I consider myself a frequent Starbucks customer, and I usually use the App because I want the rewards.

One can also collect the rewards by using the Starbucks plastic card. However I am not a fan of this because my wallet is already too bulky; adding a coffee reward card is too burdensome for me.

On the first Saturday morning after the historic election day, I went to visit a nearby Starbucks store with my wife and my one year old chubby cutie daughter, we were very happy because WE MADE HISTORY by booting out a very unpopular coalition, and by doing so, we ( more importantly) restore the DEMOCRACY in Malaysia!

But what happened at the Starbucks coffee shop really blew my patience. So I have to write this down, I hope that Starbucks programmers can see my pain points and improve on the user friendliness of the app.

As usual, When I made my order at counter, I took out my iPhone and wanted to use the App to pay for my drinks. But on that day, unlike before, the Starbucks App forced me to update it before I could proceed using it. It seems that to Starbucks App UI designer, it is more important to update the app than to use it to do something useful. I couldn’t understand this. All I want is to just order some coffee and collect some rewards, what is the point of this forced update??!!

However at that point of time, I was still feeling euphoric, so I clicked on the update link and I expected it to bring me to the correct App at Itunes App Store. What I got instead was just a “Page not found” empty page. This is the second problem.The update link simply doesn’t work. If you really want your customer to update the app, then can you at least make the link working?

The line behind me grew longer as I was trying to update. I was a bit nervous, so I did the insane thing– I tried to hit the link over and over again and I expected a different result. Obviously such an action won’t lead me to anywhere. Realizing the impatience behind, I had to quit the line and continue trying from the sideline.

After a while, I changed approach– I went to the itunes store to download the Starbucks App. And I finally I can download it!! Hurray! After after downloading a 300Mb app ( and burnt a hole in my data plan), I realized that this is Starbucks US app, which is different from Starbucks MY appFor some unknown reasons, Starbucks need to have different apps doing the same thing at different places. Stupid right?

So I had no choice but to log out of my itunes US account, and login into my itunes MY account and redownload the Starbucks MY app. This app, like its US cousin, weigh in at 300 Mb, another massive download. Why Starbucks need to do different versions apps for different regions and put them on different itunes store is beyond my understanding. To me it serves no purpose but to cause confusion. By now, half an hour had passed, and quite of a number of the customers had already purchased the coffee and merrily finish drinking it. I was still trying to get the app to work.

And then finally the app finished downloading, I thought I could now pay for my coffee! But then I found out that unfortunately I was signed out from the app, probably due to security implementation.

Being a bibliophile, I kept all of my passwords — along with everything that happened in life life, big or small– in my brain, so recalling the all important Starbucks App password —consists of at least 8 characters in length, a minimum of one lower case letter, upper case letter, numeric letter and a symbol each— shouldn’t be a problem, right?

After all, losing access to your Starbucks App is more important than losing access to your bank account!! The security is paramount! And we take your security seriously!


In fact I couldn’t even recall what I ate for breakfast yesterday, let alone memorizing a long string of complicated characters with no obvious logical connection ( that’s the purpose of military-grade password, like the one Starbucks mandates, since the password is SO VERY important anyway). And to be quizzed on the spot for that added to my cognitive burden. It was even less likely for me to recall the password.

But I did have a backup plan, I stored the password in my Google Docs ( not the best security I know), so I applied the password on the login screen.. and then it came back saying that the password was wrong. I had another 2 more chances before I got locked out for 1 hour.

What an appropriate penalty for a senile mind like mine.

I tried again.

Another failure. Now I had only one chance.

Congrats to Starbucks for making your app at least as secure as banking websites, and serve me right for not being able to recall it. Who asked me to have such an easily forgetful memory.

To me, all these “securities” are unwarranted:

All I want is to just buy a cup of coffee and get some rewards. Why need to make my life so difficult?! Remember:

  1. You only need one app across all countries
  2. Your app is not nearly important enough for me to memorize the password, and to change the password frequently.
  3. Your app is not nearly important enough for me to update it before I can use it, not even once.


To any Starbucks Customer Care out there,

If you would like to chat with me on the issue, you are most welcome! In fact, my support to Starbucks extends beyond personal level; kindlemalaysia.com regularly hosts our monthly fan gathering at Starbucks Reserve, the Gardens at Midvalley on every first Saturday of the month.

Do pay us a visit, we can talk about the app, the kindles and everything under the sun.