My Starbutts Drive-by
Have you seen a collection of butts like these? I have.
This past week I drove through the parking lot of a local business center to drop off a movie we had rented. Next door to the movie store was our local Starbucks. It was quite busy with the “on the way to work” morning latte’ and muffin crowd.
For some reason, I found myself briefly fixating on – how shall I say this – the anatomy of the customers going into and coming out of Starbucks. Let’s just say that a majority of the Starbucks customers seemed to be transporting muffin tops, spare tires, or large cabooses. And they were not carrying these anatomical accessories in their hands, if you know what I mean.
So it struck me as I resumed my morning commute that Starbucks is one of those places where American consumers can practice two of the vices that we are famous for: spending too much and eating too much.
I decided to check out the nutritional value of the Starbucks menu. To its credit, you can access all of it in great detail on the Starbucks nutrition website. My casual study of the drink items told me that the typical coffee-based beverage was in 300-500 calorie range, with 8-25 grams of fat. That is a lot for a morning drink. Add a muffin or piece of coffee cake and things can quickly get out of hand.
Then I came across a recent article from the New York Times, reporting on a new campaign that Starbucks has launched to try to undermine the perception that Starbucks sells items at premium prices. Starbucks wants consumers to understand that the “average Joe” can afford a “cup of Joe” at Starbucks. I’m not sure that will work. These are people who are willing to plunk down $3 or more for a cup of coffee each and every morning. This is a classic example of “I deserve it” luxury spending. Do you really want these customers thinking that a coffee and muffin experience at Starbucks is in the same money league as the McDonald’s drive-thru?
Mr. ToughMoneyLove doesn’t like spending $3-$5 every day for breakfast, at Starbucks or anywhere else. Whether you “deserve it” or not, I think it’s a wasteful extravagance. It can also lead to the “Starbutts” syndrome that I observed this week. I eat at home or eat something at work that I brought from home. The average cost is less than a $1. That savings can add up, in my wallet and around my waistline.
I think I will get some push back on this from coffee-beverage lovers. What do you think about my observations?
Photo credit: R4vi