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.