October 15, 2019

From Gerald R. Lucas

Old-Man Moment and an Epiphany

Starbucks raised their coffee prices. Again. Rather than a couple of cents, it was like 20¢.

I’m pretty much a regular at Starbucks. I likely spend up to $20 a month in their store, getting the odd cup of coffee on the way to campus—almost every morning I teach. A couple of employees know me by name and always greet me when I come in the door. I have a Starbucks-branded travel mug, so I don’t add to the landfill. I get Starbucks gift cards from my mother-in-law for birthdays and other special occasions. Yeah, I’ve been a Starbucks guy for a while.

Well today, I had an epiphany after an old-man moment. I usually pay just under $2 for a “tall” refill of my travel mug. This includes my “own-mug” discount.[1] This time, the college-aged guy with dead eyes behind the register said, “That’s $2.21,” as another took my mug to refill it. “What?!” I said, “did you guys raise your prices again?” The guy just looked at me with his dead eyes as the other returned with my mug and said something sarcastic like “we really feel bad for you.” I scanned my card, not quite believing what I was hearing: no sympathy for the old guy. This was my old-man moment: complaining about coffee prices—back in my day...

Yet, as I walked out, I realized they were right: I do not need Starbucks. In fact, I will never come to Starbucks again unless I have to. Period. Instead, I will redirect my $20-a-month to my own coffee-making at home. So, thanks to the two Starbucks employees at the Forsyth location for helping me see the light. I know I will not bankrupt your company by withholding my support, I am done with corporate coffee.


  1. At Joffery’s back in the day, we used to give a 50¢ discount to someone with their own mug.