Category Archives: Reviews

Starbucks Loyalty Program – a Strange Situation

Starbucks Loyalty Program 

The Starbucks Loyalty Program has been under a lot of criticism (in my understanding) from customers for many reasons.   Articles in several media outlets talk to the issues there.   What I discovered just this week is something very nonsensical and strange in this day and age.

China, Shanghai, Starbucks
Starbucks Shanghai new mega store – from

I have been living in Shanghai (again) for a while now.  This week I ended up buying a large number of Starbucks coffees on multiple occasions due to some project work.   So, I decided “Oh, let me use my loyalty card and gets some points in my account…”  

I pulled up the Starbucks APP on my phone and proudly offered it to the counter employee….only to be told with a very nice smile – Oh, this is not a Chinese Starbucks card – we cannot use it here in China….The US cards are not used here – you need to have a Chinese loyalty card….

I found that very surprising so I looked on the bottom of my receipt and saw the statement “contact with any questions..”

Well, I certainly had a question 🙂  So three emails later – I still do not understand why I have to have 2 different accounts in order to get loyalty points in the US and in China….

The very cheerful statements from Starbucks customer care was “…We also hope to create a culture of warmth and belonging…”  – Yes, true – just do not cross borders….(My interpretation…)

Then this evening I listened to an interview with the CEO of the company – Kevin Johnson – who made the statements “…Starbucks innovates on digital mobile connections with our customers…”  and given my email exchanges with the company’s customer care department I decided it is time to write about my experiences and the fact that eventhough 

  • Starbucks is focused on innovation in digital…
  • and the customer care organization is focused on creating culture of warmth and belonging

I had to have two different IDs to collect a few loyalty points….

Then I decided “Eh…not worth it….” I will just drink some other coffee…!  If a company that is focused on digital innovation and warmth is having difficulty with linking their OWN IT systems in two  huge consumer markets — may be their coffee machines are also NOT that great….Technology is hard … for some….

Shanghai: Places to Eat in Pudong – Yeshari Restaurant

Places to Eat in Pudong

What are the places to eat in Pudong?  Hm…there are many, but it is also difficult to determine which one to go to….So, I decided to start posting my own expereinces.

I earlier postings I am adding my personal experiences from eating out in Puxi.  Then I decided that I need to get more organized and might as well provide you with my experiences from both Puxi and Pudong.  So in this posting I will add the first of the reviews – this is a nice place to eat in Pudong on Dong Feng Road – not far – about 10-min walk from the Century Avenue Subway stop.

Yeshari Restaurant

The restaurant name is pronounced as follows:  Ye Li Xia Li Xin Jiang Fan Dian.   It is located at 918 Dongfang Lu, near Xiangcheng Lu, in Shanghai's Pudong District

The restaurant provides great selection of interesting food.  Dined in it a couple of times with my family. Then decided that I can have a good dinner with my team here as well… Overall, very affordable and authentic Xinjiang chain of restaurant with locations around the city.  The atmosphere is lively and packed, you will enjoy the great food options of beef, LAMB, chicken and fish…Great lamb skewers and roasted leg of lamb

This place is out of the way a little bit but if you live near by number 2 metro line, you can just jump on that subway, travel to the Century Avenue stop and from there walk about 10-minutes to the location.  Come early as the restaurant does not take reservations and you could end up with a long wait.   

One of the unique aspects of this place is the dance performance.  It is a bit weird from standpoint of covering Latin, Russian as well as XinJiang dance / music.  But overall interesting and a good performacne to see.

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To get to the restaurant, you can also show this to a taxi driver:  请带我去 东方路918号

You can find more good information on doing business and living in China / Shanghai with these eBooks:

For photo galleries from Shanghai, you can check out my photo blog… Would love to get your feedback…Enjoy!

