SEATTLE (CBS SEATTLE) — Autumn weather may be in the air, but many Starbucks customers are more concerned with what’s not in their hand.
The $4 Pumpkin Spice Latte is only offered for a limited time during the fall seasons, but a shortage of the flavored sauce that makes the drink has left many Starbucks addicts out in the cooling weather.
“I just left, depressed,” Mr. Anidjar, a 26-year-old commercial real-estate analyst who lives in Manhattan, told The Wall Street Journal.
The Seattle-based coffee giant built up a large buzz for the pumpkin batch of morning brews that were first sold on Sept. 4. The lattes’ special pumpkin spice sauce hasn’t been able to keep up with demand, and a shortage has gripped stores across the country.
Baristas have been hitting the streets searching for extra flavored sauces at nearby Starbucks stores. Many customers hit by the shortage took to Twitter to express their distaste at not being able to enjoy the fall favorite.
“My world almost ended this morning when the local Starbucks told me they were out of Pumpkin Spice Latte,” tweeted Jason Sizemore, 38 years old, of Lexington, Ky, as reported by WSJ.
Starbucks Corp. officials said there is no widespread scarcity of the sauce used to make the drink, though they acknowledge shortages at some stores due to infrequent deliveries. The desperation is such that some have turned to a new instant version of the latte. But stores are running out of the powdered stuff too, and prices are shooting up on the secondary market.
“There is an opportunity, in a pumpkin emergency, for them to be able to place an [extra] order,” said spokeswoman Lisa Passé.
Hyping a short-lived product can backfire, marketing experts say. Companies may boost excitement but run the risk of angering customers who walk out of a store empty-handed. The pumpkin latte dust-up, meanwhile, recalls the primal need for some McDonald’s customers to get their hands on another limited-time offering, the McRib sandwich.