Now, It Can Be Told…


It happened by accident – a happy accident, to be sure. My friends at school have known and at least one chided me about “taking advantage.”  But, now the truth can be told. I can get it off my chest and ‘fess up about the sweetest deal I had going at the expense of one of America’s corporate giants.

It’s all about my insatiable need for massive and regular infusions of caffeine. My preferred delivery method was the Grande Pike Place with room for cream at the local Starbucks. It became a daily ritual with the 8th grade team at my school – so routine that we’d just ask, “Are you going?” We all knew where we were going…to Target and, more specifically, the Starbucks just inside the door.

Now, this is not an inexpensive habit on a teacher’s salary – $2.14 a hit, five times a week (sometimes more) starts to become a noticeable expense. Think about it: one coffee per day for 180 days is almost $400. gty_starbucks_cup_111207_wmain

This is where the accident comes in to play. Every day I’d leave the house with a 22 oz, Starbucks travel mug full of caffeine, err coffee. Later, I’d bring my mug to Starbucks and have the lovely baristas fill it up again. They’d charge me $2.14 and off I’d go.

One day I said the magic word – “refill.”

When they rang up my coffee it was 53¢.

Yes, 53¢. They were charging me the same rate they charge for that second cup after you sit in the store and drink your first cup ‘o joe.

I said it again the next day, “refill”  – Bam, 53¢.

I said it the next and the next…it was always the same. I felt as if trumpets from upon high should have been blaring. What an absolute miracle. I had accidentally stumbled upon the magic word.

As if that wasn’t enough, I received $35 in Starbucks gift cards at Christmas. I loaded them onto my Starbucks app and started paying with my phone.

Guess what? They discount their price 10¢ if you bring your own cup, so then my coffee was just 43¢ a “refill.”

Glory be – I was set. I had $35 in gift cards to play with and I made it last the whole rest of the school year.IMG_2805

At one point I realized I could actually make money from this sweet deal. Mind you, it was just a thought. I never took it this far, but I could have.

My chosen artificial sweeter is Splenda. At home, we usually buy the small 50-count box for about $2. That means the unit price of a Splenda packet is 4¢.

One day while I was waiting for one of my colleagues to receive her five-dollar, whipped-cream-topped, chocolate-drizzled frappawhatever (let’s just call this a dessert, shall we?) it occurred to me if I stuffed 11 extra Splenda packets into my pocket, at 4¢ each – I would be making a penny each time I bought a coffee.

Like I said, I never did it. Okay, maybe a couple of times, but just so I’d have a few extra packets in the car.

But, think about it, I could have made money each time I bought coffee.

Turning Starbucks into a profit center? Sweeeeeeet.


One Response to “Now, It Can Be Told…”

  1. Or you could brew good coffee at home, add cream and sugar to taste, fill a giant thermos it, and not only save the price of Starbucks every day but the cost of traveling to and from Target. Should still be cheaper than the lowest number your life of crime netted.

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