The Coffee Shop Cheater


For years, Julianne has gotten her morning coffee from this adorable European style cafe around the corner from her office.  She’s friendly with the owner, and all the baristas know her by name.  The one problem… the cafe doesn’t offer coffee cards for their regulars, and they never reward their patrons with anything on the house.

Mind you, Julianne has never thought twice about any of this – that is until a new chain opened up across the street.  On a whim, she went into the new coffee house to try out their morning brew.  Not only did their coffee rival her favorite morning cup-o-joe, but it was 15 cents cheaper, and with a coffee card, every 10th cup was free.

A total loyalist by nature, Julianne felt horrible that she cheated on the cafe – and liked it. The last thing she would want is for them to go out of business as a result of the new competition.  For a few extra pennies, should Juliane continue to support her favorite shop, or should she save those pennies and leave it up to her friends to compete with the realities of good customer service and the nature of capitalism?

What would you do?  Tell us what you think!

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4 Responses to “The Coffee Shop Cheater”

  1. Jiminy Drambuie says:

    If she wants to be “Fabulous” and Frugal, she will suck up the extra pennies and continue to support her local shop. Chains, by nature can continue to undercut local competition even if the local lowers their coffee prices a few cents.

    She might suggest a loyalty card to her regular coffee house in order to keep in step with the corporate bully across the street, but don’t be disgruntled if they can’t afford to do so. However, they just might do it. Also, frugal or not, you cannot put a price on good customer service or a barista who knows your name and order. :)

  2. Simone says:

    I would stay loyal to the tried & true and support a small business owner who knows my name.
    That said, I also think it would be wise for Julianne to have a little friendly chat w/ the owner of the place she regularly goes to and let them know that the place across the street has loyalty cards for every 10th cup.
    It’s ridiculous that this small business doesn’t reward their regulars with an occasional freebie such as a cookie or cup of coffee. I used to go to a bar after work for years and the bartender never gave me a top-up on my wine or a free one. I politely mentioned it to the manager, and the next time I was there, they gave me my 2nd glass of wine on the house. After they they would do this from time to time, and it made me feel like they vlaued my business.

  3. Angie says:

    That is capitalism at work, both read to be local, one has something she will benefit from, one does not. If the first business chooses to fail due to a lack of insight on customer loyalty programs than the business system is working, if the first shop looks at the competition and addresses it, then that too is the system working. Its all to provide us as a patron the best possible service out there. Loyalty programs do just that, they arrive to give us the consumer the best service.

  4. Katherene` says:

    She can be loyal and true to her original #1 Coffee house, but why not change up every now and than. Change is good. I would save the extra pennies and every now and than, when I’m tired of the same ole same ole, head over to the new coffee house. Varity is the spice of life. It doesn’t mean that I’m not loyal, but I do love change. Think about it! You are still supporting your friends that you have created at your favorite coffee house while spluering ever now and than at the newer digs. Best of both worlds! And it’s a win, win for everyone.

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