Starbucks launches two lame apps

Kim LaCapria - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 8:53 p.m. ET

As a busy blogger, when I make my way up the basement stairs and expose my tender green skin to sunlight, I don’t want to have to spend my precious outside time interacting with other people. With the Chipotle app, I never have to listen to anyone try to tell me for the eleventy-hundred times that the red beans have bacon in them, is that okay? Because I just have to mumble my one-syllable name and grab my food and leave. I can even pay for it within the app, limiting my human interaction that much more.

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I’m specific. I like my stuff a certain way. I have never once deviated from my order at Chipotle, and I tend to only tweak my Starbucks order once a year. A Venti Doubleshot no ice with whip and ten pumps of white mocha. Easy. But not exactly, because the “baristas” always think I’m gaming them by paying $4 for a coffee, so they try to make me get a White Mocha and add espresso to it at at buck a shot or whatever they’re charging, magically transforming my $4 coffee into a $7 coffee. Yes, I’d love to pay even more for the already marked up same thing!

But the only thing worse than espresso drinks at Starbucks is espresso drinks at independent shops, of which one once tried to charge me $12 for a quad espresso. Starbucks, for coffee, offers much more ease of use than other coffee shops and they usually take debit/credit cards, which was why I was so disappointed to hear about their lackluster iPhone apps- MyStarbucks and Starbucks Card Mobile. There are two, which in and of itself is annoying. There are a lot of great apps, which means that to really have a chance to use them, you can’t have them all.

Annoyingly, the roll out is slow and limited, and nowhere on the East Coast:

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Unless you’re geographically very lucky, you won’t be able to pay for a venti frappuccino with your iPhone just yet. Only 16 Starbucks outlets, eight in its home turf of Seattle and eight in Silicon Valley, can currently handle the barcode-based gift cards. These are stores already internally designated as test spots for new Starbucks technology.

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But what are you missing? Instead of the drawn out process of directly paying for your drink, you get to transfer money from your account to your phone and then pay from there. Who doesn’t love extra steps?

But can you order a drink? No! However, you can make a pretend one, and find out after you put stuff in your virtual coffee what’s in your coffee! The stuff you just put in it! Technology is so amazing. Then you can go order the drink you just simulated by verbally repeating your order to the barista. And wait while your drink is queued behind all the people who ordered first.

So while the apps offer a store locator between them (kind of useless if you patronize Starbucks and work in an urban area, you already know exactly where they are) and some perks for those who use the cards, it looks like both are not jam-packed with features if you just want to order and pay for a coffee.


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