‘Tis The Season

It isn’t much of a secret that I don’t like Christmas. I must have stopped loving Yuletide when I was around 11 or 12, when I first became cognisant of the obligations, disappointments and other such family-related drama that accompany the season.

As much as I still love the Biblical meaning of Christmas, I hate just about everything else.

Except Starbucks’ Toffee Nut Lattes. I am a complete sucker for that stuff.
Last year, James even bought me a bottle of the syrup from a Starbucks that was clearing stock towards the tail-end of the season.

Today was the first day of Starbucks Singapore’s Christmas promotions. This was today’s deal:

The fine print in the lower left says "Complimentary Christmas beverage given will be that of the lower price." This will be relevant later in this post.

After lunch, I dropped by the nearest Starbucks with my laptop to get some work done while waiting for the queue to disperse. This turned out to be a good strategy because the queue was INSANE.

When there was no more queue altogether, I went up to the counter and placed my order of a grande toffee nut latte (half-caff, skinny) for me and an iced white chocolate mocha for a colleague. Except that the baristas weren’t going to let me; they insisted that the free drink had to be the same as the one paid for.

Me: That’s not what your ad says.
Barista 1: *checks with Barista 2*
Barista 2: No, you can only get the same drink for free. That means you can have a free toffee nut latte but not an iced mocha.
Me: Your ad says you can get the lower priced beverage for free. If it meant that you can only get two of the same drink, why would one be of a lower price?

Barista 2 then says to Barista 1, “Never mind, since she wants it we just give it to her ok.”
For some reason, this annoyed me a lot more than their initial refusal. I think it was the sheer principle of the thing – here I am trying to explain your own marketing collateral to you with logic, and there you are trying to humour me.

Me: I don’t see what the issue is. Your ad clearly says the lower priced beverage is free, and if that’s the case, that should mean I can get two different drinks.
Barista 2: Ok, ma’am, since you want it that way we will give it to you.

Now I was REALLY mad. Fuming, I marched off to where the sign was displayed, picked it up, and physically brought it to the baristas.

Me: “Complimentary Christmas beverage given will be that of the lower price” — this means that the customer can order two different drinks. I CAN READ, OKAY?!

Barista 2 finally capitulated. “Ma’am, so sorry for the miscomm, you are right.”
And then she whipped out a coupon book, tore off two coupons, and said, “This is our service recovery for you ma’am, you can bring this back for a free tall beverage of your choice.”

So I got my promotional drink, I won my logical battle, and I got coupons for more drinks.

But I still can't believe she actually said "this is our service recovery for you".

Seriously, universe. There is only this much about the trappings of Christmas that I look forward to. Don’t go messing with it now.

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4 Comments

  1. Finn (@ExtraTan) - December 12, 2011

    It’s a good thing you made your point though!

    Starbucks are pretty generous with these service recovery coupons. I’ve not got one myself (hardly patronise Sbux) but my friend has gotten quite a few due to shoddy service.

    • Ms Brightside - December 13, 2011

      I really felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall for a while there. Sometimes I think I get carried away with the principle of the thing…

  2. Ami - March 18, 2012

    Mmmm, service recovery. Tasty, tasty service recovery.

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