Sometimes You Just Want To Help… NSFW


I’m sitting at Tim Horton’s enjoying an XL double-double thanks to Roll up the Rim to win, and the, ahem, gentleman beside me has literally blown a gasket.

He’s said;

“Fuck.”swear

“FUCK”

“For Fuck sakes”

“Jesus Fucking Christ”

SIGH

Bigger Sigh

“Jesus Christ”

“Fuck”

“Fuck”

Toss in a couple more “Fucks”, no “shits” but lots of “fucks”…

and SO much more colourful language, quietly, mostly under his breath, but considering that I’m sitting next to him, it’s all I can hear.

All the while he’s on his cell phone, pounding away on the keys (they click).

I just want to ask him what’s wrong…

It’s not that I think I can help him, that is unless his question is about parenting or taxes, but I just feel like he needs a friend right now to vent to.

If I were a bartender, he’s be talking up a storm, but he’s just pounding away on his device, either frustrated or upset at something he has either read, saw, or because he doesn’t know how to stop his phone from clicking.

What would you do?

 

Note: I actually thought he was cussing up a storm because he was trying to set his ringtone.  I kept hearing all these beeps, whirls and whistles.  One would think that R2D2 was beside me, but then the sounds stopped and the cursing didn’t.

Note2: He grumbled his way to the bathroom, then left.  He’s known here.  From this day forth I shall refer to him (silently) as the inept-smartphone-twit, or FIST, for short.

Fucking Inept Smartphone Twit, to more accurate.

Starbucks For Life Sweepstakes is Back!


For members of the Starbucks Rewards™ loyalty program (like me!), it’s time for the annual return of the Starbucks for Life sweepstakes.

For the third consecutive year, Starbucks has featured this popular game of chance, which launched December 6th, 2016 here in Canada (also in the US).  Starbucks Rewards™ members have an opportunity to win prizes, including Starbucks for Life, Starbucks for a Year, Starbucks for a Month, Starbucks for a Week* and millions of Bonus Stars.

The Way to Play

From now through January 16th, 2017, eligible Starbucks Rewards™ members can earn game plays when they make a purchase* using either their registered Starbucks Card or the Starbucks® Mobile App in participating U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) stores.

Members can redeem their game plays and collect digital game pieces by logging on to www.starbucksforlife.com in the U.S. or www.starbucksforlife.ca in Canada. Starbucks Rewards™ members may earn up to two game plays per day by making an eligible purchase transaction with a registered Starbuck Card or App.

What’s New This Holiday?

Members can complete challenges found within the game to earn extra game plays. Examples of challenges include “Jump the Line,” which rewards customers for making a purchase via mobile order, and “Hot Streak,” which provides three extra plays if a purchase is made five days in a row. Also new this year is the ability to trade three duplicate game pieces for one new game play.

Exclusive Prizes

Starbucks Rewards™ members can win prizes by collecting all of the game pieces in a given row on their digital game board. Only seven lucky customers (five in the U.S. and two in Canada) will win the grand prize of Starbucks for Life. 45 customers (25 in the U.S. and 20 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Year. 250 customers (125 in the U.S. and 125 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Month. 800 customers (500 in the U.S. and 300 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Week.

Customers can also collect game pieces to win Bonus Stars in increments of 125 and 50 Stars. Instant-win prizes with Bonus Stars in increments of 5 Stars will be awarded as well. When Starbucks Rewards™ Gold Members collect 125 Stars, they earn a Reward, which they can redeem for a food or beverage item of their choice at participating stores.


*“Starbucks for Life” means the winner will receive a daily credit for 30 years for one free food or beverage item redeemable at participating Starbucks® stores in the U.S. Alcoholic beverages excluded. Winner must present a registered Starbucks Card. Credits are non-transferable and expire within 24 hours.

“Starbucks for a Year” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one year (three hundred sixty-five days) for one free food or standard menu beverage item (excluding alcoholic beverages) redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. (and likely Canada although not mentioned in their blurby). Food and beverage credits expire daily.

