Real 'Friends' Don't Use Starbucks Mobile Gifting

starbucks app for iphoneStarbucks has a new trick up its sleeve to make all of us even more addicted to their frappuccinos and venti lattes: A brand new iPhone app. Until now, there was one Starbucks app, which would help you find your nearest fix, and another, which allowed you to input gift card data into the app, so the app would become the gift card and give you a neat little iPhone-housed bar code you could hand over to the barista. But the new "Starbucks for iPhone" app does it ALL, and then some!

The "then some"? Mobile gifting. No need to actually go into a brick and mortar Starbucks shop and buy a plastic gift card. You can now just buy one on the app and virtually send it to your Facebook friends or email contacts. Totally cool, right? (Sure beats spending real money on virtual "credits" for FarmVille or whatever.)

But the advent of this feature does bear noting that there ARE instances in which one should definitely gift someone in person.

  • When you're networking. Whether you're looking for a new job or new client -- especially in a really competitive field (like media, theater, film, basically anything you're "passionate" about, but you have to pull teeth to get anywhere in) -- sometimes you have to schmooze people. And the best way to do this is by taking them out. Usually for coffee. It would not be wise to virtually gift your potential future employer. Have the decency to actually meet them for that soy cappuccino.
  • When you're apologizing. Maybe your kid hit another kid at school, your dog pooped on your neighbor's lawn, or you tapped your co-worker's car when you were in a mad rush. Sometimes instances like these require a little "hey I'll buy ya coffee" to smooth things over. If you want them to think you're actually sorry, you're probably better off actually bringing that person a real-live Starbucks drink AND goodie.
  • When you're flirting. Maybe you want to brighten up your hubby's day or hit on that hot guy who works in the neighboring office. Either way, it seems like it would come off as just a wee bit lazy to try to impress them by sending a mobile gift card. Instead, try finding out what their drink of choice is (my guy hearts the tall iced Americano) and randomly presenting it to them. "Hey, I was at Starbucks and thought of you" is a winning come-on.

Do you think you'd use the new Starbucks app? What do you think of the idea of mobile gifting?

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