Dear Starbucks,

We live a long way from any of your branches, so a handy bribe for encouraging my children to visit their grandparents is a visit to the Starbucks which has recently opened just around the corner from their house.

Last August, on our much-anticipated visit, we recited our order, only to find that my thirteen year old son was unable to enjoy his favourite Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino because this particular branch had run out of cream. Downhearted, he was persuaded by his sister to settle for mango and passionfruit flavour, but after a couple of sips, declared it a poor substitute.

As a long-standing customer, I consoled him with the fact that an e-mail to your customer service department would almost certainly be answered with a kind word and a voucher for a free muffin, so when we got home, we trawled through your website until we found a form that seemed to do the job. Together, we filled in the details and crossed our fingers for a speedy reply.

I am sorry to report that, to date, we haven’t heard a dickybird from you. I sincerely hope that this is merely an oversight and that you didn’t simply decide that a youngster’s loyalty wasn’t worth nurturing. A respected organisation such as yours, must appreciate that children are your regular customers of the future, and that you alienate them at your peril.

This week, alone in our local Costa coffee, I enjoyed a cappuccino complete with a stencilled coffee bean floating on the froth, and very nice it was too. Under the circumstances, I would urge you to remember that other coffee shops are most definitely available.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J Tripp