Starbucks plans to open 1,500 more cafes over the next five years, and it looks like the company has found a clever way of raise a few extra dollars to offset the cost. There was an audible, “Are you kidding me?” in my office this morning when I was reading on USA Today that Starbucks is offering the Starbucks Metal Gift card that's worth significantly less than its price.

 

Get this: the gift card is made of steel, and there will be only 5,000 of them sold. And, here’s the really appealing part —  they each cost $450 but they’ll be loaded with only $400. What a bargain of a stocking stuffer!

 

You can’t just walk into your corner Starbucks and pick up one of these babies, though. You need to buy them at the luxury gift website Gilt. They aren’t even for sale yet. The sale will start in two days.

 

The steel card will give holders a few extra perks like a free drink on their birthday and a free food or drink item after 12 Stars. These are the same perks offered to Starbucks Rewards members, points that can be earned with any registered gift card — including the ones that you buy for $10 and are loaded with $10.

 

Starbucks has also recently started selling a $7 cup of coffee that has some people excited.

 

I’m not anti-Starbucks. I go there once in a while. I like that when I’m in a hurry at the airport or train station, I know I can pop into Starbucks for a few quick organic food and drink options. But, I also know that these options are  pricey. I don’t go there, or anywhere else, for my daily coffee. I brew it at home. We go through about one $7.99 12-ounce bag of fair trade, organic coffee a week in our house. That’s two cups of coffee a day for two people. We’d get two cups of regular Starbucks coffee for that price, once we paid tax and tip.

 

So buying a $400 gift card for $450 makes no sense to me. Neither does buying a $7 cup of coffee. USA Today calls it upper-end exclusivity. These things are status symbols.

 

If a status symbol exists to impress others, there’s something I want to know. Who will be impressed when you whip out a steel gift card that isn’t worth what you paid for it? What’s impressive about that? I'd really like to know.

 

If you have a different opinion about this, I'd love to hear it. Would you buy this card for someone? Why?

 

Related on MNN: Woman says she lost 85 pounds on the Starbucks diet

 

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