Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I've been noticing lately that my usual cup of Starbucks - a tall mocha - is not being fully filled with coffee by the baristas. It's happened at several of my usual Starbucks locations - Spring Forest and Falls of Neuse, and Triangle Town Center Barnes & Noble.

I've registered complaints with both Barnes & Noble and Starbucks corporate and will post back if I hear anything from them.

Could this be just another company following the popular but deceptive trend of offering less product in their packaging, without reducing the price?

Rice A Roni, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, Charmin Bath tissue (same number of sheets per roll, but the width of the sheets is noticeably smaller), and nearly all of the major potato chip / snack food manufactureres are guilty of this. I can understand, in this economy, trying different things to reduce costs, but deceptive marketing such as this is a dangerous game. Manufacturers risk long-standing customer loyalty, and degradation of the brand name due to customer mistrust.

I will be interested to see if I do hear back from Starbucks. For now, I won't be buying coffee from them. Depending on their response, it will be a permanent decision.

Of note - Target gets an A+ in my book for customer relations. A complaint to them about their new Up & Up brand, which is of a lesser quality at a higher price (in my opinion) net a personalized email, a $3 store coupon, and a promise to talk to their buyers regarding the issues I had.

Lowes Hardware, on the other hand, gets a solid D for customer relations. When I had a problem with a pendant light fixture bought from them that resulted in having to reinstall three lights on various occasions due to cheap quality and manufacturing that was later addressed in a new design, I got a basic shrug of the shoulders. Not only did I have to re-wire three lights due to their poor product, a hassle to say the least, they could offer me no apology, no promise of fixing the issue, and no sor of coupon or other offer to make amends.

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