Shanghai: Places to Eat in Puxi

Places to Eat in Puxi

Well folks, I am starting another set of postings this time about the restaurants in the Jing'An area of Puxi in Shanghai.   The reason, well, if you are in the area, you want to know what are the good places to sit down and have lunch or dinner.

I post regularly on Trip Advisor – but the postings there are more and more often about restaurants that are in the big shopping malls or centrally located.  Nothing wrong with those…But what if you are not in that area?  What if you happened to be walking from your apartment to an appointment or just want to go out and grab some dinner?   Going to the mall may not be that convenient in that case.

So, let's start aggregating the potential restaurants off Nanjing Road in the central area of Shanghai.

The first restaurant I will add in the list is the Silk Road Feast.   The restaurant is located on Beijing West Road (Beijing Xi Lu) about 50 meters before you reach the intersection with Xi Kang Road (as you are walking West on Beijing Road).   In Chinese if you reach the Intersection of 西康路 and 北京西路 then you may have passed the restaurant

The food is Xinjiang cousine.  No pork – great lamb scewers, very good cabbage with beef, very good fried dry green beans.

One suggestion:  if you plan to drink beer / alcohol – you can bring your own.  The restaurant does not sell any.   Soft drinks and juices and teas are available.

Well, enjoy your meal!

We did…

Visiting Venice: ATVO Bus Company – What a Great Experience!

ATVO Bus Company saves the day!

I had a very positive experience with the ATVO bus company in Italy / Treviso.  Last week, I arrived on a Ryanair flight from Sofia (Bulgaria) at Treviso.  Our objective was to get to Venice.  We had been traveling since 5:30am that day – first driving for 2.5 hours to the Sofia airport (from the mountains in Bulgaria) and then waiting and flying to Treviso. Perhaps the sequence of events that followed can be blamed partly on a lack of sleep, but personally, I think the blame lies primarily with the dangerous lure of the seat back pocket.

Italy  Venice

Once we boarded the bus (with luggage in the storage area of the bus) I had taken my laptop out of a backpack to make sure it did not get damaged.  For convenience, I had put it in the mesh pocket of the seat in front of me…..and somehow, I ended up leaving it there when we arrived in Venice and disembarked the bus. Note to self–never put anything in the seat back pocket that you don't want to lose!

It wasn't until the next morning that we discovered the laptop's absence, and needless to say, I was horrified!  We rushed to the hotel front desk to see if they could help us call the company and look for it.  The front desk could not reach anyone based on the phone numbers from ATVO's web site, but I eventually managed to find a number with a live person on the other end, and I passed the phone over to the front desk clerk, who subsequently relayed the information that we would need to call back later that day and see if anything found.

Too keyed up to simply wait until later, we decided to go to the main bus station in Venice and try our luck there.  Once we arrived, we spoke with an Italian clerk guy who really did not speak much English and who also told us to come back in the afternoon….at an undetermined time 🙂

Luckily, my wife found a number for the Treviso airport ATVO office where we had originally boarded the bus…and sadly the number was not correct.   But then the Venice clerk gave us a brochure that had a similar number but with one more zero – that worked!

Now came the very pleasant surprise. I called and spoke with 'Alicia', and shockingly, a laptop matching my description had been turned in!!!!  After several minutes of back and forth – mostly me trying to explain what a laptop was – Alicia, who was extremely helpful, concluded that this laptop was indeed mine and offered to send it to Venice on the next bus.   She was very eager to do so, and when I told her, "No I will come over to Treviso", she was somewhat surprised.  However, I just couldn't wait, so I jumped on the bus and an hour later I had my laptop in my hands…!

What an experience!   Once again, I must commend the ATVO Bus company, Alicia and the kind stranger who found and turned in the laptop to ATVO. There is so much negative news in the world that you sometimes forget the important fact that most people are kind and decent. This experience really brought that into focus for me.

Venice is a beautiful place – you can see it in my photo book available on Amazon.   But the people at ATVO made it even nicer.  Thank you!