Mixed message marketing: free pastries for tree killers

Yesterday was "free pastry day" at our beloved Starbucks(*). Word went out on the company's web site, via email, and on social media sites like Facebook.

So why did they require customers to bring a printed coupon to get their pastry?

This event was promoted electronically, which is great, and social media probably spread the word pretty well. But isn't it dumb for an environmentally conscious company to require people to download and print out coupons? (I haven't replaced the printer I bought in 1998 because I hardly print anything anymore.) And if the customer doesn't--a likely scenario if they heard about the promotion online--they stand in the store fuming, pay full price for a picked-over selection, or go away hungry.

I am kind of expecting SBUX to get spanked in the social media backlash over this one.

(*)Disclaimer: we own stock because Alice was once an employee.