happening was across the street at Starbucks. I was prepared. I had my laptop and the book I was reading. I was going to get coffee, a muffin, and use their WiFi to check e-mail, etc.
I didn’t have the ordering problems that Duckhunter did. I was able to get my coffee and muffin with no problem. Finding a seat was a challenge as this happened to be a crowded place, but I found a perch. However, here are the things that I thought could be improved upon. These may be part of the reason why Starbucks is loosing part of its market share to competitors…
- Price – compared to other coffee options, it is more expensive.
- Refills – I ordered just a regular cup of coffee. Every other coffee shop I visit (Panera, Atlanta Bread Company, etc) has free refills. I didn’t see that option here. In fairness, I didn’t really need a refill, but the option would have been nice.
- WiFi – The only option was a T-Mobile hot spot, which isn’t free. Atlanta Bread and Panera, as well as many other coffee shops in the area offer free WiFi.
Customers don’t like feeling nickled and dimed to death, and that was the feeling I got from Starbucks this morning. So, I just left my laptop in my backpack, sipped my expensive coffee, ate my rock-hard muffin, read my book, and waited for my car to be fixed.