Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I'm Feeling Psychologically Manipulated

It's probably my own fault.  I got a Starbucks gift card for my birthday a couple weeks ago so I downloaded the Starbucks app to my cell phone, loaded the gift card onto it, and the manipulation began!  I then purchased a drink via the app and it seemed like each morning after that I would wake up to a notice on the app about about a super special "star dash" or whatever it is they call it.  It would say something like buy a drink today and get 25 extra stars!  And then there would be more special star rewards if I buy one drink a day for a set number of days.  And then there would be a time limit.  And then there would be a note saying 'you didn't earn all of the stars you could have' since there were days when I didn't get a Starbucks drink.

When you collect 125 bonus stars you are rewarded with a free drink through the app.  The part I didn't like about this is the time limit which develops a sense of urgency in the user and the part where they want you to buy a drink every single day for a set period of time.  I certainly don't need a 400 calorie beverage every single day but if I didn't get one every day I wouldn't get all of my bonus stars and then I would feel like I really missed out on a great deal.

I much prefer my punch card for Baskin Robbins coffee drinks because of it's simplicity and lack of manipulation.  At BR, I get a dollar off coupon on the receipt each time I buy a drink and a punch card which would give me a free drink after purchasing seven drinks.  There is no time limit so I can get one drink a week and eventually earn a free drink.  With the Starbucks app it seems like someone put a lot of effort into developing a method to psychologically target people to make them buy more than they should, spend more money, and buy more often.

So yesterday I got my free drink from Starbucks with my bonus stars then promptly deleted the app from my phone thus taking myself off of the "star reward" treadmill.  Whew...I'm glad I'm done with that--I feel more relaxed already!

On a side note, I came across this article today about the way the Starbucks app tracks its users.  eekkkk


  1. You are so awesome! I don't believe I've truly read through something like that before.
    So nice to find somebody with some genuine thoughts on this
    subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This website is something that's needed on the internet,
    someone with a bit of originality!

  2. Drinking 400 calories each day would take a week to gain almost a pound. None of us need that--gaining 50 pounds a year.