Customers Are Angry About Starbucks’ Sneaky Price Hike

A Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed on Monday, Nov. 21, that the company raised some of its prices within the first 48 hours following the U.S. presidential election results.

According to TheStreet, the receipts for a Venti red eye coffee with one shot of espresso from multiple New York City Starbucks locations indicated a 6.8 percent increase in price compared to the previous week – starting Nov. 17 the drink cost $5.17; on Nov. 14, the same drink cost $4.84.

“Prices on all the coffee, frappuccinos, everything went up after Election Day,” a barista told TheStreet.

The Starbucks spokeswoman revealed that the company made a price increase of 10 cents to 30 cents on certain bakery items and select cold beverages such as the cold brew on Nov. 10, adding that Starbucks expects the average customer ticket to increase by 0.5 percent due to the adjustments.

“We continually evaluate pricing on a product-by-product and market-by-market basis in our stores in order to balance our business needs while continuing to provide value to our loyal customers and to attract new customers,” a Starbucks rep told Consumerist.

Customers, of course, took to Twitter to voice their opinions:

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Some tweets more dramatic than others:

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One user, however, exposed a silver lining:

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Despite the increase, approximately 90 percent of the beverages have not changed in price. Prices for hot brewed coffee, tea, espresso, and prepared items have all remained the same. According to the spokeswoman, cold brew coffee has been the same price since it was initially introduced two years ago, until the recent increase.

Some of you may be thinking, “It’s just 30 cents; what’s the big deal?” And while 30 cents may not seem like a lot, let’s look at the big picture, shall we?

Last year, Starbucks reportedly raised its prices on most beverages by five to 20 cents. Then in July, the company raised its prices once again, by 30 cents. This third, surprise hike blindsided customers, leaving us all to wonder whether prices will rise again within the next few months.

In lieu of price hikes and red cups, Starbucks has found itself stuck in the middle of a political mess.

One week before the presidential election – a week before the price hike – Starbucks debuted a green cup intended to encourage unity during what Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz described as a “divisive time in our country.”

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“The green cup and the design represent the connections Starbucks has as a community with its partners (employees) and customers. During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” read Shultz official statement.

Instead of embracing the unity cups, some customers became critical, accusing the chain of “political brainwashing.”

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“We have a culture war to win. I’m a Trump supporter. I thought when Trump won, I might just wake up and America would be great again. Guess what, it wasn’t,” Treadstone told The Washington Post. “We have a lot of work to do. We have hearts and minds to win. Obviously, a lot of people aren’t happy with us, and we need to stand up for our freedom and our First Amendment.”

In response to the #TrumpCup drama, Starbucks released a statement claiming that writing customers’ names on cups has been a “fun ritual” at its stores.

“Rarely has it been abused or taken advantage of. We hope and trust that our customers will continue to honor that tradition,” the Seattle coffee chain said. “We don’t require our partners to write or call out names.”

Just last week, a video showing a Florida man harassing a Starbucks barista went viral. Real estate remodeler, David Sanguesa told ABD affiliate WPLG that the barista refused to serve him even though he already paid because he is a white, male Trump supporter.

“Because I voted Trump! Trump! You lost! Now give me my money back,” Sanguesa said, moving toward the register. “What is your name? I want your name. I want your card. You’re garbage. You’re complete trash.”

In a statement regarding the incident, Starbucks said that “embracing diversity and treating each other with respect and dignity is core to Starbucks values and something our partners take great pride in showing.”

See the video here:

[Featured Image by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images]