I started seeing messages and tweets about "the Pumpkin Spice VIA" situation this week. Now, I don't drink Pumpkin Spice, much less VIA. I let it pass.
However, when it starts to reach "firestorm" level, I start to pay attention.
Starbucks, in its infinite wisdom, extended the VIA brand of instant coffees to the super-popular Pumpkin Spice. "Each packet contains an Arabica instant coffee blend with natural flavors and cane sugar. Just add hot milk and - BLAM - a Pumpkin Spice Latte."
What they did NOT foresee was the intense, pent-up demand for Pumpkin Spice Latte. I mean, people are crazy-insane for those things, so folks cleaned out the VIA packets as soon as they went on sale in order to enjoy Pumpkin Spice all year round.
Thus, the situation stands as thus:
- Starbucks introduced a new product - Pumpkin Spice VIA
- Starbucks underestimated the demand for said product
- Customers are hella pissed off
And the problem is only going to get worse. Because Starbucks customer are capable of dealing with this in a calm, rational manner.....
Like this message forwarded to the sbuxdrama Facebook page: "WHY IS THERE A SHORTAGE OF PUMPKIN LATTE? I was told this at my local Starbucks! It's an outrage!"
The black market has gone wild.
Pumpkin Spice VIA (which retails for $6.95 plus tax) is now selling for anywhere from $10 - $17 on eBay (above). Individual packets are selling for $3.
Amazon.com prices (above) are even higher. There, a guaranteed delivery STARTS at $18.99 plus $4.49 shipping.
One seller even has a five-pack of VIA (five cartons of five packets each) selling for a whopping $75.48 plus $4.49 shipping. That's a whopping $3.20 PER PACKET OF PSL VIA. This pushes the cost very near the average $3.70 price of a regular, purchased in the store, not made out of VIA, hand-crafted pumpkin spice latte.
I. Don't. Get. It.
I've just never like the taste of Pumpkin Spice Latte. But apparently, there are tons of people who love it enough to hoard it.