Monday, January 05, 2015

Awake No More

Last week, Starbuck's made a change that has rocked my world.  Without consulting me, they changed their tea vendor.  Every store in the chain, all 21,160 of them, will now offer teas by Teavana instead of Tazo.  This changes everything for me.  Because just about every work morning in my career for the past 10+ years, I've stopped off at my local Starbuck's to purchase a Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Sandwich and a Venti Awake tea.  Being the creature of habit that I am, not to mention being brand loyal to a fault, not being able to do this any more completely upsets my morning routine.

This change in tea vendors is coming on the heels of another change Starbuck's made recently.  Sometime last year, they also changed their Turkey Bacon Sandwich.  This was upsetting not only to me, but to many other loyal customers.  The new version, in my opinion, is not nearly as good.  I tried to adapt to it, but just couldn't.  This change bothered me, but at least I still had my favorite beverage.  Until now.

Tazo's Awake tea is an English Breakfast blend.  Teavana also offers an English Breakfast blend.  They most likely taste similar, but that's not the point.  I have a history with Awake tea.  It's been a source of comfort and familiarity for me.  No matter where I was in the world, I could count on Starbuck's to make me feel at ease.  The taste would always be the same; there'd be no guesswork and no surprises.  And I think that's actually the point - it was something I didn't have to think about.  I could trust my own decision.

I have lovely memories and emotions walking around either alone or with friends while holding those 20 fl. oz of malty deliciousness;  chilly autumn days walking though DC, brisk walks to work in Chicago, endlessly job-searching in Miami, walking around Times Square, Pike Place Fish Market, Copley Square, Old City, Bourbon Street, Hollywood Boulevard, Chinatown . . . the list goes on and on.  And close friends will recall that time when an ignorant motorist had the unmitigated gall to blow a horn at me while I was in the crosswalk.  Yes, Awake has even defended me.

This Christmas, my in-laws bought me a box of Awake tea.  And I know I can order it online - it's not like I can never taste it again.  It's just that I've been doing this action for so long that I now need to change my routine.  Ordering a Venti Awake simply has a more melodic rhythm to it than ordering a Venti English Breakfast.

Starbuck's, you have disappointed me yet again - twice in the same year!  It's okay, though.  I'll be fine.  And so will my money as I seek out another breakfast vendor for my morning commute.


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