Starbucks now has a quiet policy of not brewing decaf coffee after noon.
I thought something was odd as Sbux after Sbux had run out of decaf and I go off muttering, ‘How can they run out of coffee? They’re Starbucks.’ Then an honest counterman in Toronto told me about the new policy. I didn’t believe him at first. But after two failed attempts to get decaf this weekend, I asked another employee and was told, yes, it’s a new policy. They will offer to give you a decaf americano (diluted espresso) at the same price. They will even brew decaf if they have to. But you have to wait for that. And don’t believe it when they say “two, two-and-a-half minutes.” I’ve waited five minutes and more. This is passive-aggressive retailing, putting barriers between the customer and what she wants to get your way.
I went to MyStarbucksIdea and found fellow decaffers urging a change in the policy here and here. As my fellow customers point out there, a lot of us cannot drink caf (for me, it’s a medical necessity to avoid it; my wife wonders why I bother). And, by the way, does it make sense to get rid of decaf later in the day, when more people drink it.
Obviously, Starbucks is trying to eke out operating pennies by throwing away less stale decaf coffee and forcing drip customers to one choice. It’s more efficient and Starbucks needs the pennies as its quarterly profit just dropped 77 percent.
But when companies start inconveniencing customers as a business strategy and being sneaky about it, it ends nowhere good. They might as well just give us coupons to Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s.
My fellow decaffers, please go to MyStarbucksIdea.com and add your voice to the uncaffeinated chorus. We want our decaf.