“I agree to the Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy.”

December 7, 2009

In most cases, paying for coffee is silly.

Healthy offerings at Starbucks.

Eat healthy, for twice the price of normal healthy.

I don’t pay for Starbucks coffee. I don’t pay for Tully’s coffee either. I don’t pay for Seattle’s Best coffee, Forza coffee, or Stumptown coffee. There are coffee shops that do actually sell me on their coffee, but for the most part I’m paying everything but the coffee. At Marcell’s it’s the architecture, at Fresh Pot it was the Powell’s bookstore adjacent to it, at Mon Ami it’s the knowledge that I’ll run into someone I know, at Cosmo’s it was the ability to fall asleep in a food establishment, and at Starbucks I’m paying for the internet that I refuse to pay for.

It’s true, actually. I actually go to Starbucks quite frequently because it’s the one coffee shop I can go to escape the distraction of internet access. Starbucks is one of the few places that charges for internet—and they have good reason to. If people are willing to pay for it, why give it away for free? Starbucks wasn’t the first coffee franchise just like Michael Jordan wasn’t the first basketball star, yet Starbucks made paying $4.00 for fancy coffee as fashionable as paying  $125 for fancy shoes. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just their shtick. If you like spending money (or if you like frappuccino), then Starbucks just may be the place for you.

Starbucks offers iTunes free music downloads.

For example, If I spend $15 (lets say I come in with a friend and we both have a sandwich and an espresso drink, my treat), they’ll give me a holiday CD and donate $1 to fighting AIDS in Africa. The option is attractive, since I’ll need some form of karma condolence for spending $15 in a coffee shop. Today, for the $3.68 I spent on a 12 oz. “tall” coffee and a glorious apple fritter, and I got three complimentary music downloads for my trouble. Then again, I guess I could have just walked in and taken those.

The possibilities only get crazier from there. I can get mugs, instant coffee, cup-shaped mugs, CDs, chocolate-covered espresso beans in small paper mugs, espresso machines, mug-shaped cups, sandwiches, whole beans (packaged in mugs), coffee tumblers, and mug-shaped Christmas ornaments ($4.95 each!). It’s like they have their own rule of retail: you’re in the clear as long as the absurdity of product for sale eclipses absurdity of the sale price.

Photo collage at Vancouver Starbucks on Main St.

Our Main St. Starbucks team.

I’ve never had a problem with Starbucks, and until they enter phase two of their dastardly plot I don’t expect to take issue with them anytime soon. They take good care of their employees, and spearheaded the trend of putting coffee perpetually within arm’s reach. Lord knows they’re far from perfect, but I’m not asking for perfect. I’m simply asking for them to continue charging $3.99 for two hours of internet—or $19.99 for a month, as well as access to tens of thousands of AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide!

“Failure to responsibly manage the use of the Service(s) obtained from AT&T may be cause for termination of Service(s) to you and, depending upon the terms under which you acquired your Service(s), could lead to the imposition of early termination fees.”

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