Call it naiveté. Blind devotion. Obsessive addiction. Painful reality. Betrayal. But then, there are the pure facts. An affair ended the relationship.
The honest truth forced me to get real. I had taken my eye off the ball and was whacked upside the head. I just didn’t know I’d learn about the situation via a dispassionate email instead of from a face-to-face meeting or phone call. Understandably, my reactions followed the five stages of grief:
- Denial: “This is a mistake. This can’t be happening to me. My account was hacked. The email notification is bogus.”
- Anger: “What do you mean? Why me? It’s not fair! I’ve been loyal for over fourteen years!!”
- Bargaining: “Come on. Really? You never even gave me a heads up. Now that I know the truth, I’ll do things differently. Okay?”
- Depression: “I can’t believe this happened. I’m mortified. I’ve been devoted to you in every airport, city, and country I ever visited. I even defended you in Israel where they told me I could get better than you! I’ll never get out of bed or show my face in public again.”
- Acceptance (with some Rationalization): “I deserve it. The truth is, I’ve been cheating on you for the past four years. So, what you did to me was justified.”
* * *
My love affair with Starbucks is over. The official turn of events came via email when I was notified that my account was being downgraded from Gold to Green. Yes, Starbucks demoted me. Somehow I didn’t know that I had to log a minimum of “thirty stars” a year to maintain my status; I had been Gold for so long.
I started visiting Starbucks YEARS ago as soon as it opened near my place of work and home. I would find my car automatically heading in its direction two or three times a day; on the way to work, around lunchtime, and even on my way home. I ignored the fact that I was spending almost $15 a day (sometimes more!) on coffee. I couldn’t help myself. As soon as “debit” cards were available, I got one and made sure it always was preloaded with enough funds to expedite my transactions. Later, when the Starbucks App was available, I had it up and running on my iPhone even before the majority of stores had scanners installed to read my phone-stored barcode. I was a dedicated and devoted groupie. When my Gold debit card unexpectedly arrived in the mail, it simply served to acknowledge the deep bond that had been forged.
Why my slip in spending? About four years ago, my son bought me a Nespresso machine for Hanukkah. Best gift ever!!! The machine – the first of its kind I’ve ever owned – makes unbelievable espressos and cappuccinos. The variety of coffees and their associated strengths make Starbucks’ coffees simply taste blah. I now have my own coffee bar – my shrine – at home; complete with a half-dozen Starbucks-flavored syrups. And, the best part? My double-shot-hazelnut-cappuccino costs me about $1.35. The same drink is about $4.00 at Starbucks.
So, my hot-and-heavy relationship with the almighty Starbucks is now a casual friendship. My shiny Gold card is now a tarnished Green. Oh well.