I was purchasing a rather delicious and indulgent White Chocolate Mocha at My Cloud Coffee recently and the topic of loyalty cards came up. I just couldn’t believe that there are people out there who would want to commit to doing anything to preserve their Costabucks VIP Gold Card.
As I sat down and savoured my hot beverage I cast my mind back to a dramatic scene in BBC1’s fine adaptation of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” in which the central character, Pierre is imprisoned. He was a man of wealth and used to fine dining but now famished and in dispair in a prison cell. A fellow inmate at the opposite end of the social spectrum took pity on him and shared his last food ration, a humble potato. As Pierre is about to eat the half a potato in a single mouthful, his sage like friend, encourages him to pause, he hands him some salt and encourages him to take small bite size pieces to savour the taste.
The reality is that in our consumer driven world of slick marketing and shiny aspirational lifestyle choices, it seems brand trumps substance. Many of us have, like Pierre have forgotten to pause and actually taste what we are drinking or eating. There’s no denying that the pace of life is relentless and whir of the treadmill constant, yet we may just be able to bring a significant incremental pleasure to our days by just putting a little more thought into what we are consuming.
I’m also of a certain age where I can no longer just get away with consuming half a dozen or so “Latachinos” in a day without there being a serious calorie overload. I do enjoy a good smooth espresso or a flat white so for me, if I’m restricting myself to just a few coffees a day then I want to make sure that they’re really good ones rather than just tasteless synthetic cardboard versions of the real thing!
So back to the loyalty schemes. How on earth have we got to a stage where consumers are prepared to pre pay upfront for an inferior product to maintain some sort of “status”, when there really is no intrinsic value to that status! What’s more if you only ever drink Costabucks coffee , you will be massively missing out on the huge variety of roasts and blends on offer from the growing number of independent coffee shops that are out there fighting back to give us diversity and choice.
Let’s learn to taste, dare to be different and next time we want a coffee, forget about loyalty cards and instead settle for the greater reward of a fantastic coffee that tastes amazing!!