By Tana Kosiyabong
About a month ago I received a coupon from Starbucks offering a free Iced Coffee. Of all the coupons I’ve ever used, Starbucks coupons are my favorites. The offers are always generous with no strings attached. Even though I’m normally not a big fan of coupons, Starbucks’ are one of the exceptions. Whenever their new coupons come out, I try to get as many as I can. It’s as simple as picking through the paper recycling bin next to the mailbox in my condo lobby. You’ll be surprised how many people had thrown them away. This year I scored the total of 5 coupons – or 5 free Starbucks Iced Coffee with no strings attached.
On the other hand, McDonald’s coupons usually come with some sort of strings attached. This free coffee coupon is one of those buy-one-get-one-free offers. I don’t know about others, but I only want one iced coffee at a time. Though I must mention that the McDonald’s free-coffee-for-two-week promo back in April 2009 rocked my world.
Inspired by these coupons, I decided to take on a new Cheap Appetite mission. That’s why, yesterday, I set out to redeem a free Iced Coffee at the Starbucks in my neighborhood, Gastown. As usual, I got a small — which I refused to say “tall” — iced coffee without a guilt trip from the cashier. The coffee had a very strong flavor that last even when the ice was melting. I spent almost an hour there. Though I had finished my coffee long before then, it was really nice to just sit on a comfy armchair and watch people passing by. Thanks Starbucks for this free, yet very tasty and pleasant, experience. And thanks G-d that I still have a couple more Starbucks coupons left.
This afternoon, I went to get two Iced Coffee at the Tinseltown’s McDonald’s. One was free. The other was not. Each of them was about the same size as the Starbucks. But the actual retailed price is $1.59 vs. $2.10 by the Starbucks. Plus you may add a shot of vanilla or caramel flavored syrup at no charge. For a fair comparison, however, I chose not to add any flavor shot. McDonald’s Iced Coffee was a bit weak compare to the Starbucks. After a few minutes, I no longer tasted the coffee flavor, but even so, it was quite creamy and not too sweet. It’s more convenient for people on the go. I didn’t feel like staying there as long as I did at the Starbucks. McDonald’s was designed for a quick sitting. But I felt gratified to give the panhandler nearby my extra cup of iced coffee. That was my good deed for the day.
STARBUCKS FREE ICED COFFEE: ©©©©©
MCDONALD’S FREE*! ICED COFFEE: ©©©½