I’ve had this strange feeling looming in the back of my mind for a few days now. For a while I assumed it was the UnderToad, and pushed it away, believing it would resolve itself as long as I didn’t acknowledge it with too much thought.

It isn’t the UnderToad.

I’m lead believe this foreign and somewhat uncomfortable feeling is that of guilt.

I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about Starbucks.  Not lately.  Just generally.  In life.  After learning to drink coffee in Spokane, WA, where the independent coffee shop is more abundant than hot dog vendors in NYC (and just as convenient), I’ve ragged on Starbucks for everything from the coffee itself (meh) to prices to the high annoyance factor that comes from trying to get work done there when it is the only coffee shop in town.

Last Thursday, this was delivered:

This unmarked box (without a card or anything) includes three pounds of coffee (light, medium, and dark roasts), the most expensive french press available in a Starbucks store right now, a coffee scoop that puts Mr. Coffee to shame, a “passport to flavor” book (in which I am to record my coffee enjoyment journey), and a $15 gift card, in case this isn’t enough.

After a five minute very strategic Google search, I discovered that this was one of a thousand prizes awarded from a sweepstakes I apparently entered a month ago, and promptly forgot about.

For many, this would be a moment to announce, “Omigosh!  I never win anything!”  For me, this is entirely untrue.  I frequently sit in the magical seat with the sticker at conferences and retreats, allowing me to take home the center piece on the table.  I have been the tenth caller on the radio more times than I can remember.  Once, at such a free concert in HS, my name was drawn out of a glass bowl for free tickets to another concert.

When I ask for free things (like T-shirts), I very often get them.

So what does this all have to do with my current Starbucks-bashing guilt?

In addition to the $100 prize package above, another five dollar Starbucks gift card arrived for me yesterday in the mail.  It is directly from Starbucks, according to the envelope, and I have no idea what it is for.  This is the third gift card I’ve received randomly in the mail this year.

I also recently downloaded Viggle on my iPhone.  I heard about it on Ellen (I think) and the basic principle behind this app is that you watch TV, “check in” using your phone, and wrack up points that can later be redeemed for gift cards.   This certainly isn’t one of those “get rich quick” schemes, as eighteen points equals one cent, but for about ten total minutes of “work” over the past eight days, I earned my first reward today.

A five dollar Starbucks gift card.

Anyone else getting the impression that the Starbucks underground is working overtime to convert me into a faithful follower for life?

I’m going to keep complaining.

“Not convinced, Starbucks!  Keep the freebies coming!”

Suddenly Starbucks

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