Friday, December 9, 2011


I was checking my Gmail account when I came across an e-mail from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

And you know what my first reaction was? "Shit, did CBTL came across my blog? Is that why they are offering me free coffee?" 

You see, I use that Gmail address for online correspondence. I also do business with Bentusi using that account. While Nuffnang sometimes seed my inbox with their lame promotions, seldom do they offer freebies. To make sure the invitation came from someone else, I tried to look at the sender field. 

What I found had put a big, big smile on my face.

I won't deny that I have this HD to become a social blogger. Yes, the ones who write glittery reviews of restaurants or creating a buzz on the Internet to endorse a certain product. I want to put my writing and SEO skills to good use - to the benefit of local entrepreneurs. Since the Souljacker generates quite a traffic I thought CBTL was subtly requesting me to spread their marketing campaign.

Who am I to put down their favor. After all, I don't recall a time staying in their coffee shop and sipping a warm cup of coffee.

This might be a good experience.

So I went to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf website to claim my free drink. There was the mandatory registration, of course. And you must also let them dig into your Google contacts for their system to send invites to your "friends." 

"I will include you, you and you," I was telling myself while checking the box to pick among my contacts the ones to forward the offer.

"No you're just a fake account, erase. erase."

While in the process of selection, I figured how the announcement got into my email. Someone was exactly doing the same thing before he realized (if ever) how CBTL mines his online account for information.

"You dirty bastard! Anyway I got a freebie so who cares."

And with that, I gave away my closest friends' and colleagues' email addresses. They say I could claim my espresso at SM Megamall branch only. 

No exceptions.

I can live through the thought that I was hoodwinked by CBTL's promotion. The data mining procedure already defies the goal of creating good impressions. Besides, a free coffee at a certain branch? Isn't it too inconvenient for its customers? 

But you know what rubbed salt into the wound?   

A few minutes after sending my registration, another e-mail came. This time, it was a confirmation that I have truly sold my soul and allowed Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to use me as a springboard to reach out to more people. Included in the email are instructions on how to claim the prize:

1. Only one couple will be allowed per person.
4. Redemption period is from December 1 - December 31.
5. Please print out this e-mail and present your valid ID. Print-outs without the following fields will not be accepted: from, to, date, subject, name, store and code.

Swear! I was short of saying, "at namigay ka pa sa lagay na yan!" after reading the last item. At a time when using paper is being frowned for environment reasons, the nerve of the one who came up with this idea to require patrons for print-outs. If he had only used his brain to think - digitally - he could have sent the authentication through SMS to make the process easier.

Conventional wisdom say that when you wish to give something for free, and generate goodwill, you don't put the receiver at a disadvantage.   

And so I tell you, I won't get caught going to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf with the e-mail printout. I won't fall in line along with paying customers and show my ID to claim their giveaway. To hell with their coffee. I'm not too atat to taste it anyway. 

Besides, I could afford a Venti at Starbucks anytime my cravings demand.


Martin said...

Haha! Baka mas gusto kasi nila makilala ka pa lalo over a cup of coffee. lol

Lady Datu said...

I don't really mind the print-outs, I find it fun and adventurous. And I got the invite--TWICE. I'm milking them this Saturday! >:)

Mugen said...


Puwede naman one-on-one, personal invite ah. At least talagang pinagtiyagaan. Lol.

Mistress Datu:

I'm not a coffee person and a mall goer as well. :( But you're right, I could milk them nga pala.

*Pero diba diyahe yata to fall in line tapos you would show the print out and your ID for a cup of coffee? Ang old-school naman kasi ng sistema eh!

Lady Datu said...

@PuppyDog - I don't find it that dyahe naman. But yeah, a digital form of authentication would have been more convenient. But it's still 150-ish pesos worth of coffee (or tea)! ^^'

Leomer Apolonio said...

I did the drill too and will claim my coffee in Ayala Triangle. I'll use recycled paper na lang to print it out. Hahaha.

f. jordan said...

: I got that email, too, but I couldn't remember writing anything about CBTL. Curious.

the geek said...

iloilo has no cbtl, i wont be able to use my invite. hahaha

i will always have starbucks here... :)

Pepe said...

got an invite too pero sadyang maigsi ang pasensya ko sa mga ganyang emails kaya hindi ko binasa, salamat at naisulat mo. hehe.

pero mukhang ang kulet nga yong may bitbit na printout papunta sa store to claim a free cup of coffee! gusto ko makita ang reaksyon ng ibang mga nakapila. :)

daniel the jagged little egg said...

