Starbucks: The Price You Pay

Students and faculty weigh in on the monetary indulgence of their Starbucks drinks

By Erin Post

The benefits of having a chain coffee store located in the Learning Resource Center at County College of Morris may be offset by its prices.

The prices at the LRC Café, which serves Starbucks drinks, versus an actual Starbucks chain store, do vary. One of the most popular drinks — a White Chocolate Mocha — is $3.75 for a Tall at the Morristown Starbucks chain store location, whereas it is $3.99 at CCM.

Because of the Starbucks prices on the CCM campus, some students did have to rationalize buying multiple Starbucks drinks on campus. “It is a little expensive and I have to ration it over the semester. I would pay more if I had to,” said Tarra Frawley, a non-matriculated student at CCM. “The fancier stuff could be cheaper. The thing that bothers me the most is that you can’t use gift cards.”

Other students shared the same opinions as Frawley and did not seem to mind the prices of their drinks, such as Jacinta Courter, an interior design major at CCM. “My drink was okay – good not great. I thought it was tasty, so I was okay paying $3.99 for it,” Courter said. “I wish it was free, but I know that wouldn’t happen.”  

While some enjoy the deliciousness of a Starbucks beverage, others prefer a different brand altogether. Professor David Pallant, a communication professor at CCM, said, “I normally go to Dunkin. I like their prices better.” When asked if he would pay more for his drinks, he said, “Absolutely no!”

College students cannot be separated from their coffee, and that is increasingly true. According to a 2014 study by the NPD Group, a national organization that tracks trends in eating and drinking habits, from 2002 to 2012, there was an increase by 14 percent of 18 to 24 year olds drinking coffee.  

It could be that college students are willing to pay more for their Starbucks because of their beloved caffeine boosts.  The NPD Group reported that this age segment is turning to coffee as their pick-me-up of choice.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, reports that a 16-ounce Grande at Starbucks contains 330 mg of caffeine.   

All in all, the prices for Starbucks drinks may not be a problem for many college students, as long as they get their caffeine fix.


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