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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Chai is Dirty, Indeed

I’ve fallen victim to extortion at the fragrant tendrils of a mean Dirty Chai.

Three weeks ago, my dear friend Lori took me to one of our favorite coffee houses to introduce me to a fall beverage I’ve described right here in this forum as “liquid gingerbread in a cup.” On that visit, our two mugs worth plus a bonus scone Lori threw in ran us just under four bucks, if memory serves me correctly, and I believe it does, because I do recall thinking to myself: “What an amazing deal! Who needs Starbucks?”

I week or so later, I went back with my daughter and a 2 for 1 coupon. The barista looked a little puzzled, as the coupon applied to any menu item and here we were, blowing our savings on a mere cup of coffee, instead of, say, a free sandwich. But we weren’t hungry, the coupon was about to expire, and why not enjoy a little savings on some latte? I remember a slight pang on confusion as my total came to just under four bucks, same as last time but no scone, but I chalked the whole thing up as not really important as soon as I had the hot cup of steaming wonderful in my eager hands.

Fast forward another week and I’m back to get a couple of Chais to go, as a little thank you gesture for a friend who did me a favor. Imagine my surprise when the barista wants me to fork over $8.50. At this, I balked and asked for a receipt, but got nothing but a friendly little reminder that I had a coupon last time, and some mumbo jumbo about the concoction’s espresso content. As this was my first “to-go” experience, I figured maybe the rate for an in-house cup was for a smaller size, so I checked the menu price for a large latte and saw it was listed at $3.36. I’m no math whiz, but that’s $6.72 for a pair. I chalked the discrepancy up to tax and went on my way.

Fast forward to yesterday. I head back with my daughter, chagrined at the prospect of paying Starbucks-level pricing for a beverage that seemed such a good deal a mere two weeks ago, but craving a fix all the same. I was a little short on cash, but I figure I can scrape together the $8.50 for both of us to get a rainy day pick-me-up. Imagine my surprise when the barista now wants $9.55 for the same beverage set I got last week for $8.50. This time I absolutely insist on a receipt. All I got was a piece of paper that basically reiterated that yes, they want $9.55—no itemization of any kind.



I desperately want to chalk this up to tax and move forward, but I just can’t. According to the menu, the list price for the most exorbitant latte they sell is still $3.36. That’s still $6.72 for a pair. And I realize that taxes are bad, but even I know that a $1.05 increase in Chai tax in the space of a single week isn’t likely.

At this point, I’m smelling something Dirty, all right, and it’s not Chai.

8 comments:

Margaret Johnson said...

Wow! I'd like to know the coffee house but I can also understand not wanting to reveal the name and make them look bad. I was so excited at the beginning of the blog thinking there's a good Starbucks alternative. Going from $4 for 2 drinks and a scone to $9.55 for 2 drinks is insane! Did you tell the barista that if you wanted to pay Starbucks prices that you would have gone to Starbucks instead? Ha!

Margaret Johnson said...

Or maybe Lori got a SWEET deal the first time yall went.

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

So true, Margaret--Lori does get sweet deals wherever we go...

And you're right, like any good junkie I simply can not turn on my supplier...at least in a public sort of bad press forum....

Holly said...

That's crazy...we had a coffee house like that...one day they would charge for whip cream, the next time not, then it was non-fat milk, etc. UGH!
Holly @ 504 Main

Lisa said...

You need to go back with your receipt and order it again and see what happens. If you get another funky amount, then speak to a manager. I hate being ripped off! Also, by the way, I thought of you this week. A new Dunkin' Donuts is being built near CNU. :)

Holly said...

I have something for you on my blog.
Holly

Nicolasa said...

wow, that is a big hike! I can't believe that!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! :-) Hopefully you can work on your expectations like I am!

Charisse and Holly said...

Come on by for a little bloggy love from your friends at lifelaughlatte.blogspot.com.

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