Wow free coffee hehe : )

joelmcvie said...

I remember getting the same email from CBTL, pero super dedma ako; I just deleted it. =)

Kiks said...

Big EW on CBTL. Bad bad!

Mag-groupon na lang. At don, every Hongkee or consumer presents the printed thingie with pride.

Dapat lang, bayad eh. ;-)


i had a parallel experience a couple of years back after dining and participating in a raffle promo (a free trip to bora for 2, all in) at the bag of beans in tagaytay. a week later i got an sms for a free lunch buffet for two at a hotel near shang (obviously i didn't win the bora trip and i can no longer the remember the name of the hotel). i tagged mamang along and to our surprise, judging with the number of guests in the lounge, i guess almost everyone who participated in the raffle 'won' a free lunch! to cut the story short, lunch was served to all the winners (ala-carte not buffet as promised) and a hard selling followed. a condo unit, time-sharing investments and other investment 'options' were being offered. membership slash downpayment schemes were presented from 100% of the principal to 50% to 10% up to 5%. payment modes from cold cash, to pdcs, to loan-mortgage. until they got so desperate to closing a sale, they were willing to accept payment thru credit cards. haha. i was on vacation then and i had all the time in the world at my disposal. in turn, i take them for a ride demanding to show me the condo units and they obliged. we cut the 'tour' and made a graceful exit after we burned all the calories. hahaha...i can't call it a scam 100% because they have the goods but i still find the marketing style sterile.

RoNRoNTuRoN said...

speaking of CBTL. May Ginawa ako jaan nitong Nov 15 lang! ahihihi... something i have never done before... and it still lingers....

Mugen said...


Ikaw ha! Parang alam ko yata yan. Lol. He must be very special kaya nagawa mo yun. Blog na! Lol.

Kuya J:

Yup naalala ko nga yun. Haha! Wine and dine and then hard sell. Parang sinabi sa mukha mo, "Oy pinalamon kita, now buy this product we're offering." Ampanget.


I just discovered another pet peeve of mine, mama. Mukhang ayoko talaga nagpri-print ng papel. :/


If I never had any other motive, I would have done the same thing.

Thirdy Lopez said...

Deadma na din ako sa ganyan...

I signed up once pero wala namang free...

Mugen said...


If I were a paying customer, my head would surely say, "ay so poor naman and so kawawa, he printed a copy pa for a free coffee." Seriously, sana nag focus ang CBTL sa building good impressions and not sa mass promotion. After all, coffee-drinking people would rather have a good experience staying at a coffee shop.


Starbucks FTW. Kakalibre lang sakin ni Baabaa last week. Lol.


Muses felt slighted at the promo, they told me to write about it. :P


Sis, sarap sana libre, kung di ka magmumukhang desperado. Hehe.

Mugen said...


CBTL, wala daw free? or is this a new product?


Wala kasi akong printer sa workstation ko, and it would be a hassle to print it out sa printer ng office admin.

And to use an Internet Cafe printer, is already too much. So that's it. I'm ranting at their mechanics.

Enjoy your coffee. Hehe.

Mistress Datu:

Didn't know their coffee is that pricey. Masarap naman ba?

Mr. Hush Hush said...

I'm a coffee-addict, and I swear, I don't like Coffee bean's coffee or tea for that matter. I prefer Seattle's Best. CBTL's coffee is at par with Starbucks or Seattles, but it doesn't leave an impressive mark on me.

*hush hush*

Chip said...

Aha!! Ikaw siguro nagsabi sa CBTL ng email ko no? Hahaha!! Naka-receive din ako niyan eh. Kaso tinamad ako dun sa registration kaya di ko tinuloy. Hahaha!!

Lady Datu said...

@PuppyDog - keri lang. but their teas kasi are good. try chai latte! :D

Super Mario P. said...

I also got this invitation from them. Did you send me one? Haha. ANyway, I stopped drinking too much coffee after I found out I have GERD. I can't drink coffee these days without feeling the urge to vomit after the first two sips.