05 April 2007

Italian for "not quite"

Although I’m not a big fan of coffee shop chains, in the centre of Cambridge there isn’t really much choice and although Nero usually has the best price-taste ratio, their Market Square shop is always rammed and besides, Nero’s triple-serving policy irritates my innate sense of fairness when it comes to queuing.

This means that it’s Costa or Mudbucks and that is barely even a choice. Of course, they do literally put the cost into Costa at Costa but what’s 20p among caffeine fiends?

I have been intrigued by the recent addition of their Costa Cards – rechargeable cards that you can top up online or in-store and just hand over at the till. Apart from the fact that this doesn’t save any time whatsoever, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would sign up for this given that there were no savings or rewards of any kind. Grazie ma no grazie, Costa.

When I was in their Sidney Street branch earlier today, I was intrigued by their sign that announced you could save £2 off your next cappuccino. You just had to ask a member of staff or pick up a leaflet at the till. Being suspicious and cynical I decided that there was no way they were just going to effectively give you a free coffee for no reason and it turned out that I was proven right when my eye fell on the small stack of Costa Cards by the till. It turns out that you get £2 of free credit when you first sign up for a Costa Card. Che sorpresa…

Still, at least Costa have realised that if people are going to pre-pay for their coffees (and therefore be chained in to one brand), they are going to expect something in return (especially when these cards don’t really add any convenience whatsoever).

Just so they are aware, though: costa is really Italian for “it costs,” as you might expect. That’s probably too much pedantry for one day though.

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