|Photo courtesy of Starbucks|
Under the new system, you need to earn 125 stars for a free food or drink item, which is $62.50. Now if someone said "Hey, if you spend more than $60, you get a free coffee!" I would say that's a horrible deal. But when it's cloaked in shiny stars that pop up on my Starbucks app, it awakens some urge buried since kindergarten to get shiny gold stars.
Finance guru Preet Banerjee serves up a good breakdown of the new Starbucks reward system on YouTube for anyone who's as obsessed as I am with Starbucks. Basically, if you spend less than $5, you were better off under the old system, which rewarded patrons with a free item after 12 visits.
So here I am at Panera, sipping herbal tea and trying to get into the writing groove. I switched tables three times to get comfortable. The first one was too close to the soda machine, with its distracting whirs and gurgles. The second one was too close to a large party discussing something boring. The third table lacked an outlet.
Starbucks, I can't quit you... but my budget needs to quit you for a while.
Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.