“Starbucks for a Month” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one month (thirty-one days) for one free food or standard menu beverage (excluding alcoholic beverages) item redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. Food and beverage credits expire daily.

“Starbucks for a Week” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one week (seven days) for one free food or standard menu beverage item (excluding alcoholic beverages) redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. Food and beverage credits expire daily.

Abbreviated Canada Rules

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF CANADA, 18 AND OLDER AND WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE STARBUCKS REWARDS™ LOYALTY PROGRAM AT THE TIME OF ENTRY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Starbucks Partners are not eligible to win prizes. Participating stores only. Promotion ends 1/16/17. For Official Rules, how to enter without purchase, prizes, and odds, visit https://www.starbucksforlife.ca. Limit for earning Game Plays:  2 transactions per day or up to 2 requests without purchase per day. Mathematical skill-testing question must be correctly answered to win. 300,000 instant win prizes (approximate retail values of $0.20 available to be won. 14,947 collect and win game prizes (approximate retail values from $2.00 to $51,574.50 available to be won.  Sponsor: Starbucks Coffee Canada, Inc., 5140 Yonge Street, Suite 1205, Toronto, ON M2N 6 L7, Canada.

Limit of one instant-win-game prize per day. “Starbucks for Life” means the winner will receive a daily credit for 30 years for one free food or beverage item redeemable at participating Starbucks® stores in Canada. Alcoholic beverages excluded. Winner must present a registered Starbucks Card. Credits are non-transferable and expire within 24 hours.

Starbucks Prices Going Up in Canada and the US on July 12th, 2016.


Word broke a couple of days ago that Starbucks is planning to increase the price on select drinks, upwards of $0.30 per drink on July 12th, saying only that the increase would impact “select beverages.”

Starbucks raised its prices by 5 to 20 cents for some of its drinks in July 2015. That increase mostly impacted hot beverages.

Since 2013, Starbucks have been increasing prices every summer, including last summer’s increase of between $0.05-$0.20 on hot drinks.

Heck, they even changed their rewards program to make it a longer timeframe for purchasers of the cheapest drinks to reach their free coffee.

And, they posted a revenue of nearly $5 billion last year!

What a business model!

According to the Canadian operations, the price of a Venti coffee will increase by $0.10 in some but not all provinces, and the price of their lattes in Grande and Venti sizes will increase $0.20, again in some provinces.

In the US, Starbucks announced that their Tall, Grande and Venti-sized coffees will see a price increase of $0.10 each in most States in the country.

At this time of declining coffee prices, we can clearly see that Starbucks coffee prices are not closely tied to the price of the bean alone, but also tied to the other costs, including the stores, employment, and other items which comes with a Starbucks drink.

Coffeeshop Etiquette 101


I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to camp out in a coffeeshop to get some work done, either before or after meetings, due to travel, or because I just want a change of scenery.

I have pretty much seen and heard it all, over the years and this morning’s adventures have prompted me to post a quick, albeit not exclusive, list of coffee shop etiquette – the do’s and don’t do’s when you’re working from a public space.

Feel free to add to this list, or debate items on this list.

