A Brief Review on the New Starbucks Metal Card

Starbucks new Slate Card

The new Starbucks Metal card, an example of how different social classes use different payment forms.

I realize I’m a bit late in writing this, but I work for a living and only write blog posts when I have free time, which is close to never. Anyway, a few weeks ago I received an email from Starbucks announcing they had a new type of gift card, officially named the Starbucks Metal card. What makes this one different? It is stainless steel. Oh and it costs $450. $50 goes toward the “manufacturing fee”. So you get $400 loaded on a metal card, that you just paid $50 for. Sure, you also get a “free” gold membership. This means you get a free drink on your birthday and the equivalent to having 30 stars in 12 months (every time you make a purchase, you get a star).

For many, I think this is ridiculous. However, for the sake of not writing for hours, I will just dive into three.

First of all, there were only 5,000 cards to be sold. So basically, they were sold out as soon as the sale began. Therefore, only a small percentage of the population could receive them. It’s safe to say that less than the 1% of all American citizens could get them. This is just by speculation, but the top 1% of of Americans probably don’t go to Starbucks. I can imagine there is a more luxurious coffee shop that is out there that I don’t know about that the 1%ers regularly attend. Or they just have their own personal barista. But, of the Starbucks customers, there is probably a top 1%.

Secondly, the card was sold on Gilt.com, which basically clarifies that this card is only meant for those in the higher class. If anyone has not looked on Gilt.com, you should. I have an account, only because I was interested, not because I can find anything that I could pay for in my financial situation. Don’t want to pay $1195 for that new D&G trench? Well, now you can pay $595 on Gilt.com. Total steal (not). So clearly based on other merchandise on the site, one can tell that this card was not intended for the average Joe (pun intended). Mostly, you’re just paying for social status.

Lastly, because it’s a card for social status, I feel like the card is not needed at all. Now that there is the Starbucks iPhone app, shouldn’t people in the higher class just use their iPhone to pay for Starbucks? I have an iPhone, though I’m not in the 1%, but I think if you want to really show social status, you use your smart phone to pay for your Starbucks. That is not why I use my phone, however. I use my phone to pay because it’s so much easier.

I realize it’s a little petty of me to be talking about this because I am a Starbucks customer. This means that every so often, I pay $4 for a cup of coffee. I am not a weekly customer, more of a every so often special occasion customer. Because frankly caffeine makes my heart beat rapid, and because it’s more than I should be spending on coffee. However, most of the time I use gift cards or debit rewards points.

Anyway, I believe the Starbucks Metal Card is just one more consumerism ploy in order to show a higher social status.

My Response to the Trending “Health care Crisis” Photo on Facebook

Recently several of my friends have been sharing the “health care crisis” photo about the situation involving a young physician and a medicaid patient. You know, the one with the male physician in the green scrubs. Basically, Dr. Starner Jones (the writer) is writing a letter to the President explaining his problems with the current medicaid system. Here is an excerpt from the post online:

“During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive
Shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive 
Brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone. While glancing over her
Patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as “Medicaid”! During my examination of her, the patient informed 
Me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer. 
And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman’s health care? I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the
Result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of culture”, a culture in which it is perfectly
Acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. 
It is a culture based on the irresponsible credo that “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. “

I’m an optimist, so I generally give people the benefit of a doubt. I try not to judge people based on their looks, nor judge them at all. I too, work in the health care field in both a pharmacy and hospital, so I see various angles of medicare and medicaid patients. Sure, there may be people that cheat the system and use their SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) card to buy pretzels while using extra money to buy cigarettes and beer, but we just can’t judge someone based on their appearance. We don’t know her situation. Maybe she got the tattoos done before she started needing financial assistance. Maybe she gets her name brand clothes from the Goodwill and her shoes could have been a knockoff. A new phone? Maybe it wasn’t hers. If I had a loved one that didn’t have a cell phone go to the hospital, I would give them mine to borrow so we could find out how they were doing while they were there.

Of the 311 million Americans (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.htm), only 52.6 million are on medicaid. That’s only 16.9% of Americans on Medicaid. Welfare has been significantly cut since 1996 (http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/09/news/economy/welfare-reform/index.htm). If part of my wages goes to someone that could not afford healthcare due to their own means, than I’m fine with that!

Anyway, as far as his statement that the problem is a “crisis of culture”, I do agree to that. However, it is not just welfare patients that have the mentality, “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Unfortunately, health insurance is used by many Americans as the backup fund. Instead of taking medications to prevent disease and choosing a lifestyle that promotes health, many Americans just live the way they want until they have a serious ailment, such as a heart attack. As a society, we can work to keep healthcare costs down by taking better care of ourselves so that expensive healthcare situations do not occur. The Healthy People 2020 Act is working for improving health and educating people on how to live in a healthy matter. 

It’s not just the government that needs to work on healthcare reform, but we Americans, as well. The number one leading cause of death is heart disease, but it doesn’t have to be if Americans took better care of themselves by eating properly and exercising. We need to work on having better health so that patients that truly need healthcare can have it.