Just before Easter I sorted through the unaddressed detritus in my mailbox delivered by the awesome posties at Canada Post to find some coupons courtesy of Starbucks.
I thought of using them last week on my trek via the Starbucks at the University of Ottawa but, upon reading the fine print, found they were only valid from April 1st to 15th. So much for that idea. Not sure who the dimwit was at Starbucks or Canada Post who thought of delivering the coupons about a week before they are valid instead of closer to the due date. At least this was one occasion where it helped to read the bolder fine print on a coupon and left the coupons in my coat pocket for later use.
Fast forward to today, I found myself wandering through downtown Ottawa doing errands and near a Starbucks (100 Elgin Street, Ottawa) that you would miss unless you fell over it. The address claims this Starbucks is located on "Elgin Street" but actually you enter off of Laurier Avenue. To make matters worse, it is in the same building by the dominating historic facade of the Lord Elgin Hotel which directs your attention to their impressively kept facade. But I digress.
I visited at 11 A.M. and walked up the cash and duly presented my coupon before ordering. The green aproned Barista took my order and typed it in.
The Order: 1 Mocha.
Next, she handed back my coupon explaining they don't accept them here as they are not a corporate store. I looked at her puzzled. She explained that this location is not a corporate store and the coupon says "Offer good only at participating Starbucks stores in Canada." I still looked puzzled and inquired where the closest location was. She said there is one at Slater & Metcalfe would be more than willing to accept the coupon.
I left this location with nothing purchased. I had gone in looking to try a Mocha drink which I normally do not order as I'm unsure what to put in it. At $2.00 per Mocha I was willing to give it a try and get a little guidance from a knowledgeable Barista at a quiet store. Sadly this wasn't so due Starbucks' incompetence.
Starbucks' incompetence? There has got to be a way for Starbucks franchises like this Starbucks to accept the corporate coupons and receive compensation from corporate for them. I believe McDonald's does this as I've used similar McDonald's coupons in the Toronto area, Ottawa and New York City without any refusals. Not sure why Starbucks' couldn't facilitate this. Good thing as well I didn't attempt to use these coupons at the University of Ottawa Starbucks either, I would have probably had the servers there flummoxed.
Overall, Starbucks has disappointed me. I was there to try a beverage Starbucks had paid to promote through the printing and delivery of the coupons. Starbucks' own corporately branded store refused the coupon upon some lame excuse of not being a "franchise store". I left the store feeling puzzled and thought about working my way up Metcalfe Street to the corporate store. But changed my mind, I decided to duck into the nearby Tim Hortons instead where they welcome you with open arms and no lame excuses. The only dissapointment from Tim Hortons? I didn't win anything in the Roll Up The Rim contest.