January 24, 2008


Starbucks Charges A Buck (Carl Gutierrez, 01.23.08, Forbes)

It’s back to Business 101 for Starbucks.

On Wednesday, shares of the latte-chain lifted 7.6%, or $1.42, to $20.09, in the wake of news that the Seattle-based company was testing offering small cups of drip coffee for $1 with free refills in its hometown, approximately 50 cents less than it normally charges.

I don't get it. A 39oz can of Shaw's or Chock-Full-0-Nuts costs $4 on sale. How big a small cup of coffee could they be selling you for $1.50?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2008 9:19 AM

Well, I've never been to Starbucks and I don't like coffee, but isn't there a quality difference between cheap Chock Full O' Nuts coffee and something better than that? You can buy Natural Light beer for a lot cheaper than Sam Adams, but there's a big taste difference. You can buy Clan MacGregor scotch or Glenlivet - which would you prefer to drink?
Just because you can get something cheap, doesn't mean you should. Given what a food snob you are I'm suprised you can't seem to grasp that.

Posted by: Bryan at January 24, 2008 12:22 PM

All drinks are way too expensive.

But I keep reminding my wife, you are not paying for the soda/coffee, you are paying for the availability.

Posted by: ray at January 24, 2008 12:56 PM

very true, except Starbuck's coffee tastes and smells like it came out the south end of a northbound skunk.

They're basically admitting that they can't give the stuff away straight (discounting the he-man factor in buying multiple espresso shots), or alternatively, they may as well use hot water with a little carmel color in all the fru-fru drinks they make.

Posted by: Chris B at January 24, 2008 1:11 PM

No. People base their opinion of the taste on how much it costs.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2008 1:16 PM

Dry cleaning and fresh food in the grocery store are clearly more expensive than they have ever been.

Lots and lots of stuff is cheaper though...

Posted by: Benny at January 24, 2008 1:17 PM

I used to live in New Orleans in the 1980's when I was in college and I worked as a bartender. Even with call-brand drinks, the most expensive thing were the plastic "go-cups" that we served the drinks in.

I suspect it is the same thing with Starbucks.

Starbucks is so popular because it is an affordable luxury.

** Anyone who has been to N.O. knows what a "go-cup" is.

Posted by: pchuck at January 24, 2008 1:46 PM

No. People base their opinion of the taste on how much it costs.

That's the "wine" rule. People who can't tell the difference between, say, Bud Light and Stella Artois just have broken palates.

Posted by: Twn at January 24, 2008 3:10 PM

People who can't tell the difference between, say, Bud Light and Stella Artois just have broken palates.

Talk about your exception that proves the rule. In England, for example, Bud Light (brewed locally) is more expensive than Stella Artois. Stella Artois is actually the cheapest beer I could find in Harrogate, England. Stella Artois is a cheap Belgian pale lager that isn't all that different from American-style lagers but has extra cachet only because it's Belgian. So yes, people discriminate on price and country of origin and size of brewery, too.

Now, there are ales and styles that are dramatically different from the large macrobrewery American-style lagers. But Stella Artois just isn't a good example there.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 24, 2008 4:15 PM

You used to not be able to get that food fresh unless you were rich--maybe not then.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2008 7:57 PM

Aha! So you admit dry cleaning is outrageously overpriced and more expensive than ever!


Posted by: Benny at January 24, 2008 8:29 PM

I bought a taco once for 49 cents. And I'm moderately confident that the ingredients didn't come straight out of a garbage can.

Posted by: lebeaux at January 24, 2008 10:50 PM

Leffe is a good Belgian beer.

Posted by: Bartman at January 25, 2008 1:53 PM