Starbucks has Jumped the Shark

by francine Hardaway on November 16, 2007

I have a terrible Starbucks habit.  It’s so intense that I have figured out the calorie counts for the "cheapest" (in terms of calories) Frappacino that I can still enjoy, and carefully calculated those calories into my daily fuel economy.

[It’s the grande, sugar-free caramel coffee Frappacino, no whipped cream.]

Little things, like when they got sugar free syrups, are big events in my life. For example, life got better when I could switch from sugar-free hazelnut to caramel. Not that I hated hazelnut, but I have always coveted caramel, but was unwilling to spend the calories before it became sugar-free.

Spend is the operative word. Recently, Starbucks once again raised its prices. It does that every once in a while, but this time it drove my daily drink to over $4.00, depending on where I order it ( at airports, it has been over $4.00 for a while, because I’m a trapped customer there).

Four times 30 is one twenty, says my grade school math.  I am spending $120 per month, $1440 a year, on Starbucks. On sugar and caffeine. Maybe more, because every once in a while when I go in there I also buy a bottle of $2.00 water.

That’s enough to Christmas shop for my ten (step)grandchildren and my three foster kids.

Starbucks foot traffic is down and their shares are declining.  No wonder! If the middle class is declining, can Starbucks be far behind?

Update: My friend Howard Lindzon has just called the stock a "biiitch," and a "piiiig." So I guess I am not so wrong.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Paloma Cruz November 16, 2007 at 9:18 am

Starbucks is one of the things I had to cut back on when I started to budget earlier this year. I tracked exactly how much I spend over a few months and was shocked to find out how much I spend on that one personal luxury. Starbucks is, alas, no longer part of my daily routine.

Todd Van Hoosear November 16, 2007 at 9:40 am

Look at what happened to KrispyKreme (I’m still reeling from that). Timed their big expansion to the carb craze. Starbucks could face a similar problem as we look at a slowdown in the economy: they ARE a luxury item–you can make coffee (even Starbucks coffee) at home.

Linda VandeVrede November 16, 2007 at 10:08 am

And here I thought I was the only one cutting back on Starbucks…yes, it does add up. I still like going there for meetings, however.

francine hardaway November 16, 2007 at 10:45 am

So now we have four data points, which probably add up to very little, but I think I will ask the blogosphere :-)

francine hardaway November 16, 2007 at 10:45 am

So now we have four data points, which probably add up to very little, but I think I will ask the blogosphere :-)

David LaPlante November 16, 2007 at 11:12 am

A massive *$’s roasting plant is here south of Reno…by way of friends rumor is that *$’s coffee is much higher in caffeine therefore that much more addicting.

I like going to *$’s about as much as I like visiting McD’s. It’s not so much about the coffee, but the people you get to hang out with when you visit there.

I look at it from the perspective of identity derivation. The local coffee shop derives its brand identity from the people that frequent it. The reverse is more often true for *$’s now. Some people really need to hold that logo’d cup.

McDonalds makes some people — especially kids — feel good. So does *$’s. Great brands for many…but not for some.

Maria November 16, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Yes, I have cut back on Starbucks and it’s calories that did it for me, too. I get my coffee at home, just the way I like it, but I sometimes have a real craving for Starbucks’ Green Tea Frappucino. For a while, I would get one every time I was in the local supermarket. Since we don’t do regular grocery shopping, I was in there five to ten times a week.

Was just at the supermarket and successfully passed it by yet again. I’d prefer to eat real food for the 400 calories I’d waste on that frappucino.

And hell, what IS that stuff, anyway?

Ro November 16, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I go to Starbucks as a treat. Coffee’s good, atmosphere is nice, people are friendly, but going there every day takes the “special” out of it. I spent the money I would have spent there on a good coffee maker instead. (Of course, I don’t have puppies that lead me there either!)

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