By Tana Kosiyabong
Some of you may wonder why the word “Cheap” and “Starbucks” appear right next to each other in the same sentence. Normally these two words don’t commingle, as if “Cheap” has a court’s restraining order against Starbucks, who’s not allowed to come within a hundred feet. Or maybe it’s vice versa.
Regardless of the norm, this dysfunctional relationship was bound to change when I received a new coupon from Starbucks – a buy-one-get-one-free Vivanno Smoothie offer. Even though the coupon wasn’t as impressive as their previous no strings attached free offers, for most couples, this coupon is a must keep. They can enjoy their own smoothies without fighting and bickering, unless they are one of those newly weds who would rather drink from the same cup with two straws.
For a single guy like me, however, this coupon is really annoying and degrading. It reminds me that I’m a minority in a society where most things are tailored for couples. First, the invention of “Dinner for Two.” And now they have the nerve to come up with “Smoothies for Two?” Enough’s enough. I refuse to continue being a victim of this single person injustice. So I decided to have both smoothies for myself! Though it sounds a bit pathetic, I was going to stand my ground.
That’s why I went to the Starbucks in Gastown again last week. Typically, this poor store doesn’t get much money from me. I always go there with some sort of Starbucks free offer coupon. But this time I had to pay for my smoothies. I ordered a Strawberry Banana and a Banana Chocolate. Since it was a BOGO offer, I got two smoothies for $4.45 plus tax. (This may sound, in a sense, cheap, but for a normal single person with nothing to prove, one smoothie is plenty.) I asked the cashier if she would hold off on making the second one until I had finished the first. As I expected, she said, “Yes.” The Starbucks staff is always accommodating. “Thank you very much,” I replied.
Then I stepped aside and watched another staff member preparing the Strawberry Banana smoothie for me. She put milk, ice, strawberry juice from a carton, protein and fiber powder, and a chilled banana into the blender. After a couple of minutes, I got a healthy smoothie.
The first sip was disappointing. It was a little bland. I’ve had much tastier smoothies than this. But those smoothies were made with sorbet. They were not meant to be as healthy as the ones from Starbucks, but the processed juice from a box was not naturally nutritious either. I would have preferred the fresh alternative. In any case, I hardly tasted the strawberry flavor in my smoothie. It was way overpowered by the flavor of that banana. However, it was very filling.
After I finished the first smoothie, I went back to the cashier and got the Banana Chocolate. This time, she added chocolate syrup instead of the juice. Although I could taste a hint of chocolate, it was also overpowered by the banana flavor. I wished it were richer and more chocolaty.
By this time, I was already full at a quarter way into the second smoothie. But I hate to throw any food away. So, I forced myself to drink the rest. Once I was done, my stomach was about to explode. I felt a bit sick, but nothing serious. I had to just sit still for about 15 minutes before I could stand up. I guess that was the price I paid for standing my ground (other than the $4.45 plus tax).
The worst news was that I forgot to bring a memory card for my camera. Therefore, I’ll have to do this mission all over again to get the pictures of these two smoothies for my blog fans. But luck was still partially on my side. I found another Starbucks coupon in my condo’s paper recycling bin. Otherwise this could have been a very costly Cheap Appetite mission. I hope you enjoy the pictures because it costs me an extra $4.45 plus tax and another 15 minutes of sitting still:)
At less than 300 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber, Starbucks may succeed in making healthy smoothies, but they are far from making them delicious.
Starbucks Strawberry Banana Vivanno Smoothie: ©© ½
Starbucks Banana Chocolate Vivanno Smoothie: ©© ½
P.S. Earlier this afternoon, I went to complete my mission at the Tinseltown’s Starbucks. The smoothies were surprisingly much tastier than the Gastown ones. Therefore, I decided to give one extra cheapo to both of the Tinseltown’s Starbucks smoothies.