Just call me stupid for being sucked into an ingenius marketing promotion without reading the small print. I recently purchased the Starbucks Gold card, which is actually black, for $25.00. Thinking $25.00 would also go on the card as a credit, just like the non-black/gold cards. WRONG. I bought it because I was willing to give Starbucks the use of my money, interest free, in exchange for their keeping me as a customer and my loyalty would earn me a 10% discount. Seems like a win-win to me. I don't stray to Peet's and they pay me for my loyalty while using my money now. WRONG.So, I am now the proud owner of this very prestigious Starbucks Gold Card - with zero balance. Moreover, I just read (now I read) that this is an annual fee! Are you kidding me? What do they think I plan to do with their card, show it to my envious friends. Flash it before purchasing a cup of coffee looking around for applause? Now, I could live with this if say 50% went to saving the environment, or providing clean water to a third world nation. But, being suckered out of $25.00 for a plastic card worth maybe $0.15? Every year? No.Call it buyers' remorse. Call it slick marketing with a huge ROI. Call it just plain dumb. Ok, I take full responsibility. No one threatened me with hot pot of coffee or a 20 minute wait for a cup of Joe. It's all my fault and I am not blaming Starbucks, or the cashier. I just wanted you to know that the initial $25.00 you pay for this coffee debit card, goes to Starbucks, not to you.
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  • It is New Years Day 2010 and I just opened my mail from Starbucks telling me the are automatically switching me from my Black gold card program to their new Gold gold card program. I was happy to pay $25 originally to join. I knew it was a one time fee to get their 10% discount on all my purchases and I knew I spend Over $1,000 a year at Starbucks. So for me it was a good deal. I can't find any reference to the 10% discount on this new thing they sent me - just one free drink for every time I get 15 purchases - called 15 stars. My average workday morning coffee & pastry purchase is $3.80. So it looks like every 15 days I will spend $57. and get a free $2.00 coffee instead of a $5.70 / 10% discount. I like the original deal better. It was good $25 investment for me.
  • Does anyone know if they're still using this ?
  • Michael...
    Hilarious that the "Head Hog at the Trough" for FOHBOH is just as gullible as the average "Joe" by not reading the fine print.
  • I must admit that I was laughing a little while reading this story. I guess you could say that I was laughing because of my own past experiances. It's a shame that we can't take companies at face value anymore. Thanks for sharing a story that will make us a little more aware.
  • It appears to be a great ploy at raising much needed cash due to dwindling sales margins, closing of stores as well as lost market share.
    Up here in Canada, Tim Horton's has a one to two block line up for their coffee, Starbucks, one to two cars. Oh yes, did I mention the cost of a Tim Horton's large double/double...$1.49 versus the extreme $3+ at Starbucks.
    But look at the bright side Michael (if there is one), you just bought yourself something that you could sell on E-Bay in a few years.
  • Starbucks has been a great exponent of long tail marketing - even now there is a conspicuous/prestige market, and Starbucks wants this segment, too. But backlash suggests that, in tough times, companies can't be richly segmented and value free.
    Any initiative counter to the real, value-conscious direction that we are headed in can backfire, like this black card, on this post. Interesting NY times story...
  • Apparently, they're pretty proud of this "loyalyty card".

    I'm with Christopher, I'll bet there will be several folks at Starbuck's who will say there is
    no balance on the card.
  • I had to go to the site ad figure out what this is supposed to be for - the idea just seems crazy. Apparently this is for people who REALLY like Starbucks, so you get that prestige, I guess.

    "What's That?"
    "My gold/black Starbuck's Card"
    "What's it for?"
    "Oh, I'm not supposed to talk about it. Can I have a double-tall harmless to go please?"

    So, the math. $25 investment gets you a birthday drink ($4) and another when you buy the card (we're up to $8). The 10% discount means you card is paid for in 48.5 visits at $3.50 per visit. After that . . . .gravy baby.

    Still, it seems like one more thing to manage in life.

    I can't help but wonder how many baristas are going to swipe your exclusive card and tell you "there is nothing left on this one".
  • Michael, I will give you $3.00 for it!?
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