Tag Archives: America

What Starbucks Does To You

I admit — in 2008, you knew me for my tweets (which sometimes included the unexpected full-length airing of city line announcements). In 2009, you probably knew me for my sentiment against the draconian “Green Dam” censorship software, because Auntie Beeb made a fairly big deal of that. In 2010, you knew me for the high speed trains — the last year before a clueless Sheng Guangzu unexpectedly slowed them down and managed, somehow, to let two trains rear-end each other.

(I’m a secret fanboy of Sheng Guangzu — you know, that bloke that did the tech tweaks to ultimately allow those two bullet trains rear end each other. These things come less often than alien intrusions, by the way. Note the irony in this sentence!)

In 2011, you knew me as nothing more than a reduced slave of the Starbucks empire. Here’s the thing: Tracy (that’s my wife) would go teach fellow students one-on-one and that’d desert me for two hours straight. I had to get stuff done — and too often it was at a Starbucks. They came out with the My Starbucks Rewards programme in late February this year, and after I realized that I got my stars with cumulative purchases (ie: I did not have to exceed CNY 50.— every time to get a star), I got in on the act.

In June 2011, I received my gold card thanks to unexpectedly huge tea consumption. (Much like @stinson, I don’t do coffee, although Tracy does.) At the end of the month, the Beijing-Shanghai HSR opened, shuttling us to Ji’nan, where I went into one of the more “recent” cities with a Starbucks. That basically made me Siren-addicted in Beijing, Tianjin, Ji’nan, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Zürich, San Francisco, London — holy carp, 15 cities. I know I’m looking forward to the imminent arrival of Starbucks Harbin (the real one), a visit to Starbucks Kunming and hopefully, on the next trip south, Starbucks Wuhan.

68 stars for 2011 — 7 months on. And they say they’d treat me right on every visit. Well, guess what: I’m waiting for Tracy now and I’ve just missed out on the opportunity to register a CNY 20 tea purchase. But hey, I’ve 68 stars. I’m good for at least another year or so. And you’ve seen my fist shake at those idiot scalpers on shanzhai Chinese versions of eBay who have the nerve to sell, at inflated prices, My Starbucks Rewards cards with “just” 50 stars on them.

In the words of my chemistry teacher — they’d be flogged if they weren’t shot. So much for “preserving” our “socialist market economy”… heh…