Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Interesting Discount

I walked into Starbucks on Sunday morning between classes to pick up the free coffee I'd been promised for December for being a member for a whole year. After checking his console, the young man behind the counter apologetically informed me that he couldn't see the 'coupon' on the system.  Well, I thought, the system must have delayed in entering the coupon, as I definitely had a coupon for the month of December.  It was the 'anniversary' month.  Last December, Varya and I got a Starbucks card.  Oh well, I thought, they're not selling me coffee at the full price today!  :-)

I cheerily waved goodbye to the gentleman behind the counter who continued to apologize, and walked to my second preferred coffee place: McDonald's.  Their coffee isn't bad, the price is very reasonable and if you buy even a small breakfast, you get a free refill.  Hey ho, thought I.  I'll just get a coffee and toddle off to class.

I walked up to the counter there and asked the smiling young man behind the counter for a coffee.  He looked puzzled for an instant, then picked up the menu and showed me that if I got a ham muffin and coffee (breakfast combo), it would only cost me RMB 6, whereas a coffee by itself would cost me RMB 8.80.  I first dismissed it and requested a coffee once again.  He again politely suggested that I would save money by getting the breakfast combo of ham muffin and coffee.  I said no again, and he politely acquiesced and entered my order into his machine.  Then it struck me - why was I not taking this?  Instead of offering me a muffin WITH the coffee at a discounted rate, they were actually going to give me cheaper coffee WITH a free refill if I took the ham muffin.  AMAZING!  I changed the order and told the young man that I would take the ham muffin breakfast combo.  He was delighted and changed the order on his machine.  And there I was - a ham muffin AND a coffee for CHEAPER than JUST a coffee.

How on EARTH does that work?  How do they make their money this way?  It's awesome for the consumer - I loved my mid-morning free snack and cheaper coffee, and I wasn't complaining for sure, but I sure was puzzled.

Still puzzled.  No kidding.  But happy and looking forward to next Sunday morning, where I'm going to do the same thing!  :-)  Or maybe I'll do it on Saturday morning this time, and take Tessa with me.  :-)

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