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April 30, 2009

Discount card or loyalty program?

April 30. Day 304.

For months, I'd been wanting to try out Caffe Calabria, which is rumored to serve the best coffee in San Diego. They roast their own -- a great sign. I'd read about this place, then forgotten about it, remembered, forgotten.

The problem was that it closes at 3, which is usually around when I get out of the house.

Well thanks to this charming jet lag, which has turned me into an early riser if I ever saw one, I got to try it out yesterday. I had a macchiato. And it was grand. Not bitter or overroasted. Just lovely. And a satisfying foam to milk to coffee ratio.

I headed back today, and when I ordered my cappuccino a thought occurred to me: frequent buyer card!

"Do you have one?" I asked.

"No, sorry," the guy behind the counter said.

I don't remember exactly how the conversation went from there, but a few minute later, he remembered he has something slightly different: a prepaid card, where you buy 10 and get 1 free.

So I went for it. The coffee is good enough, the atmosphere is calm enough to let me work, and the location is convenient enough to ensure I'll be back many times. Plus, they have a credit card minimum -- which annoys me, but I sympathize with. Prepaying is a reasonable way to help them avoid fees.

The card isn't advertised or available for all to purchase. He took it out of a drawer behind the register and scribbled my info on it: "10 macchiatos prepaid." If I hadn't asked, I wouldn't never have become a card holding member of Calabria.

Special, I know.

Gained: $1.85, i.e. price of a macchiato!
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