Starbucks, Your Brand isn't Worth $9.99
By pmonday on Sep 11, 2007
I decided I would get out of the house today to do some more work on the XAM stuff I'm doing. I have a nice setup at home and I get to avoid the long commute, save a little gas, yadda yadda yadda but some days you just have to leave for a few minutes to regroup.
So, I decided I would wander over to Starbucks and bring up my NetBeans IDE to do some coding. I grab a coffee, grab a chair that 5,000 people before me sat on so there is no telling what is in the crevices, and I pop open the laptop. Gack...they are still partnered with TMobile. Guess what? My account was "cancelled" by them and they want me to call customer service (probably otherwise known as "the Sales Department"). I surf around a bit and they still want $9.99 for a day pass.
Listen, Starbucks, it is easier for me to get up, move my butt down the street and get a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection for free. Further, the Starbucks brand no longer demands a premium for "coolness" since the market is saturated (600 Starbucks in the San Francisco area...you have GOT to be kidding me), so its not even COOL for me to be sitting in Starbucks working, it is far cooler at the Tattered Cover or even Panera.
So, for me to get a few minutes of work in (for which I DO buy coffee, yogurts and other stuff since I come in before Breakfast), you want me to
- Purchase a few things at your store
- Drink McDonald's-like Coffee that tastes the same every day, day in day out with no different flavor and no personality
- Pay $9.99 for a day pass that I will use for maybe an hour while I eat Breakfast
- Actually "talk" to the TMobile Sales...err...Service people that deactivated my account
- Not support my local businesses that have free Wi-Fi (I know Panera isn't local but the Tattered Cover is)
Listen, it doesn't add up! It is just not cool to carry around a Starbuck's cup, it is just coffee, coffee I can buy at approximately 200 other places in the Denver area. And paying over $17 (TMobile + Food) for the privilege of Starbucks just doesn't add up anymore when I can take $10 off by going to one of the other myriad of places that have Wi-Fi. Heck, I could go to the hospital again and get free Wi-Fi (would insurance help me out on that one????).
And if you want a clue why your U.S. expansion is stalling, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure it out. And, frankly, the iPhone partnership isn't going to help you. Get out of the TMobile partnership, get some food that isn't stale and unappealing, get some hipness...you're a dinosaur.
Wi-Fi is ubiquitous. What is a brand worth to a consumer when that brand has hit the saturation point? I'm not a genius, but its not $17.