The Cost of Convenience

Why you keep lending money to Starbucks

Illustration by Vault49 for TIME

Generous as I am, I hadn't counted on becoming a lender to government agencies and Fortune 500 corporations. You probably didn't either, but let me explain why you are. On a typical day, I get to work by way of New York City's magical subway system, paying my fare with a MetroCard, which is the only way you can get on the train. After leaving the Rockefeller Center station, I buy a coffee with a Starbucks app on my mobile phone. In Time's cafeteria, my cash is no good--I have to pay for lunch by swiping my corporate ID card. If...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!