I can’t remember when I started collecting Starbucks gift cards and cup sleeves. I don’t think I made a conscious effort to collect them. I think one day I just turned around and I had three of them. You know what they say? If two’s a coincidence, then three’s a collection!
My first Starbucks gift card is dated 2004. That’s curious to me because I didn’t become a hardcore Starbucks fan unit at least 2006/2007. This card is years before that. Why would I have kept it? It must have been just some random gift.
If it was so random, then it strikes me odd as to why I would have kept it since the next card in my collection didn’t turn up until 2006. Did I have other cards in between that I tossed out? If so, why did I keep the one from 2004?
The 2nd and 3rd oldest cards in my collection are from 2006…..
…and 2007. It looks like I was averaging one a year.
Hum…..I wonder if these were stocking stuffers?
The reason I say I became a hardcore Starbucks drinker around 2007 is because my Gold Card states I’ve been a member since 2007. I know I drank Starbucks every day for a long, long time before I signed up for the Gold Card. Judging by the dates of my cards, it looks like I went full-throttle come 2008. That’s understandable because I do make it a habit of telling people that they’re always safe with Starbucks and iTunes gift cards when it comes to Christmas or my Birthday. I’ve also dropped some hints at work that’s resulted in a few gift cards come holiday grab-bag time. I even fixed an iPod of friend at work and was rewarded with a gift card. Very nice. Nothing says “thank you” like a Venti Pike!
Basically, I never made a conscious effort t to collect these. I’ve just been throwing them all in a coffee mug in my computer room over the years and haven’t been paying it any mind. Same goes for the coffee sleeves.
I remember when I started “holding on” to these. I won’t say “collecting” because I wasn’t “collecting” them…..yet.
My brother lives on the West coast. He came out to visit back in 2008. We hit the city for the day and did a bunch of cool stuff. I remember we stopped in Barnes and Noble for something. I grabbed a cup of coffee while I was there. I remember seeing the Starbucks sign and thinking, “Sweet! I’ll get a cup for the ride home while I’m here”. Strangely enough, it wasn’t actually a Starbucks. They just served Starbucks. The reason I remember this is because I tried to pay with a Starbucks card and was told that “this isn’t really a Starbucks, we just serve Starbucks. But you can pay with your Barnes and Noble gift card if you have one.”
It’s when the barista handed me my cup that I noticed the different sleeve:
It’s not a Barnes and Noble sleeve either, it’s an “authentic” made-by-Starbucks sleeve, per the copyright on the back.
I figured since I hadn’t seem my brother in a few years and we had a great time in the city, that this would make a fine addition to my memory box. That’s why I kept it. I guess it was at that point that I started to keep an eye out for different sleeves, knowing that they could be different depending on where you go.
My suspicions were confirmed shorty thereafter when Starbucks rolled out a (PRODUCT)RED sleeve. I made a point of keeping it since it was strikingly different that the “standard issue” sleeve. Pretty hard to miss. That, and Starbucks RED was probably my favorite. Well, besides the Ethiopia Sidamo. (Why they killed them off is a mystery!)
Summertime came around and they started pushing the teas. I think there were 4 different sleeves, but I only managed to get my hands on two. With that, the collection had officially begun.
I’ve never been big fan of iced teas. I love my coffee. It doesn’t matter how hot it is, it’s never too hot for a Venti. Besides, there’s AC at work and half the time it’s an ice box.
It was just the other day I walked into Starbucks and ordered a Venti Pike. It was probably 90 degrees outside. The barista looked at me, smiled and said “Nice! A purist!” I noticed the new “Class of 2013” cards in the store. I grabbed one and had the barista throw $5 bucks on it. I like things with dates. They immediately become collectible a year later. I couldn’t pass it up.
So from this day forth I’m officially collecting Starbucks gift cards.
I’m buying the coffee anyway, might as well just grab a gift card, grow $5 bucks on it and just keep that up until I have them all. I can easily transfer the $5 to my gold card so I get my stars and throw the card in my collection.
A quick Google shows that they only come out with about 8 different designs a year. That shouldn’t be too hard. I think I drink enough in a month to cover that.
Check out the collection. It’s all right here