Budget and diet fail, but tasty breakfast

Tina Haapala |

Starbucks isn’t the sort of place you go to save money. It’s a luxury. For me, it’s also a bathroom and refreshment break when I am driving between Wichita Falls and Dallas, assuming I don’t detour to the Dairy Queen for a Blizzard or Jack-in-the-Box for the 99-cent tacos. When I’m home, I treat myself a couple times a month at the local store.

Recently, I was encouraged to get a breakfast sandwich in town; I wanted to add to my bonus “stars” to help me earn a free goody. So, because of this offer and the fact that I was hungry I decided to treat myself on my way to work. As usual, the line at the drive-up window was long. As usual, I walked inside. If you haven’t been in a while, you should do so to see the expansion/remodeling that they’ve done.

My mission was to spend as little as possible, keep the calories low, and get that extra star. On the list of items was a cheaper sandwich that didn’t appeal to me at all. For a little bit extra I could get a tasty-looking one, the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon at only 230 calories. I waited my turn in line amidst people who looked like they hadn’t had their caffeine yet.

When the ever cheerful, friendly, and zippy worker asked what I’d like, I told her the Turkey Bacon sandwich. Off she flew, only to return and tell me that they didn’t have that one on hand that morning. That’s okay; I knew that sometimes they were out of things so I had a backup: The 350 calorie Ham & Cheddar.  “I’ve got that!” she exclaimed, and off she went again. Upon returning,  she commented that she didn’t have the Ham & Cheddar, but she did have the Ham & Swiss. I figured that was just as good if not better, and she rang me up.

When I got to the office I devoured the sandwich (I did mention I was hungry). It was delicious, but when I looked at my receipt I saw that it was about $1 more expensive than I expected. Hmmm. Then I went online. No, the Swiss wasn’t a version of the Ham & Cheddar sandwich—it was the Slow-Roasted Ham & Swiss. And if I know marketing (and I do) that long name read “more expensive.” It also equaled a whopping 490 calories…more than double what I originally set out to consume.

Let’s see how I did. I wanted to spend as little as possible (failed); keep the calories low (failed); and get that extra star (winner). Sometimes one out of three isn’t all bad. It was, after all, a delicious sandwich.


This article was published under the title "Win one, lose, two; hey, not so bad!" in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on December 14, 2014.