  1. Learn the difference between your phone’s speaker and it’s regular headset.  The gentleman beside me is unaware that he is using his speaker, and has the phone right up to his ear, has the volume very high, and is telling the person he is speaking to that he cannot hear him.  We all hear everything about the conversation and it’s REALLY loud.
  2. If you’re going to watch videos on your cell phone or laptop, invest in a pair of headphones.  Nobody wants to hear whatever you are listening to – music, news, videogame sounds, etc.
  3. If you’re holding a meeting with the rest of your office in, say, the Starbucks I am currently sitting in, trashing your competition and berating a staff member might not be the most professional approach.
  4. If you’re working in a coffee shop and it’s really packed and you’ve been nursing the cheapest drink for 5 hours, it might be time to move on…  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve finished my drink, then packed up earlier than I had planned because paying customers need space.  If I’m going to stay longer, I go back and buy food and another drink (although at Starbucks the additional drink is free, so I can buy better food… yum).
  5. Like being on an airplane, there are certain seats which have responsibilities attached, so if you’re sitting near one of the few outlets, be prepared to politely engage people who really need that free jack in order to meet a deadline or get through their morning.  Don’t be a grumpy outlet ogre!
  6. Be super respectful to the staff if you’ve been to a particular location more than once.  They know you, they recognize you, so don’t abuse your comfort level there.  Shake things up, try foods or drinks they recommend every now and then.  Remember, they control the on/off switch to the WiFi.
  7. If you’re not sure, ask.  I’ve come to many coffee shops and asked if it’s okay if I crash for a few hours, and I’ve asked them how long I can stay, and I have even told them upfront that if it gets busy, I’ll leave, or they can come tell me it’s busy and I’ll go.
  8. Make sure your sound is off on your laptop if you have a headset on your phone.  There is nothing worse than someone listening to music or having a conversation on their phone while their laptop is chirping away without their knowledge.
  9. Smile.  A smile goes a LONG way these days…
  10. Don’t make a mess, and be helpful, and you’ll be a welcomed customer for a very long time.
  11. It might go without saying, but for some people this is a real problem, but I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone to the washroom only to find the person / people before me had not flushed the toilet… UGH.  I can only assume these people also do not wipe themselves or wash their hands, because I teach my children to ALWAYS flush the toilet and wash their hands.  If they don’t want to touch the handle they can use paper towel or their foot to flush, then always wash and watch the door handle on the way out.
  12. If there are few seating options, taking a table for 4, or the handicapped seating is fine, unless there are people in need of those spaces.  Then you absolutely need to move or pack up and leave.  There is no reason to stay unless you are willing to share your space, which is absolutely a nice thing to do.  Sharing is, after all, caring.
  13.  Remember that as loud as it may seem in a coffee shop, with the music and coffee machine noises, it’s equally as loud for the person on the other end of the phone.  Before you change your voicemail, or make that critical business call, or job interview call, to step outside where it is quiet.  (To the kid who had a hard time on his phone interview last week, you really did lose out on that opportunity because you took your call in the washroom for 20 minutes, then flushed the toilet mid-conversation.  They totally heard and that lack of judgement blew it for you.  It was not because they didn’t like the answers to your questions… Trust me on that!

 

Happy to hear your thoughts and stories, as I move through my morning here in my local Starbucks where I keep my headphones on but am listening to everyone and everything…

Starbucks NEW Pumpkin Spice Latte Arriving September 2015. Updated.


My coffee sources tell me that Starbucks is set to roll out the new and improved Pumpkin Spice Latte in September 2015.

In an effort to rid their drinks of artificial ingredients and artificial flavors (as they do in Europe), Starbucks has reinvented the Pumpkin Spice Latte, with natural ingredients, without artificial caramel coloring but with real pumpkin.

Hard to believe that it has already been 12-years since Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte. My understanding was that he Pumpkin Spice Latte was not a slamdunk choice by Starbucks and that that they had tested an “orange cream” creation (yum) and when they settled on the “Pumpkin” drink for the fall, they were leaning towards using the name “Fall Harvest Latte” instead.

Word on the street is that when Starbucks tested the “Pumpkin Spice Latte” in stores they found out very quickly that their customers loved it and they knew it was going to be a regular fall / winter drink for the company.

Up until recently, you could not even purchase the Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup in store or online, but one quick peek of the starbucks online store at starbucks.ca/store tells me it is available in wide circulation.

As for the new, revamped, Pumpkin Spice Latte… Real pumpkin.  Real spices.  It’s coming! Real soon.


Update:

So I went to Starbucks, tried the drink and I thought it was fantastic.  Its even better than the “original” one which I had always found to be a bit chemically.  The new Pumpkin Spice Latte is not overly sweet, and no where near too pumpkin-y.

It was satisfying and really does hit the spot as the weather turns cooler.